Animation News Roundup 1/20/17

Well, it’s a new day, a new year, and a new President. Let’s just see what’s going on in cartoons. Voltron S2, Mark Hamill, Teen Titans, Tangled, Sony! All good news.

Voltron: Legendary Defender Enters Second Season

Promo art for Voltron Season 2

Whatever you may think of it, today marked the beginning of a new era in the American landscape. I speak, of course, of the second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender. The first season was a fantastic update of the classic series that inspired Transformers, Power Rangers, and a slew of other shows featuring mechas stomping on monsters.

The second season continues the adventures of the Paladins. Their castle is finally mobile, and they’re trekking across the galaxy fighting the Galra Empire. I loved season 1, and I’m excited to watch and review the new episode. Jeremy Shada, Tyler Labine, Steven Yeun, Kimberly Brooks, and the rest of the stellar voice acting crew all return.

The Trumpster Strikes Again… and Red Guy, too!

Image of Baboon and Red Guy from I Am Weasel

Mark Hamill’s been making news outside of Star Wars and DCAU fan circles by reading President Trump’s tweets in character as the Joker. It turns out Trump really does sound like a supervillain, and the Joker’s the perfect guy to highlight it.

He released a new one on January 14th after the Golden Globe awards. POTUS’ “scathing attack” on Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep is recast as a childish outburst from a man with deep-seated and emotionally crippling insecurities. Wait, what? Well, he did something with it, anyway. Listen for yourself.

More voice actors are now joining in the fun. Charlie Adler, who has performed in dozens of Cartoon Network projects over the years, dug out his old Red Guy character. Red Guy is an effeminate devil with a big red butt. He was the villain in Cow & Chicken, and had cameos in numerous other Cartoon Network shows. And now he’s the President.

Voice Actors Revealed for Teen Titans: Judas Contract

Image of Terra from Teen Titans: Judas Contract

Although the DC theatrical films have met with a mixed reception, to put it lightly, they’re still kicking butt in animation. Justice League Action is just plain awesome, and the upcoming movie Justice League Dark looks like a fascinating peek into the magical side of the DC Universe.

One of the most anticipated DC animated movies this year is Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. The film has little to do with the popular Teen Titans GO. Instead of the show’s goofy, anime-inspired take, Judas Contract is dead-serious and features some stunning artwork in the vein of Young Justice.

The voice cast is full of veteran DC voice actors, and a couple of new celebrities.

  • Christina Ricci as Terra
  • Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) as Raven
  • Jake T. Austin (Wizards of Waverly Place) as Blue Beetle
  • Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty) as Starfire
  • Sean Maher (Firefly) as Nightwing
  • Brandon Soo Hoo (Ender’s Game) as Beast Boy
  • Start Allan (Transformers: Robots in Disguise) as Robin

The villain of the piece is Deathstroke. Miguel Ferrer was cast in the role, but passed away from cancer on the same day. It’s unclear if his recording work was complete.

Lots of Sony Coming Down the Pipe

Promotional art from The Emoji Movie

This week, Sony announced its 2018 animation schedule, and it is packed. They have three feature length animated features in production, plus a new animated short from Genndy Tartakovsky. That’s the 2D animation genius behind Dexter’s Lab, The Powerpuff Girls, and the first Star Wars: Clone Wars series.

An animated film is a lot of work, and most studios don’t manage to release more than one a year. Even Disney and Pixar, taken separately, usually only release one or two. In fact, the last time a studio released three was years ago, when Dreamworks pulled it off in 2014.

Will the Sony flicks be good? Tough to say. Smurfs: The Lost Village and The Emoji Movie look fun enough for fans of the genre.

The third film is The Star, from newbie director Timothy Reckart and screenwriter Carlos Kotkin (Open Season and Rio sequel). It’s the story of the first Christmas, told from the perspective of animals. The protagonist is Bo, one of the donkeys carrying gifts from the wise men.

Not my taste, but it might be a perfectly fine film.

By the way, The Emoji Movie has had a change in casting. The poop is now played by Patrick Stewart. Did I just blow your mind?

Trailer for TV’s Tangled: Before Ever After

Still shot from Tangled: Before Ever After

Meanwhile, back at Disney, the long-rumored Tangled TV series is finally here. Tangled: Before Ever After takes place after the original film and before the animated short Tangled Ever After. In other words, Rapunzel and Flynn have had their adventures, but aren’t married yet. The series kicks off with a movie-length pilot episode, which is finally revealed.

Have a look at the trailer.

The art is entirely unlike the CG-animated film, but looks great nonetheless. Stand-outs in the voice acting cast include Diedrich Bader, Jonathan Banks, Steve Blum, and Clancy Brown. Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, surprisingly, will reprise their roles as Rapunzel and Flynn.

Tangled: Before Ever After will air on Disney XD in March, a few months before the new DuckTales series.

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