The two live-action Scooby-Doo films from 2002 and 2004 are now probably best known to geek audiences as trivia answers to the question, “Which two films did Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn write that were based on a beloved cartoon series?” But Warner Bros. doesn’t seem interested in rebooting the character in live action; instead, they’re making a rare move for a studio these days and investing in an animated movie that’s set for theatrical release.
THR reports that animation veteran Tony Cervone will direct, while Charles Roven (The Dark Knight trilogy) and Richard Suckle — who produced the live action films — will produce alongside new addition Allison Abbate(Frankenweenie, The LEGO Movie, The Iron Giant). Matt Lieberman wrote the script, and Phineas and Ferb co-creator Dan Povenmire will reportedly be involved in some kind of creative capacity.
With Disney and many other studios mining their own animated archives and the public domain for properties to turn into live action features, it’s somewhat surprising that WB would be interested in an animated feature — especially a hand-drawn animated feature instead of a CG one. (Considering Cervone recently directed Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, which was traditionally animated, it’s probably safe to say that’s going to be the same style applied to this new feature.) People often decry studios for letting hand-drawn animation fall by the wayside, so WB should be praised for investing in something greater than the typical direct-to-video market.
Update: I forgot to mention that WB is hoping that this movie will pave the way for future animated films featuring characters in the Hanna-Barbera universe, so we’ll have to check back in a few years from now and see whether or not those plans succeeded or failed.
The untitled Scooby-Doo animated film will arrive on September 21st, 2018.