In the current age of reboots and revivals, it seems even cartoons want in on the action. 2013 saw the return of Earth’s mightiest rowdiest heroes in Teen Titans Go!, a lighter follow-up series to the more serious Teen Titans (which ran from 2003 to 2006 on Cartoon Network). And around the same time, Warner Bros. tried (and failed) to recapture the original style and tone of Batman: The Animated Series with its CGI series Beware the Batman. While the former reboot has seen success, the latter was pulled from Cartoon Network’s regular schedule after just three months.
Now, the kid-centric channel wants to bring back one of its most widely popular – and lucrative – properties a mere two years after it supposedly “ended”: Ben 10. Cartoon Network Studios is pushing for a fall 2016 international premiere, followed by a North American premiere in early 2017. “Man of Action” will return to executive produce and John Fang will serve as supervising producer.
The original Ben 10 TV series and its three successors followed the young Ben Tennyson’s growth as both an adolescent and hero. However, the reboot promises to return to where it all began, when Ben first discovers the “Omnimatrix” device that imbues him with multiple (alien) personality disorder.
According to Cartoon Network (via Deadline), the new Ben 10 animated series will re-introduce the energetic, fun-loving, 10-year-old Ben, as he, his cousin Gwen, and Grandpa Max take a cross-country road trip during summer vacation – which, if fans recall, was how the original series also began. Along the way, Ben will find the mysterious Omnitrix, opening up a world of alien superpowers to him and starting him on his hero’s journey. In addition to fan-favorite aliens, the show promises to introduce “many new” creatures too.
It comes as little surprise that the network would want to reintroduce the beloved hero. What began as a single series in January 2006 quickly morphed into a $4.5 billion global media franchise, including enough shows (Ben 10 Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben 10: Omniverse), movies (Ben 10: Secret Of The Omnitrix, Ben 10: Race Against Time, Ben 10: Alien Swarm), and products to rival the titular hero’s line-up of alien creatures.
While speaking about the project, Cartoon Network’s chief content officer, Rob Sorcher, claimed the “overall popularity of the character” and the desire to introduce him to “an entirely new generation of kids” sparked the idea behind the relaunch. The network will also appeal to this generation by making the series more suitable for watching on the go via mobile devices – fitting, considering Ben’s own “mobile device.”
That said, time will tell if the new Ben 10 takes a more comedic route – as Teen Titans Go! has done – or keeps its action-heavy, slightly more mature focus. Considering the built-in fanbase surrounding the premise and character (as well as the network’s choice to stick with traditional animation rather than CGI), the project is poised to continue building the successful Ben 10 franchise.
Ben 10 is slated to relaunch in the United States in early 2017.