Rebooting childhood classics isn’t an easy feat. Nostalgia works both ways and it’s really hard to tap into the best of it. But with the amount of live action franchise reboots happening now, we’re seeing a reinvention of concepts and characters that maybe other forms of media didn’t think of before.
Of course, there’s other franchises that might deserve the spotlight more. Here are five childhood franchises getting a reboot and five that deserve one.
10 Rugrats, 2021
Why? We don’t need live action babies.
Rugrats had something of a sequel series in the early 2000s called All Grown Up! It was...ok. For the most part, it broke down tween/teen problems pretty well and fit in with the rest of Nickelodeon’s programming at the time considering As Told By Ginger, My Life As a Teenage Robot, and Danny Phantom were running at the same time. But As Told By Ginger did the teenage topics a bit better, considering it ran for 16 years as opposed to All Grown Up! which ran for 5 years.
A return to form would be a good place for a movie reboot. Half the charm of Rugrats was seeing how the babies perceived the world and the lessons they learned just exploring life. Bringing back that spark of childhood wonder would do the franchise some good.
9 Herbie the Love Bug
Hey, cute and cuddly cars seem to make a good movie. Herbie’s debut was in 1968 and for the next 30 some-odd years, he was a big enough deal for Disney to keep making movies. His last movie appearance was in Herbie: Fully Loaded, released in 2005.
Disney doesn’t seem to have any plans to continue the franchise, even though the last movie didn’t do terribly at the box office. With a solid team behind it, a new Herbie film could be so much fun and take us to new places. Rally Finland anyone?
8 Clifford the Big Red Dog, 2020
Yes, Clifford is getting a live action movie slated for 2020. And honestly, who doesn’t want to see a 15ft good boy on the screen?
Paramount Pictures picked up the film and it will be a joint venture for Scholastic Entertainment and Paramount Animation. Paramount gave it a November 13th, 2020 release date, most likely to cash in on the Thanksgiving rush. Scholastic will also be rebooting the Clifford TV series later this year, with new episodes hopefully coinciding with and leading up to the movie’s release. Cleo and T-Bone will be missed.
7 Star Wars: Ewoks or Star Wars: Droids
So technically the Star Wars franchise has a lot going for it right now, but most 80s and 90s kids will remember at least one of these two shows. Both were pretty short-lived, with 2 seasons and 1 season respectively.
They’re both really fun to watch, especially if you as a kid were drawn to anthropomorphic teddy bears or robots. And yes, Anthony Daniels actually voices C-3PO in the series (with R2 as himself). Considering that the preschool genre is undergoing a massive boom, it’d be cool to see these spinoffs readapted for the audience too young for Star Wars Resistance get their own show.
6 Dora and the Lost City of Gold, August 2019
Did anyone see this one coming? Anyone?
From the trailer, it seems like a somewhat creative premise considering the source material. Dora the Explorer is one of a handful of preschool shows that helps children learn a second language. Also, that theme song is way too catchy.
Isabela Moner will star as a teenage Dora, starting the journey of navigating high school. And then something happens to her explorer parents and she has to go save them. It sounds pretty fun, but there’s a fine line. You have to make it feel like a Dora adventure, not an adventure movie in Dora’s clothes.
5 Astro Boy
Ok, where is it? Where is the reboot we were teased by in 2015 that’s all artsy and pretty?
Astro Boy is in dire need of a reboot. The last anime directly starring Astro Boy came out in 2003, with the dub making huge tonal changes to the show. Although we’re getting news that the reboot - a co-production between France’s Caribara Productions and Shibuya Productions and Japan’s Tezuka Productions - will be dropping some time this year, we haven’t heard anything else. Considering how long it’s been delayed, some of us are starting to lose hope.
4 Sonic the Hedgehog, November 2019
Let’s give a big thank you to Paramount execs for letting the animators redo Sonic’s character design. For those of you iffy about it just because of the extra work, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The animation itself is set, the model just needs a new skin so to speak. It’ll be a relatively simple process. The financial issues the VFX industry has in general is another story not related to Sonic.
There were a lot of missteps with that initial trailer, but there was also some stuff to like that may help the core games. Sonic’s got some great one-liners and Dr. Robotnik’s (or are we calling him Eggman?) costume is on-point. At the very least, it feels like a Sonic movie akin to Sonic Boom’s humor. And Sonic Boom is funny stuff.
In an age rebooting popular video game franchises, why not Kirby?
Riding the high of his Super Smash Bros. MVP status, Kirby turned into the breakout star during the initial World of Light trailer launch. Seriously, if a room of adult men all chanting “Kirby!” in the NYC Nintendo store doesn’t instantly clear your skin, then nothing will.
Kirby’s one of those character you’ve heard of if you’ve ever played a Nintendo game, but probably don’t know the lore of. And the anime that ran in the early 2000s had a completely different story and universe from the games. Kirby’s premise and style would match a younger audience as well, like a lower key version of Detective Pikachu.
2 Detective Pikachu, May 2019
That first trailer had us scratching our heads, but nodding along in compliance. But that second trailer had us all shook.
Detective Pikachu is actually based off a relatively obscure Pokémon game of the same name. Released in 2016, the 3DS version of the game has Tim investigating the disappearance of his father when he runs into Detective Pikachu, his father’s Pokémon. The new movie makes a lot of changes to the plot and characters, but overall, it’s enjoyable for new and old fans.
Sure, it’s not the best movie ever made. But it’s a fun video game movie and it was awesome seeing so many Pokémon from every generation in one place.
1 Avatar: The Last Airbender
So technically, this is getting a live action adaptation, but that’s not a reboot like The Legend of Korra was. A lot of us still love Avatar since it was a solid story with great characters in a really fun world. There’s so much to like about it and very little to dislike.
With such a strong base and a good sequel series, it’s about time for a true reboot. There’s a huge history to draw on, hundreds of different Avatars to follow, and different time periods to work off of. What if we had benders now? How about benders in a time when the world is more connected? Or how about the life of the second Avatar? So many possibilities!