Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and their friends will headline their own film in 2015, appropriately titled The Peanuts Movie. The animated feature was co-written by Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schulz' son and grandson, Craig and Bryan Schulz (respectively), as well as the relative newcomer Cornelius Uliano. Thus far, the involvement of the Schulz clan seems to have helped the project with remaining true to the spirit of its source comics (and their previous TV/film adaptations), judging by the Peanuts Movie footage unveiled to date.
Charles Schulz' Peanuts comics were characterized by their rich humanism; this was further reflected by Schulz' decision to incorporate a black character named Franklin Armstrong into the comic strip's ensemble of characters, during the late 1960s. 20th Century Fox has unveiled a new Peanuts Movie TV spot (complete with some previously-unreleased footage) that focuses on Franklin in the film (voiced by Austin & Alley cast member Mar Mar), to commemorate the anniversary of his newspaper debut.
Franklin, who is officially described as “Charlie Brown’s good friend and confidant, and the only one who never has an unkind word about our hapless hero, or anyone else for that matter” in The Peanuts Movie, was suggested to Charles Schulz by the Los Angeles-based high school teacher named Harriet Glickman to reflect the importance of desegregation, not too long after civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Schulz agreed and Franklin first showed up in the Peanuts comic strip that was published on July 31st, 1968.
That Peanuts comic panel can be seen in the background of the Peanuts Movie Franklin poster, featured below:
Here is the official synopsis for The Peanut Movie:
In the film, Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle – and flying ace – embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis The Red Baron, while his best pal, Charlie Brown, begins his own epic quest.
Peanuts Movie is being directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!) and produced by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy). So far, the computer-animated film's approach to realizing the traditionally 2D Peanuts world in 3D - by retaining the "flat" physical design of characters like Charlie Brown while also adding more photo-realistic details to create a greater sense of depth - seems to have gone over well with moviegoers (both longtime Peanuts fans and younger fans alike). Elements like the portrayal of Franklin should thus provide further confirmation that this 2015 rendition of the Peanuts universe is being done right.
The Peanuts Movie opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.
Source: 20th Century Fox