In 1981, toy company Hasbro Inc. released a line of toys ponies called My Pretty Pony. They were identified by brightly colored bodies, equally bright manes and tails, and symbols or pictures on their flanks (now known as cutie marks). Three years later, a cartoon special aired featuring the ponies, renaming them My Little Pony. This was followed by another special the following year, a full-length theatrical film a year after that, and a TV series called My Little Pony 'n Friends, which ran from 1986 to 1987. Another cartoon series premiered in 1992, My Little Pony Tales. A series of short films followed, as well as a couple of feature length specials and even some video games and comics. And in 2010, a new series premiered - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has reached a new level of success for the franchise. Not only is it highly successful with the young children it is aimed at, there are also large numbers of older fans, (including the well-known adult male "bronies"). Six seasons in, with a seventh on the way, this newest incarnation is also about to have its own theatrical iteration.
Reported first by Variety, the newest cast member of My Little Pony: The Movie is Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar). Saldana is one of several new additions to join the returning TV show's cast (Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Cathy Weseluck), who play starring characters known to fans as 'The Mane 6'.
Saldana is not the only new voice in Ponyville. Also voicing characters in the movie are Sia, Kristin Chenoweth (Frozen), Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Liev Schreiber (Spotlight), Emily Blunt (Sicario), Taye Diggs (Chicago), and Michael Peña (The Martian). This continues a tradition started in the original My Little Pony movie of 1986 of featuring celebrity voices who were not a part of the subsequent television show, such as Danny DeVito and Madeline Kahn.
It's interesting to note that while there is no word yet on whether My Little Pony: The Movie is a musical or not, it easily could be with this cast. Sia is a recording artist, Emily Blunt starred in the movie musical Into the Woods and Kristen Chenoweth, Taye Diggs, and Uzo Aduba all have Broadway musical credits on their resumes. Saldana adds to that musical talent, she can be heard singing on the soundtrack for the movie The Book of Life.
My Little Pony: The Movie will be released by Lionsgate on October 6, 2017.