Netflix picks up Gaumont’s Usagi Chronicles

Stan Sakai's samurai rabbit is headed to the streamer, which has also snagged international rights for ViacomCBS's SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run.
July 16, 2020

Netflix is growing its comic-driven catalogue, teaming up with French prodco Gaumont on CG-animated series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, which is based on the Usagi Yojimbo comic book brand.

Set in the far future, the action-comedy hops along with a teenage rabbit as he battles alongside a ragtag team of heroes to become the greatest warrior. The new show marks the first time the comics have been adapted for TV. Mumbai-based 88 Pictures (Trollhunters, Fast & Furious Spy Racers) will manage the animation production.

The series was first announced back in 2018, following Gaumont’s acquisition of the property in 2017. The adventure series for six to 11s was originally scheduled to begin production in 2018.

Stan Sakai (pictured), Usagi Yojimbo’s creator, writer and illustrator, will serve as EP on the new series, working with Gaumont’s Nicolas Atlan, Terry Kalagian, Sidonie Dumas and Christophe Riandee; Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson, Keith Goldberg and Chris Tongue; and Atomic Monster’s James Wan, Michael Clear and Rob Hackett.

Samurai Rabbit is Netflix’s latest comic adaptation and follows on the heels of a recent announcement about new 2D-animated series DeadEndia, based on the graphic novel of the same name. In April, the SVOD also inked a first-look deal with BOOM! Studios to create animated and live-action content based on the publisher’s IPs. Netflix has long been interested in turning comics into content for the small screen, and previously purchased publisher Millarworld in 2017 to create films and kids shows based on existing comic book franchises.

In other Netflix news, the SVOD has picked up the international distribution rights to ViacomCBS’ new SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run movie. The streamer will launch the animated film globally, excluding the US, Canada and China, according to a spokesperson for Netflix. No release date has been announced yet.

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