After 20 years, Thomas the Tank Engine is returning to the big screen in a new, live-action movie from World War Z director Marc Forster. The beloved children’s series has been the property of Mattel since 2012, and now, the toy company is including the cheeky little engine in its aggressive plans to turn its most popular brands into feature films.
The Thomas movie will reportedly be a mix of live-action and animation similar to Alvin and the Chipmunks and Detective Pikachu. A script is already locked down, so it’s just a matter of getting the film into production with its new director. Via Deadline:
“Thomas is a beloved global franchise that focuses on the importance of friendship, a theme that resonates deeply with children and parents around the world,” said [executive producer] Robbie Brenner. “Marc is an incredible storyteller and I look forward to partnering with him to tell Thomas’ story in a modern and unexpected way.”
While there were no plot details, the film will be most likely be heavy on the caring and sharing, and light on the more nightmare-ish elements of the classic series that freaked out the internet a few years back. In 2017, former College Humor writer Tristan Cooper noticed that one of the older episodes featured a storyline where Henry, one of Thomas’ fellow engines, is trapped inside a makeshift tunnel prison after he refused to work in the rain. “A stubborn train is punished by being entombed alive forever,” Cooper wrote, “and it’s worse than any horror movie.”
There's a Thomas the Tank episode where a stubborn train is punished by being entombed alive forever and it's worse than any horror movie pic.twitter.com/Bn1Y0PTItL
— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) September 28, 2017
After Cooper posted the video, Twitter users chimed in with their horrified reactions. “What moral lesson are kids supposed to learn from this?” one commenter wrote. “Do as you’re told or you will be entombed forever in the darkness to die?” I mean, if it gets them to stop jumping on the couch…