After a highly publicized drop in subscribers, Netflix is shaking things up in a big way. The streaming service is letting go of high-profile executives, like Director of Creative Leadership and Development for Original Animation Phil Rynda, along with several of his staff. There have also been various cancellations of highly anticipated animated series, including the long-awaited adaptation of Jeff Smith’s critically-acclaimed comic book Bone.
According to TheWrap, these cancellations come amid rumors of some major changes to the Kids and Family space at Netflix Animation. This means what Rynda originally told creators about wanting Netflix to be the home of everybody’s favorite shows no longer applies. Instead, it’s been replaced with a new vision from the platform’s CEO Reed Hastings which says, “We want to make what our audience wants to see.” The animation division has also been side-lined on the streamer’s official store, with not a single item from a Kids & Family project.
However, Bone is the most heartbreaking Netflix cancellation as the whimsical fantasy epic is considered the Holy Grail of unadapted comic book classics. Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, Bon was originally serialized in 55 irregularly released issues from 1991 to 2004. The story chronicles the adventures of the Bone cousins Fone, Smiley, and Phoney. After being cast out of their hometown Boneville, the trio travel across a fantastical landscape on a quest to rescue the Valley from the evil Lord of the Locusts.
Since its release, Bone has received positive reviews from critics, who have praised Smith’s simple and effective art style. His unique sense of humor and character development was also a massive hit with fans who found themselves enthralled with the Bone cousin’s adventures. As such, the now-defunct Netflix series has received several awards, including 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harvey Awards.
Due to the series’ popularity, there have been various to expand the graphic novel to other mediums. In 2005, Telltale Games developed an episodic adventure game series based on the comic. But only two of the five planned installments were released due to the company’s closure. The first, Bone: Out from Boneville hit store shelves in September 2005. And The Great Cow Race followed in April 2006.
There was also Bone: Legacy – a sequel trilogy of novels that followed the adventures of new Bones in their quest in the Valley. The first edition of the three-part Quest for the Spark series was released in February 2011, with the second and third installments following in 2012 and 2013. Netflix was supposed to bring the beloved story to life on screen, but now those plans have been squashed.
Other projects under Netflix Animation’s Kids & Family division that are being affected by the shake-up include an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1980 book The Twits. That series is now being developed as a movie. The streamer acquired the rights to create screen versions of Dahl’s work in late 2018. This deal also included the rights to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and The BFG, Collider reports. Lauren Faust’s project, Toil and Trouble will also be getting the film treatment.