Confession: I happen to own a pair of the colorful critters seen above. These are The Beastlies, the unique, hand-crafted creations of artist Leslie Levings, and soon, thanks to a partnership between J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot and toy giant Mattel, more folks all around the world are about to fall in love with them. Abrams first acquired the movie and TV rights to The Beastlies way back in 2012 after quite the serendipitous run-in with Levings’ creations at a local comic shop, and after years of hard work, the cute creations are about to come to life in all new ways.
As Deadline reports, The Beastlies are bound for the world stage thanks to the partnership between Bad Robot and Mattel. Abrams originally pitched the property to the toy company’s president/COO Richard Dickson a couple of years ago while on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens; just this morning, Dickson unveiled Mattel’s Beastlies presentation to Wall Street analysts. No details were offered, but previous plans were to turn the hand-sculpted mini-monsters into both a movie (franchise?) and an animated series, much like the super-successful Smurfs; there are also merchandising, gaming and live events that are expected to start launching this fall. Expect big things.
Here’s what Abrams had to say in a statement:
“The Beastlies is a passion project we have been working on at Bad Robot for years with the creator of these extraordinary creatures, Leslie Levings. To finally bring The Beastlies to the world, in collaboration with the brilliant minds at Mattel, is an absolute dream.”
And here’s Dickson on Abrams’ initial pitch:
“He presented this character concept he believed is aesthetically inspiring and creative, and then we got together the character drawings and creative conversations and that brought us to the point where we could reveal the partnership and concept. The combination of JJ and Bad Robot’s content creator powerhouse abilities and Mattel’s global marketing and branding abilities seemed a strong match for an amazing collaborative effort.”
But, of course, The Beastlies all started with Levings. You can find many more of her hand-crafted and ever-evolving creations at her site–be quick, these things tend to go fast–but for more on the media franchise of The Beastlies, take a look at the brand-new site, which includes Levings’ own origin story for the project: