We’ve been writing about Popeye for a long time, though not nearly as long as the almost-100-year-old character has been around, but a long time regardless. We reported back in 2010 that the sailor-man was going CG and 3D in a new feature from Sony Pictures Animation. That’s pretty much been status quo for the last decade, with Genndy Tartakovsky coming aboard to direct in 2012 and delivering the first test footage in 2014, before departing the studio’s project altogether just a few months later. All signs pointed to Popeye being dead in the water, but the pic isn’t sunk just yet.
Animation Magazine reports that brand licensing corporation and Hearst subsidiary King Features will be teaming up with Tartakovsky to take Popeye back to square one. In other words, while their eventual final project might end up looking similar to what we’ve seen from Sony in the past, we’re likely looking at an all-new production from the ground up. There are no details as to whether Popeye will be CG and 3D — like Tartakovsky’s stellar animated features from Sony like Hotel Transylvania — or if it’s going to look more like Tartakovsky’s TV fare, like Samurai Jack and Primal, but hopefully we’ll hear more on that front soon.
Tartakovsky and Sony Pictures Animation still have more creative energy in the tank, however, as the director is presumably still on board for the R-rated comedy Fixed and a separate epic action-adventure flick titled Black Knight. King Features, meanwhile, has slowly been expanding their many brands’ footprints in the new media landscape. They launched a YouTube series of 2D Popeye cartoons meant for kids and announced plans for an animated Cuphead series bound for Netflix.
Stay tuned for more on Popeye, who might just return to the big screen by the time the character celebrates his 100th anniversary in 2029.