EXCLUSIVE: McFarlane Films is partnering with wiip and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Rooster Teeth Studios to develop RAW10, an adult animated series from creator Dan Dominguez (Gen: Lock), inspired by McFarlane Toys’ eponymous series of action figures.
The RAW10 toyline consists of cybernetically enhanced animals, which are now sold exclusively at Walmart. Dominguez’s adaptation will be an R-rated Saturday morning cartoon for adults that, through the lens of the toyline, will satirically explore the tropes of ’80s-era animation. He will exec produce alongside Todd McFarlane, McFarlane Films’ Sean Canino, wiip’s Paul Lee, Mark Roybal and Nate Winslow, and Rooster Teeth Studios’ Dan Shorr. The team will be taking the project to buyers at the top of next month.
McFarlane Toys is a top-5 global leader in its field, and a licensee of world-class brands and leading global franchises. The company was founded by comic book legend Todd McFarlane, who created the Spawn universe and won two Emmys for his groundbreaking animated series of the same name, airing on HBO from 1997 to 1999. When McFarlane first announced the RAW10 toy launch in 2020, pre-orders sold out within hours. The line was met with widespread praise and enthusiasm not only from the media, but also from adult collectors and pop-culture enthusiasts who grew up during the modern action figure renaissance of the ’80s and ’90s.
The series adaptation of RAW10 represents McFarlane’s first foray back into the medium of animation in 23 years, and will feature such fan-favorite toyline characters as Fren-Z (a robotic blend of a great white shark and prehistoric megalodon), Battlesnake (a super genius reptilian monster) and Cy-Gor, who is part gorilla, part cyborg. (Although Cy-Gor was originally introduced in the Spawn universe, and his Spawn backstory may come into play, the RAW10 animated series will remain separate from the Spawn franchise.)
“Having fun in the older-skewing animation space is always something I am thinking about,” said McFarlane. “With the off-beat mind of writer Dan Dominguez and the experience of Rooster Teeth, we are all hoping the combined total will be a wild and entertaining ride for everyone. Animation lets our minds have an unlimited budget to create everything.”
“With Todd’s highly anticipated return to TV animation, Dan’s blistering run of genre defying shows, and Rooster Teeth’s flawless track-record, wiip couldn’t be in better company to launch our first animated show,” said the studio’s creative executive and producer, Roybal. “We’re always going to bet on the most original, daring and creative filmmakers – and that’s what we have with Todd, Dan, and Dan. This show is definitely going to wake up the whole house on Saturday morning.”
“I had a Spawn movie poster at my Bar Mitzvah, which is a choice that feels officially justified,” said Shorr, who serves as Rooster Teeth Studios’ Head of Scripted. “We’ve absolutely loved working with our partners at McFarlane Films and wiip and reuniting with our brilliant gen:LOCK Executive Producer Dan Dominguez to help put together this unique love letter to genre storytelling.”
Added Dominguez: “When I was a kid, I loved Saturday Morning Cartoons and, as I got older, my love of animation only got stronger thanks to anime. So many of the great R-rated toons out of Japan showed me that genre animation could be made for grownups. That they could be darkly hilarious, thematically rich, cerebral, violent, and seductive. So when I got the chance to come up with the world’s first adult Saturday morning cartoon, and to do it with Todd McFarlane – a personal hero who opened my eyes to how grown up comic books could be… needless to say, this project has been a dream come true. So get ready for deeply unsettling, grown-up style laughs! Thrills! Chills! Gore! Sex! Adult themes! And… emotions! Yes, I do in fact plan on having a 30 foot tall cybernetic gorilla make you cry.”
Writer and executive producer Dominguez has worked in animation with such genre luminaries as John Carpenter, Clive Barker, Malcolm Spellman and Jeff Howard. He’s most notably exec produced and written on Rooster Teeth’s series Gen: Lock, which first aired on Adult Swim before moving to HBO Max in its second season, as well as Netflix’s animated martial arts series, Seis Manos. Additional credits on the writing side include Camp WWE, The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants and SpongeBob SquarePants.
McFarlane’s Spawn comics have sold hundreds of millions of copies sold worldwide. Their creator rose to fame with his work on Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man franchise, where he co-created Marvel’s villain character, Venom. His company McFarlane Films has a first-look television deal with wiip. Its TV development slate includes projects from such established creators as Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!), Anders Weidemann (Beartown), prolific graphic-novel author, Sean Lewis, and ShadowMachine, which is developing the live-action series Sam & Twitch based on characters from McFarlane’s Spawn comic. That show is being adapted by executive producers Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg for McFarlane Films and wiip.
wiip is an independent studio led by veteran entertainment exec Paul Lee, which has been behind HBO’s Emmy-winning limited series, Mare of Easttown, starring Kate Winslet; Apple TV+’s Peabody Award-winning Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfeld; Danny Boyle’s Pistol for FX on Hulu; Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty for Amazon Prime Video; The White House Plumbers, starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, for HBO; Adam McKay’s The Uninhabitable Earth for HBO Max; and Dummy, starring Anna Kendrick, for The Roku Channel. The studio also produced Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry’s Toast of Tinseltown in conjunction with the BBC.
Rooster Teeth is a Warner Bros. subsidiary founded in 2003, which has a global footprint of more than 45 million subscribers to its YouTube Network, 1.2 million unique monthly visitors across its apps, and more than 4 million registered community members. Its production credits include the Michael B. Jordan starrer Gen: Lock and Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy on Netflix. It also produces the award-winning Halo satire Red vs. Blue, and the global phenomenon RWBY.
Dominguez is represented by Artists First and Cohen & Gardner; Rooster Teeth Studios and McFarlane by CAA.
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