EXCLUSIVE: Mattel and Bad Robot have teamed on The Beastlies, the first of several family-friendly world creation original properties. This one was created by Los Angeles-based sculptor Leslie Levings, and the collaboration came after Bad Robot principal J.J. Abrams pitched it to Mattel president/COO Richard Dickson two years ago when they met on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Dickson unveiled The Beastlies in Mattel’s presentation to Wall Street analysts this morning.
Neither Dickson nor Abrams would reveal much detail about these bug-eyed colorful creatures or their Beastlies mutli-platform rollout plan, but Bad Robot’s position as a content creator in film, TV and digital, and Mattel’s position in building and marketing global consumer products, hints strongly that big things are ahead for these tiny creatures.
“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,” said Abrams in a statement.
Dickson recalled his first meeting with Abrams on that Star Wars set. “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,” Dickson told Deadline. “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.”
Dickson wouldn’t say much more specific about the world of The Beastlies, but said that aside from the obvious content avenues to be explored by Bad Robot and consumer products by Mattel, The Beastlies has the potential to encompass merchandising, gaming and live event platforms. He expected these plans to begin launching in earnest by this fall.
As for Levings, her website describes her as a sculptor and creator of the Beastlies, which she describes as “an ongoing line of small but expressive monsters collected by fans around the world. When not making Beastlies, she explores natural history and world-building through her sculpture. Her work has been exhibited in galleries around the country, and as far away as Tokyo. Her Beastlies and other creations have appeared in several publications, including the cover of the farewell issue of Nintendo Power. She separately founded and runs the Wayward Retreat, a creative retreat for women pursuing their artistic calling that is held annually on a small island in Canada.
This continues the outward platform expansion of Bad Robot and founder Abrams, who’s returning to the helm on Star Wars: Episode IX. The company just opened Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix, returns with a new season of Westworld on HBO, and is a producer on Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Bad Robot made its first foray into book publishing with S., a bestselling novel conceived by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst.