Director Henry Selick is poised to make an absolutely showstopping return to the world of stop-motion animation with this October’s Wendell & Wild for Netflix, the first film from the legendary animation supervisor since 2009’s beloved Neil Gaiman adaptation Coraline. The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach director had worked in more recent years for Disney, with the global juggernaut seemingly not allowing Selick to bring any of his own projects to fruition. Thus, it’s now been considerably more than a decade since his last film, but judging from the trailer below Selick’s vision hasn’t lost a step.
Wendell & Wild was co-written by Selick and producer Jordan Peele, who also stars as one of the two titular demons—the other being played by Keegan-Michael Key, giving us our long-desired Key & Peele reunion in the process. As the official synopsis puts it: “Two scheming demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot (Lyric Ross) to summon them to the Land of the Living.” The film likewise features vocal performances from the likes of Angela Bassett, Ving Rhames and the legendary James Hong.
Looking at the trailer below, the comparisons to films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas or Laika’s ParaNorman are obvious, although the cutout-style of the character models almost suggests the unnerving animated segments of Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, which was also produced and co-written by Jordan Peele. One thing not missing is a sense of frenetic energy or delightfully unique character designs, which has us hopeful that Wendell & Wild will be an absolute feast for the senses.
The film is scheduled to have its world premiere at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11, 2022, before opening in theaters on a limited run on Oct. 21. It will then finally hit its streaming home on Netflix on Oct. 28, 2022. One has to assume that Netflix probably has huge aspirations for this one, and anything less than an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature will probably be seen as a disappointment. You can check out the first trailer for Wendell & Wild below.