There’s been a growing need these days to apologize for the goofiness that defined many of the old weekend morning cartoons. We see it in the way Michael Bay single-handedly ruined both the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises, or in the way G.I. Joe lost most of its comedic appeal to make way for serious soldiering action. Even now, talk circulates about a gritty remake of Captain Planet, which producers are hoping will warn moviegoers of climate change better than Al Gore’s powerpoint presentations ever could. Yet one major franchise has managed to survive most of the growing pains these cartoons have been forced to endure.
It’s the unlikeliest of survivors in this animated purge, but no matter your opinion, the My Little Pony reboot has proven itself worthy of a successful run. In 2010, Powerpuff Girls mastermind Lauren Faust envisioned her own modernized take on a show made for TV's oft-overlooked audience block: little girls. Then boys and older audiences got in on the show, and its solid writing and memorable characters.
Now, after a long run of (count 'em) seven seasons, the series is all set to get its very own movie. Watch Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity take on their new adventures in the trailer below:
Here are six reasons to hold on to that feeling until its release date:
1. The New Voice Cast
Given the show’s history of inviting celebrities to join the main characters in their weekly adventures, it's only logical that the film will bring out the big guns. With such a star-studded lineup, the guns don't get any bigger than this. For the 2017 release — appropriately titled, My Little Pony: The Movie — there are eight heavyweight voice talents, including Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Taye Diggs, Michael Peña, Zoe Saldana, and Liev Schreiber.
They join the likes of John de Lancie, Weird Al Yankovic, William Shatner, and Felicia Day, all of whom have lent their talents to the show at some point in its seven-season run.
2. The Villains
My Little Pony is known for crafting a memorable lineup of villains. And since each season begins and ends with two-part episodes, the show's baddies get a lot of time to develop after their introductions.
Now that the creators have the timespan of a feature film, it’ll be interesting to see what they'll do with their newest batch of Equestria's worst. Close-ups of the villainess show a grim picture: a scar over one eye, a broken horn, and a clear distaste for party balloons. Official summaries describe Tempest as the right-hand (right-hoof?) to bigger bad, The Storm King. However, with such a dramatic entrance being teased so early in the trailers, there's no denying her immediate evil presence.
3. The Old Stuff
Fans of the original show will be thrilled to know that the film will be guided by original director and writer Jayson Thiessen and Meghan McCarthy. With both holding the reigns to steer the project, fans will be assured of the same consistency that's made the show last as long as it has. Also signing on for the project is series composer Daniel Ingram. With him on board, fans can look forward to songs aplenty in the film; all of them just as catchy and sweet as some of the series' trademark tunes.
Amid talks of the series' recent decline, news of these returns is welcomed by longtime fans. It’s still a tricky thing to discuss the series' decline online, as (depending on who you’re talking to), you'll find the blame being put on lengthy hiatus, an unnecessary extra main character, or the departure of reliable writers. Other times, you’ll hear passionate denials that this is even the case. Despite this, it’s hoped that the film jolts the fandom with that extra spark, whether they’re planning to continue the series or not afterwards.
4. The New Stuff
Equestria is a land of many races, with a varied list that includes the likes of dragons, Changelings, Griffons, Windigos, Timberwolves, a minotaur, some donkeys, and the odd zebra. In the movie, the cast gets even bigger, with the addition of a parrot, a cat, seaponies, and whatever The Storm King is. New lands are also there for the discovering, as it's clear our ponies will be traveling to terrain yet unexplored. Here, they'll be put to the test on battlegrounds on land, in the sea, and in the air.
The movie's art is also clearly different from the series' usual style. It's a change that's fit for a big-screen release, where the colors look much brighter and the animation much more fluid. The amazing part? Most of it is rendered in classic 2D, which comes as a breath of fresh air in a sea of 3D-rendered features.
5. The References
With an older fanbase comes a more tongue-in-cheek and self-aware writing style. It's a trend that's been faithfully practiced by the show as soon as creators got over the shock of seeing so many male viewers tuning in to the first season. Once it adopted this dual-natured ability to cater to both kids and adults, the series was able to enjoy a reputation of having some of the most intelligent writing seen in a cartoon.
While throwing in mature jokes for the parents isn't new in cartoons, no other series is as gleeful as My Little Pony in winking at its older clientele. While some shows will sneak in jokes through dialogue, My Little Pony takes it a step further by acknowledging their older fans with nods to Star Wars, Metal Gear, and even The Big Lebowski.
6. The Returning Voice Cast
Of course, what really keeps the fans coming back for more is the effortless banter and chemistry shown by the main voice cast. Although you have six main ponies (also called the Mane 6, because who doesn’t love horsing around with a fun pun?), there are only four ladies giving them life behind the screen: Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, and Tabitha St. Germain are the real stars of the show, and have been since the start.
Thanks to their talents, it's hard imagining any of the main ponies being voiced by anyone else, as all four have worked to make each character her own. Because they've been able to make each pony stand out, they're each able to personify the show's core moral for all little girls: It's OK to be any sort of little girl, as long as they’re being themselves.
The movie poster rubbed fans the wrong way as none of the four voice talents got top billing. Instead, the honor went to the newer, more famous voice actors, leading most people to believe that the movie retained none of the original voices. Fans can rest easy now that it's long been confirmed that all original members of the Mane 6 will be rearing up for their big-screen debut.
With Equestria facing its umpteenth major threat in seven years, the ponies and their fans are in for quite the ride. We can expect more character banter, arguments and jokes — just the things that make every good friendship work.
My Little Pony: The Movie gallops into theaters on October 6, 2017.