New Regency recently announced that it has purchased the rights to Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock, a popular children’s fantasy musical series which ran for five years starting in 1983.
New Regency has been slowly developing a Fraggle Rock film over the past few years, and obtaining the license is obviously an important step, meaning, the studio is now free to begin production.
Fraggle Rock is a story about a community of tiny, beak-faced creatures who live underground near an old farmhouse.
Their episodic challenges usually revolved around learning to live as a community, interacting with the mysterious Doozers, a race of even smaller creatures who spend their time building intricate underground scaffolding – which the Fraggles find delicious; escaping from the enormous Gorgs – who see the Fraggles as pests; and hearing from Traveling Matt, a Fraggle who was exploring ‘outer space’ – the Fraggle name for our world.
They often solve their problems with advice from a sentient garbage pile, called Marjory, near the Gorg home. As you may recall, the show used the Fraggles and their relationships as obvious allegories for a wide variety of social and interpersonal issues.
The primary characters are a group of youths in the modern Fraggle population, a small group with all the typical ‘group of friends’ personality tropes (the weird one, the smart one, the nice one, etc).
I find the show interesting for the assumed mythos of the Fraggles. I always felt like there was a lot to learn about them, such as where they came from, who are their ancestors and how did they become connected to the other races? The symbiosis of the four races was the most interesting part, and surprisingly, the show does spend some time going into the mythology, though not nearly enough, of course.
No word about form the film will take at this point, but it would be a shame if they didn’t recreate the original puppets. The CGI stuff New Regency did with the Alvin and The Chipmunks franchise won’t work for Fraggle Rock. The audience expects to see Muppet-style puppets, and would be hard-won if those puppets were replaced with another effect.
Personally, I’d rather see a new series for the Fraggles, which would offer the opportunity to explore more of the world Hensen created. Perhaps if the film is successful, we’ll get to see that.
There is no announced release date for Fraggle Rock, but I would expect it to hit theaters the holiday season of either 2012 or 2013 depending on the priority placed on the project. If the new Muppet film is successful this season, New Regency will definitely want to rush to have the film ready by the end of next year.