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This is the first official addition to the Moomin franchise to be financed by the fans. Gutsy Animations started a crowdfunding campaign in April 2017 to fund the series, which surpassed its $200,000 goal to get the project off the ground.
Just as previous animated adaptations have collaborated with other countries, most commonly Japan, this one will be a joint venture between Finnish and British production companies. This is highly fitting as Britain first picked up the Moomin comic strip back in the 1950s, bringing international attention to the franchise. Finnish animation company Gutsy Animations will be collaborating with British Oscar-winning director Steve Box and Aardman Animation, both of whom most famously worked on the Wallace and Gromit films.
There have been several animated Moomin series over the years, some of them better received than others. Moominvalley will be the first animated series released since the anime series of the early 90s, which was so popular that it was broadcast in 124 territories and launched the second wave “Moomin boom.” A few films and remastered edits have been released since, but they received more mixed reviews than the anime.
The English dub of the 90s anime used relatively obscure voice actors. Moominvalley has gone the opposite route and hired big-name stars for its cast, which is also quite possibly the most diverse Moomin cast to date. This includes Taron Egerton as the lead role of Moomintroll, Warwick Davis as Sniff, Kate Winslet as Mrs. Fillyjonk, and Will Self as The Muskrat. There are not one but two actors from the popular British sitcom The IT Crowd—Matt Berry as Moominpapa and Richard Ayoade as The Ghost.
There are dozens of characters in the Moomin world, so announcements for the rest of the cast are forthcoming. Fans are still eagerly awaiting the actors for favorite characters including Snufkin, Little My, and Snork.
The Moomins have been animated in a variety of techniques in the past, from traditional animation to marionettes to fuzzy felt. Moominvalley will use a combination of 2D and 3D animation effects to bring the characters and their world to life. With this technique, the characters are rendered in 3D on a background using 2D illustrative effects. So far only a few pieces of concept art have been released, so it is yet to be seen what the final product will be like.
This isn’t the only upcoming Moomin project. A 3D Finnish-Polish feature film Moomins at Christmas is being released in December of this year. In addition, a second Moominworld theme park, to be named Metsä (Forest) is opening in Japan soon.
The first of the two-planned series is expected to air at some point in spring of 2019, so fans still have a while to wait, but there will be many more exciting announcements to come for Moominvalley.