Netflix and Cuphead developer Studio MDHR are teaming up for a new Cuphead cartoon, which is such an obvious and brilliant idea that it’s amazing it hasn’t happened already. The Cuphead Show!, as it is called, has no release date as of yet, so don’t get too excited. However! We do know a few important details about the production.
First of all, Cuphead creators/brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer are both Executive Producers on the new cartoon, which bodes well for its creative direction, as well as the potential accuracy of its interpretation of the source material. But wait, there’s more! There are three other Executive Producers attached to the new cartoon, representing each company involved in its production. CJ Kettler, who most recently was Executive Producer on Netflix’ Carmen Sandiego reboot, is there to speak for the interests of King Features Syndicate, which is the merchandising company currently in possession of the Cuphead license.
And since Netflix Animation is producing The Cuphead Show!, they get not one, but two Executive Producer seats. Dave Wasson will take one, now that he’s finished producing Star vs. The Forces of Evil, and Cosmo Segurson — whose diverse work history includes writing for Camp Laslo and directing that new Rocko’s Modern Life movie — will take the other.
Before we move on, it would be a disservice to not take a moment and explain that Netflix Animation isn’t who you think it is. While Netflix has distributed a ton of really exceptional animated content, like Voltron: Legendary Defender and that Castlevania anime, it hasn’t actually made any of those cartoons. Voltron, for instance, was Dreamworks Animation; Castlevania was a Frederator Studios collab with Powerhouse Animation. The Dragon Prince, another neo-cult classic, was made by Wonderstorm and Bardel Entertainment. Netflix Animation is hiring for a lot of jobs, but it hasn’t actually released anything as of yet.
Beyond promising a “character-driven comedy [that] follows the unique misadventures of the impulsive Cuphead and his cautious but easily swayed brother Mugman,” Netflix’s press release was pretty light on details. One would assume that fan-favorite characters (such as Carla Maria) will make an appearance in the new cartoon, and while Netflix does say that “the new series will expand on the characters and world of Cuphead,” it doesn’t list any specifics.
Since Cuphead and Mugman weren’t voiced in the game, creating a show around the two characters may prove challenging. Do you maintain their silence, and rely on support characters and antagonists to flesh out the plot? Or do you break with convention and give voice to characters that have previously had none, at the risk of alienating the show’s most hardcore of supporters? Even with the brothers Moldenhauer at the helm, a change like that could be perceived as sacrilege. The press release gave no hints on this front, as it’s far too early in The Cuphead Show!‘s development cycle for Netflix to be talking about a cast, so we’ll just have to wait and see.