Oscar-nominated studio Cartoon Saloon will soon be coming to Netflix with a brand new feature film project adapting My Father’s Dragon. Emily Horgan, an independent media consultant walks us through everything we know so far as of August 2022 with the movie set to arrive on our screens in November 2022.
My Father’s Dragon was announced by Netflix in an animation pipeline fanfare from November 2018 and originally targeted for a 2021 release (although more on this in a second).
There have been numerous statements from creatives and executives that describe the film as “very ambitious”, so let’s review everything we know about it so far.
Before we dive into the rest of our preview, here’s the first-look trailer for My Father’s Dragon:
What’s My Father’s Dragon about?
My Father’s Dragon is based on an illustrated 1948 kids book, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett. It is a recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal which recognizes “distinguished contribution to American literature for children”.
Interestingly two more recent winners have also been adapted into kid’s films for Disney+, The One and Only Ivan and Flora & Ulysses.
Who is making My Father’s Dragon?
Cartoon Saloon is a small Irish animation studio based in Kilkenny. They rose to prominence in 2010 when a film they produced, The Secret of Kells, unexpectedly bagged an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film.
Their track record has been consistent ever since, with every feature they’ve produced enjoying an Academy nod. Wolfwalkers, their most recent film, was no exception is currently available on Apple TV+.
Who is behind My Father’s Dragon on Netflix?
Cartoon Saloon’s Nora Twomey directs the film.
Twomey also directed their previous films Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner, produced by Angelina Jolie. Ted Sarandos namechecked her in a recent Netflix earnings call as one of the greatest animators in the world.
Speaking ahead of the movie release, Twomey said:
“Our actors, animators and artists at Cartoon Saloon & Mockingbird Pictures have worked together to craft this film, inspired by Ruth Stiles Gannett’s amazing book. We were drawn together by a desire to tell a very special tale of friendship, adventure, and true bravery. I fell in love with storytelling as a child and Netflix excels at celebrating all kinds of stories, through different styles and distinct voices. When Netflix came onboard with this film, before we even had a script, it was to encourage us to make the best film we possibly could. Our crew created a beautiful, animated lens to look through and I can’t wait to share the view with audiences around the world.”
The script is by Pixar alum Meg LeFauve, who wrote Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. Her Inside Out colleague, Ronnie Del Carmen, also signed an overall Netflix deal. Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Picture, who boast work with a multitude of A-list Hollywood talent, are involved as producers alongside Tomm Moore of Cartoon Saloon.
What is the plot of My Father’s Dragon?
The summary of the novel is:
“A young boy runs away from home to rescue an abused baby dragon held captive to serve as a free twenty-four hour seven-days-a-week ferry for the lazy wild animals living on Wild Island”
It’s a fantastical tale, set in the large on Wild Island. Across the 10 chapters the main protagonist, Elmer Elevator, meets an assortment of animals of varying dispositions including a cat, tigers, a gorilla and of course, a dragon. The appearance of the dragon is described in the book as follows:
“He’s got a long tail and yellow and blue stripes. His horn and eyes and the bottoms of his feet are bright red, and he has gold-colored wings.”
Based on the synopsis, the Netflix version sounds like it will stay fairly true to all this:
“My Father’s Dragon tells the story of young run-away Elmer Elevator, who searches for a captive dragon on Wild Island and finds much more than he could ever have anticipated.”
Calling all #artdirectors we are looking for you to join our crew for our new feature – My Father's Dragon. https://t.co/flKGAI56fD so please please please x infinity get in touch. #jobfairy pic.twitter.com/y283qUKhQ0
— Cartoon Saloon (@CartoonSaloon) November 30, 2018
Who is in the cast for My Father’s Dragon on Netflix?
Casting for the movie was confirmed in early 2022 with an all-star cast (including plenty of familiar faces to Netflix fans) assembled to voice.
Here’s the rundown of who’s in the cast:
- Jacob Tremblay
- Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things)
- Golshifteh Farahani
- Dianne Wiest (The Birdcage)
- Rita Moreno
- Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd)
- Judy Greer (13 Going on 30)
- Alan Cumming
- Yara Shahidi
- Jackie Earle Haley
- Mary Kay Place
- Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
- Spence Moore II
- Adam Brody
- Charlyne Yi
- Maggie Lincoln
- Jack Smith
- Whoopi Goldberg (Star Trek)
- Ian McShane (Deadwood)
Where is My Father’s Dragon in production? When will it release on Netflix?
Despite being announced by Netflix in 2018, the development of the film by Cartoon Saloon can be traced back as early as 2016.
Key creatives from the Studio mentioned being “a couple of months” into production in January 2019.
This seems to be very much ongoing based on current recruiting.
Cartoon Saloon are slated to deliver a movie installment for the pre-school series Puffin Rock (also on Netflix) in advance of this. According to insiders, the film would not be coming out in its originally scheduled 2021 slot but in 2022, which has been subsequently confirmed as part of Netflix’s film slate in 2022.
The movie will first premiere at the 66th BFI London Film Festival in October 2022.
As part of the Fall 2022 release schedule, Netflix confirmed the movie will be coming in November 2022. In addition, My Father’s Dragon will also receive a limited theatrical run in select theaters in November 2022.
Are you looking forward to watching My Father’s Dragon on Netflix? Let us know in the comments down below.