Today in “We have the brand, so we might as well try to get something out of it” news: Variety reports that Interplay Entertainment is attempting to create a new cartoon series based on Earthworm Jim, the semi-obscure absurdist video game series about a space-faring earthworm launched back in 1994.
Per Polygon, Interplay swiftly paired the announcement of said series with another public statement: A note distancing the company, and the project, from Earthworm Jim co-creator Doug TenNapel, who did the initial design work and art on Earthworm Jim for Shiny Entertainment back in the ’90s, before embarking on a longer and much more unfortunate career of anti-LGBTQ+ comments, opposition to gay marriage, and deliberate mis-gendering of trans critics. “Interplay owns all rights in the Earthworm Jim property and assembled a whole new creative team to bring Jim to the small screen,” the statement reads. “Doug has no involvement in this new EWJ TV Series.”
And, look: We liked Earthworm Jim just fine when we were kids—even going so far as to get some mild laughs out of his short-lived Saturday morning cartoon, which starred The Simpsons’ Dan Castellaneta. But even if you strip out TenNapel’s stink, we’re talking about a character who has very little to him outside the basic quirky concept.
(I.e.: Worm gains possession of an all-powerful supersuit, worm fights outlandish enemies with names like Psy-Crow and Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, repeat as needed for as many episodes or ambitious-but-technically-wonky platforming levels as needed.)
Certainly, the video teaser Variety posted—which sees an unnamed voice actor riff listlessly over some admittedly pretty worm art—doesn’t express a particularly strong point of view, outside of “Earthworms like dirt.” All of which demands the question: Who is this for, outside the terminally nostalgia-poisoned?
We’re talking about a game series with a scant three installments (and a few lackluster remasters) to its name across 27 years of life, only two of which even border on playable. Have we finally hit the famed bottom of the nostalgia barrel, only for this industrious man-worm to continue digging ever further downward into the murky loam beneath?
Anyway. The new series is being developed by Michel K. Parandi, working with animator Marc Bodin-Joyeux. No word on what network Interplay is hoping to land it at.