What’s next for Netflix Animation?

A look at the streamer's upcoming animation slate, including Zack Snyder’s take on Norse mythology, a new Wallace & Gromit film, and plenty of IP-based projects

What’s next for Netflix Animation?
Nathan Lane introduces Spellbound Image: Netflix

In the last decade, Netflix has become a hub for quality animation, with critically acclaimed and award-winning original series like BoJack Horseman, The Dragon Prince, Love, Death + Robots, Blue Eye Samurai, and Arcane, plus movies like Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Sea Beast, and Nimona. You can’t blame the streamer for taking a well-earned victory lap, but it also wants viewers to know that it’s keeping the pipeline flowing with new content aimed at every segment of animation fandom. Last week, Netflix invited members of the press, including The A.V. Club, to a presentation showcasing its upcoming animation slate. The event, hosted by Ultraman: Rising star Christopher Sean, featured a procession of celebrity guests, including Nick Kroll, Zack Snyder, Craig Robinson, and Nathan Lane, who previewed a wide array of animated shows and movies currently in development. Here’s a rundown of the ones we found most interesting:

Animation for adults

Sean kicked off the presentation by introducing Kroll, who previewed the eighth and final season of his animated series Big Mouth, coming early in 2025.

“I think about where when we started, BoJack had come out and we were in the next little round of animation at a time when Netflix itself was just beginning to do original programming,” Kroll told the audience. “And we had unbelievable freedom to create exactly the show we wanted to make. Netflix took a real flyer on how crazy it was to be like, ‘We’re going to make a show about kids masturbating. Does that sound good?’ And they were like, ‘That sounds great. Do whatever you want.’ And they really gave us the freedom to do that.”

When Big Mouth wraps up next year it will be Netflix’s longest-running animated series, only outpaced by Stranger Things in terms of all of Netflix’s still-running shows. Kroll stars in the semi-autobiographical comedy as Nick, an adolescent version of himself, alongside John Mulaney as Andrew, a character based on Kroll’s childhood best friend and series co-creator Andrew Goldberg. They and their friends are followed around by their own personal hormone monsters who embody their sexual desires, urges, and insecurities. The cast also includes Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph, and a broad roster of Kroll’s many comedian pals. He wrapped up his portion of the day with a sizzle reel of footage from the final table read.

Zack Snyder and his wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder were also on hand to preview their upcoming series Twilight Of The Gods, inspired by Norse mythology. The animation has a hand-drawn 2D look steeped in Viking iconography that helped it stand out from a lot of the other footage we saw. If the involvement of Snyder himself (who directed two of the episodes) isn’t a big enough draw, the action and character designs are also enticing.

“I’ve always been obsessed with Norse mythology,” Snyder said. “I think it’s an amazing place. I love mythology in general, and so the idea of actually being able to dig into this rich tapestry of heroes and gods was an incredible opportunity for both of us. And this show is really a story. It’s a story about love and revenge, and it just takes us across this massive and beautiful landscape in pursuit of, well, you’ll have to see now.”

Some of the other animated shows for adults on the way include:

  • Exploding Kittens, an animated comedy based on the card game. Here’s how Netflix describes it: “The eternal conflict between Heaven and Hell reaches epic proportions when both God and the Devil are sent to Earth—in the bodies of chunky house cats.”
  • The Undervale, a paranormal family comedy from Archer and Rick & Morty veteran Matt Roller and producers Chris McKenna and Dan Harmon.
  • Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft, a new adventure series based on the video game franchise.
  • Terminator Zero, created by Mattson Tomlin (Project Power, The Batman) and starring Timothy Olyphant as the voice of the Terminator. Dropping on Judgement Day, August 29.

Animated shows for everyone

There were plenty of announcements on the all-ages front too. Like many of the above projects, there were a lot of connections to established IP. Expect new animated series set in the worlds of Ghostbusters, Stranger Things, and Minecraft, plus a new entry in the Hotel Transylvania franchise, titled Motel Transylvania.

We also got a sneak peek at a new original series called Jentry Chau Vs. The Underworld, executive produced and starring Ali Wong. Wong voices the titular Jentry, a Chinese-American teen from Texas who has to balance her normal life with battling “an entire underworld’s worth of monsters.” Based on the brief look we got it seems like a modern take on Buffy, with a harder edge and a more specific cultural focus.

Finally, Netflix announced an action-adventure series called K-Pop: Demon Hunters (that’s just a working title for now). We only got to see some early test footage, but from what we saw of the show it’s exactly what you’d expect from the title: a trio of cool-looking musical performers who moonlight as demon hunters. It’s not the most original premise, but the animatics showed some potential.

More anime on the way

When it comes to anime, the competition among streaming platforms is fierce. Netflix may not be the first place you think of when you’re looking for a vast library of anime to watch, but it is (currently) home to wildly popular series like My Hero Academia, Demon Slayer, One Piece, Delicious In Dungeon, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and more. According to Netflix, its anime titles had more than a billion views across 190 countries.

On the features side, fans of Studio Ghibli may be interested in the upcoming movie The Imaginary. It comes from Studio Ponoc (Mary and the Witch’s Flower), which was founded by a group of Studio Ghibli veterans. Directed by Yoshiyuki Momose from a screenplay written by Yoshiaki Nishimura, The Imaginary takes viewers on a magical journey with a young girl and her imaginary friend. It will debut on Netflix on July 5, after competing at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The voice cast of the English dub features Hayley Atwell, Kal Penn, Jeremy Swift, and Ruby Barnhill.

Here are a few more anime titles coming soon:

  • Tokyo Override, a crime thriller set in a futuristic parallel universe “where a group of motorcycle delivery bikers provide illegal services.” The show was made in cooperation with Yamaha and Honda, so look for lots of chase scenes and vehicular mayhem in this one.
  • Leviathan, an adaptation of Scott Westerfeld’s YA steampunk novel about the crew of a living airship who face an uncertain future with two major world powers on the brink of war.
  • The Boy And The Heron, Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning film, as well as other Studio Ghibli classics (previously exclusive to Max).
  • Sailor Moon Cosmos, the final two-part story of the Sailor Moon Crystal series.

Featured attractions

Also on hand at the presentation was Craig Robinson, who voices characters in two different upcoming animated Netflix films. First, he can be heard as Pa Cheeks in the all-new SpongeBob SquarePants film Saving Bikini Bottom: The Sandy Cheeks Movie, premiering in August. While he was there he also announced the next SpongeBob film (which he doesn’t appear in) due next year. That one will focus on the devious character Plankton and is tentatively titled—wait for it—Plankton. Robinson will also voice a character called Baloney Tony, a toy giraffe stuffed with processed meat, in the upcoming family fantasy In Your Dreams.

Another film to keep an eye out for this Christmas is That Christmas, from the writer and director of Love Actually, Richard Curtis. In a recorded message, the British filmmaker talked about what inspired him to make an animated film about Christmas. “Today, we are very excited to share my first ever animated film, directed by Simon Otto,” Curtis said. “It’s about Christmas, which is my favorite time of year. It’s such a focus of happiness and loneliness and joy and fear. I hope that you’ll enjoy this little clip. You may get a sense of Brian Cox with my favorite Scottish accent in the world. I hope that you enjoy it and that it makes you feel Christmas-y and happy.”

Staying on that side of the pond, we also got a look at the newest Wallace & Gromit adventure, Wallace & Gromit: Vengeance Most Fowl. Directors Nick Park and Merlin Crossingham also filmed a message for the crowd from the studio of Aardman Animations, where they are currently in production on the feature-length stop-motion film. Crossingham introduced the clip with a brief summary of the film’s storyline: “We start with Wallace in the thick of an inventing spree that turns Gromit’s world upside down when the latest invention—a smart gnome—is much more than even Wallace had ever hoped. At the heart of it, this is a story about technology and how great it can be, but also the danger of it getting in the way of our relationships.” Park added that the film will bring back fan-favorite villain Feathers McGraw, “a penguin everyone loves to hate.”

Next up was The Twits, inspired by the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It’s about Mr. and Mrs. Twit (voiced by Margo Martindale and Johnny Vegas), a nasty couple who constantly play practical jokes on each other. The voice cast also includes Natalie Portman as the mother of a troupe of trained monkeys and Emilia Clarke as a bedbug. The film was directed by Phil Johnston (writer of Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia, and Ralph Breaks the Internet, the latter of which he also co-directed) and written by Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Inside Out 2).

The final special guest of the day was Nathan Lane, who introduced Spellbound, an upcoming musical fantasy film from Skydance Animation. “Spellbound is about Ellian, the tenacious young daughter of the rulers of Lumbria,” Lane said. “And she has a secret. A mysterious spell has turned her parents into monsters. … Ellian loves her parents. That’s why she summons the mysterious Oracles of the Sun and Moon. I play the Oracle of the Moon and Tituss Burgess plays the Oracle of the Sun, and we come to help her break the spell.”

Joining Lane in the cast are Rachel Zegler as Ellian, Nicole Kidman as the queen, Javier Bardem as the king, plus John Lithgow and Jenifer Lewis as royal ministers. The songs were written by legendary Disney composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. Spellbound is directed by Vicky Jensen (Shrek).

Before ending the presentation, Netflix offered one last preview for the press. We got to see a few minutes from the second and final season of Arcane, coming in November. That footage is still under embargo, so we can’t give any details for now. All we can say is that it continues to be one of the most visually striking animated series on Netflix or any other platform. We’ll have more to share as the premiere draws closer.

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