METALLICA's James Hetfield will lend his voice to Activision Blizzard, Inc.'s "Skylanders Academy", the first production by Activision Blizzard Studios, its newly created television and film studio. The show will premiere in fall 2016 on Netflix, the world's leading Internet television network.
"Over the last five years, millions of families around the world have welcomed 'Skylanders' characters into their homes. Now, they'll be able to watch their favorite characters come to life on Netflix," said Bobby Kotick, chief executive officer of Activision Blizzard. "We couldn't have found a better home for 'Skylanders Academy' and look forward to sharing our extraordinary characters with Netflix audiences around the world."
The series follows the heroic adventures of the Skylanders team, a group of heroes with unique elemental skills and personalities who travel the vast Skylands universe, protecting it from evil-doers and showing the next wave of Academy cadets how to do things the "Skylander way." Created by Toys For Bob, the $3 billion Skylanders franchise has sold through more than 250 million toys since pioneering the toys-to-life category in 2011, and earlier this month Activision revealed Skylanders Imaginators, the latest innovation in the franchise.
"'Skylanders Academy' gives us the opportunity to approach narrative storytelling with the same level of quality and excellence that millions of Skylanders fans have come to expect from the game," said Activision Blizzard Studios co-president Stacey Sher. "We're inspired by our fans' excitement for these characters and have worked hard to bring these characters to life with stories our fans will love."
Activision Blizzard launched its studio last year to create original content based on the company's intellectual property, and "Skylanders Academy" is the first production by Sher and studio co-president Nick van Dyk. The two-season Netflix partnership is another important step in Activision Blizzard's strategy of enhancing its franchises and broadening their appeal.
Produced under the supervision of showrunner Eric Rogers ("Futurama"), "Skylanders Academy" features the voices of Justin Long ("Alvin And The Chipmunks", "Ask Me Anything") as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale ("Phineas And Ferb", "High School Musical") as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks ("Breaking Bad", "Better Call Saul") as Eruptor and Norm MacDonald ("Saturday Night Live") as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes The Diamond Minecart, Susan Sarandon, Daniel Wu, Parker Posey, Catherine O'Hara, Bobcat Goldthwait, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jonny Rees, Harland Williams and Richard Horvitz.
Sher and van Dyk are joined by Sander Schwartz, the Emmy Award-winning producer of animated hits, including "The Batman", "The Aquabats! Super Show!" and "Justice League: The New Frontier" as the show's executive producers. "Skylanders Academy" is animated by the internationally acclaimed TeamTO studio in France.
"Activision Blizzard Studios' enviable mission is to work with our extraordinary portfolio of franchise intellectual property and bring it to broader audiences on new platforms," said van Dyk. "We're excited to reach this strategic partnership and for the future of 'Skylanders Academy'."