After more than 15 years, America’s most iconic cat is finally returning to the big screen.
In 2024, we’re looking forward to the release of “Garfield,” the long-awaited film starring Jim Davis’ iconic comic strip character. The movie will, incredibly, be the first fully-animated theatrical project starring the lasagna-eating grouch, who first appeared in newspaper comic sections in 1978. Although the franchise has remained enormously popular in the decades since its launch, Garfield’s only theatrical films were two live action/CGI projects starring Bill Murray as the character. After the second film, “A Tale of Two Kitties,” bowed in 2006, the franchise remained off the big screen for years, in favor of direct-to-DVD films and television shows.
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News of Garfield’s animated return first broke in 2016, when Alcon Entertainment secured the exclusive rights to developing animated features based on the character. Although the project remained dormant for several years, 2021 saw an uptick in news about the film, which is set to be given a theatrical rollout from Sony. Although plot details of the upcoming project remain slim, the news that has come out so far has promised a star-studded animated film, and one that makes significant changes to the lore of the Garfield-universe. Here’s a rundown of what we know so far for the “Garfield” animated movie.
The film will release in 2024
“Garfield” is scheduled to release in theaters Feb. 16, 2024. The date means the film will debut 20 years after the original Bill Murray “Garfield,” and 18 after the character’s last big-screen outing.
Chris Pratt is Garfield
Obviously a star like Garfield needs an A-lister to fully embody his sass, and the team picked out a big one in the form of Marvel and “Jurassic World” star Chris Pratt. Pratt will debut in the voice role roughly a year after his performance as another iconic cartoon character, Mario of Nintendo fame, in the upcoming “Super Mario Bros.” film adaptation.
The creative team is an “Emperor’s New Groove” reunion
“Garfield” is directed by Mark Dindal, a Disney veteran who worked as an animator on notable films such as “The Great Mouse Detective,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin.” As director, he helmed the critically acclaimed cult classic “The Emperor’s New Groove,” as well as “Chicken Little” and the Warner Bros. animated film “Cats Don’t Dance.”
In directing “Garfield,” Dindal reteamed with “Emperor’s New Groove” screenwriter David Reynolds, who penned the film’s script. Reynolds also co-wrote the script to “Finding Nemo,” and served as an additional writer on films like “Mulan,” “Toy Story 2,” “Tarzan” and “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.”
Garfield’s Dad is making his debut — and Samuel L. Jackson is playing him
In a twist on the “Garfield” mythos as we know it, the animated film is set to introduce the titular hero’s father for the first time in history. Named Vic, Garfield’s father will be played by Samuel L. Jackson, who previously voiced another cat in 2022’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank.” How the film will incorporate Garfield’s dad — and if his mother will also be present — remains to be seen.
The rest of the cast is star-studded
Joining the cartoon cat forms of Jackson and Pratt, Ving Rhames (“Mission: Impossible”) Nicholas Hoult (“The Great,” “The Favourite”) Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”) and Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live, Schmigadoon!”) have all been announced as members of the film’s voice cast. Who the actors will be playing remains unconfirmed — they could be new additions to the “Garfield” story, though the comic strip also has a large cast of recurring characters they might lend their voices to, including Garfield’s owner Jon, best friend Odie, veterinarian Liz and fellow felines Nermal and Arlene.
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