Thunderbirds are Go for Weta

A scene from Gerry Anderson's classic 1960s TV series

Weta Workshop has landed its next gig: a remake of classic 1960s series Thunderbirds for the UK's ITV.

The Wellington special effects and production house will work on the re-make in partnership with Sir Richard Taylor's Pukeko Pictures.

The series is in pre-production, and will screen in 2015, fifty years after the debut of the original.

Gerry and Sylvia's version of the Thunderbirds featured "supermarionation" - dodgy but endearing puppetry that gained it a cult following down the years.

Where to now?

"This re-invention of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s iconic series will be produced using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets. Showcasing Pukeko Pictures’ and Weta Workshop’s ground-breaking creative and technical excellence, it will deliver a whole new level of action-adventure animation for today’s audience, whilst also affectionately paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from the classic series," Pukeko Pictures says in a statement.

Thunderbirds fans will be hoping it has a bit more character than an earlier Weta remake, the slick but charmless Adventures of Tintin.

Weta Workshop (a separate operation from Weta Digital) has previously worked on Sir Peter Jackson's King Kong remake, and James Cameron's Avatar.

Sir Peter holds stakes across Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, while Sir Richard's financial interest is in Weta Workshop only.

The two knights are directors across both companies.

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Tintin was largely made by Weta Digital and directed by Steven Spielberg. This is Weta Workshop, Pukeko Pictures and ITV. Not even remotely the same people.


Same owner, same managers


No, neither.


No, leave this alone. It is best left as it is, in the context of its time. Thunderbirds was for 60s kids, not today's kids or the geeks at New Zealand's digital picture factories. I won't go anywhere near another noisy over-blown remake of someone else's work.


Although sadly no longer with us, the driver behind this was Gerry Anderson. He had been trying for a number of years to get the project off the ground but ITV blocked the rights. It seems they have come to some agreement and I think that Gerry would have wanted the project to go ahead. Having said that, it could still turn out to be awful but judgment, as ever, should be reserved.


Reading this, I just can't help thinking about the last great screen marionette project, Team America. Mmm-mmm. Take it away, sirs.


This is a job for Joe 90 and Supercar.


Oh exciting. I can't wait to see what they do with it. If it sucks, I don't care, I have all their DVDs and will just go back to them. Woohoo, five, four, three, two, one - Thunderbirds are go!


Very excited about this news and I am more than certain that Sir Richard Taylor and his team will do it justice.. Thanks guys.


I too am excited and yet concerned. The 2004 Hollywood film was not FAB, and they tinkered with the design of the aircraft. Thunderbird two is a classic and flawless design which ended up with rectangular exhaust ports - YUCK. If our Knights of Wellywood stick to the original 60's art it would do great homage to the Andersons and their vision.
Michael Caine's voice for Parker please!
Oh, and can they remake UFO next?


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