FOX continues to bulk up its adult animation roster as it prepares for the addition of a two-hour Monday animation block in May 2023, announcing that an animated adaptation of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire fantasy novels, dubbed His Majesty’s Dragon, is in development with a script commitment.
The story is an alternate history spin on the Napoleonic Wars, in a world where flying dragons are deployed like airships and choose their human pilots. Sharing a name with the first book, the series will center on the adventures of the dragon Temeraire and his master, Will Laurence.
The FOX-owned series hails from Fox Entertainment and its animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment. Ben Queen (Cars 2, A to Z, Powerless) is writing and executive producing the project. He is represented by Verve, Anonymous Content and attorney David Weber.
His Majesty’s Dragon was published in 2006 and took home the Compton Crook Award for the best sci fi or fantasy novel by a first-time author in 2007. Novik will be a consulting producer on the animated series, and is repped by Cynthia Manson Literary, attorney Matt Sugarman and APA.
In addition to imminent series like Dan Harmon’s NFT-backed Krapopolis and Grimsburg, starring John Hamm — which are set to join the four-show Monday block when it launches along with Season 2 of HouseBroken — FOX has quite a few animated irons on the fire.
Recently announced projects include a Rats of NIMH adaptation (with MGM’s Orion Television); a series inspired by classic board game Clue (with Hasbro’s eOne), which has browght on Dewayne Perkins (The Amber Ruffin Show) as writer/exec producer and Tim Story (Tom & Jerry, Fantastic Four) as exec producer; Bloom County, which just signed co-writer/showrunner Tim Long (The Simpsons); and primetime Flintstones revamp Bedrock (with WB and Brownstone).
These join an ever growing list of projecs in various stages of development, such as Dirt Girls (Victoria Vincent), Shell Beach (Tyler, The Creator, Lionel Boyoce & Davon Wilson), Prince Wawa (Tim Baltz & Lily Sullivan), Cocky (Jack Amiel & Michael Begler), Demi-God (Katie Greenway), Ocean Village (Daniel Cardenas Katz) and an untitled semi-autobiographical toon from Jermaine Fowler.
The network will reportedly whet fan appetites through fall and winter with digital content and blockchain activities in advance of the expanded block.
FOX is also currently in discussions with Disney Television Studios’ 20th Television Animation to renew its toon stalwarts The Simpsons (renewed for two seasons in March 2021), Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers (renewed for Season 21 and Season 13, respectively, in September 2021). FOx’s President of Entertainment Michael Thorn told Deadline: “We are still talking to them and I think those shows will be on the air along with our new animation, for the next couple of years, but we’re still in conversations right now about those.”
However, one old FOX fave will not be returning. Thorn also told The Hollywood Reporter that the revival of Mike Judge and Greg Daniels’ Emmy-winning classic King of the Hill will not be coming home: “That’s not going to be with FOX. We love that team, and we love that show. It’s obviously part of our animation legacy. But we’re we’re really focusing on animation is launching the kind of the next wave of our signature animated series, while still having our great legacy shows.”