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The 10 Most Exciting Animated Features In Production Now (2017)

For the past couple of years, AFA has published a list of a selection of the most exciting animated features currently in production. And in just under the wire, we're here with this year's list! As always, we're bound by only two rules: 1) They must be somewhere along the line in production, anywhere from the pre-development process to post-production and 2) They can't have been on the list before. So if you're asking where film x is, take a look at our 2015 and 2016 lists before you complain! So without any further ado, let's take a look at (in no particular order) at The 10 Most Exciting Animated Features In Production Now!

How Do You Live?

Why We're Excited: The minute the legendary Hayao Miyazaki even pondered coming out of retirement to make one (allegedly) last feature, its place on our most wanted list was assured. After months of speculation what it would be, it was announced to be Kimi-Tachi Wa Dō Ikiru Ka (How Do You Live? ). The film is according to producer Toshio Suzuki an " a hand-drawn action adventure fantasy". This is probably welcome news to anyone who found The Wind Rises to be a disappointing endpoint for Miyazaki's career. It takes its name from a 1937 novel by  Genzaburō Yoshino, which apparently will have a major significance to the film's central character. Honestly, we don't know very much about this yet, but we don't need to. Any film from the master is going to have us chomping at the bit to see it.  Chris Perkins


Pixar Untitled Urban Fantasy Movie 

Why We're Excited: Though we still don't know too much about this film, what has been talked about so far has got me excited. For starters, the film will be taking place in an urban fantasy setting, where the films two primary protagonists will be setting off on a quest to find their long-lost father. I am genuinely curious to see how Pixar will approach this urban fantasy setting (that have dropped a few details such as dumpster diving unicorns and a “To and Fro Burger” restaurant). The latter information seems to be playing more for comedy, while the plot itself has a more personal focus. The film's director, Dan Scanlon (director of Monsters University) has stated that this project is a personal one for him, making it all the more intriguing what creative ideas he will bring to the project. Personally speaking, one of my favorite aspects of critically panned Monsters University, was its wonderful world building. So, while we are still light on plot details, the idea of seeing a well developed urban fantasy world is something I'm very excited to see Pixar tackle. Rachael Ward


My Father's Dragon 

Why We're Excited: The next film we'll see from Cartoon Saloon will be Tomm Moore's Wolfwalkers- which featured on last year's list. However, also in the works at the studio is an adaptation of this 1948 book by Ruth Stiles Gannett. It features a young boy by the distinctive name of Elmer Elevator who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon (aww). It's not the story that has us excited, however. While any new project at the Irish studio would be exciting enough to make the list, the fact that will see Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey return to co-directing for the first time since The Secret Of Kells. Song Of The Sea and The Breadwinner show artists at the height of their creative powers, so we can't what to see what they can achieve when they are reunited! CP


Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Why We're Excited: Being a fan of the comic, I already had high expectations for this movie when it was first announced. Even as more news came down the pipeline on who would be working on the film, I was intrigued but also a little hesitant. There are A LOT of different characters in the Spiderverse so the key point of the film will be knowing exactly which of these characters would be the focus of the story. Or even more important how the plot will shape up due to chaotic nature of dimension-hopping spider heroes. While we are still light on the overall story, the idea of having the Ultimate Spider-man Miles Morales as the film's star is a fantastic choice, giving this fan favorite Spider-man from the comics time to shine.

Then the teaser trailer came out and it was....well, utterly fantastic.

So far, it seems like the film's creative team have been making all the right choices with this film in both character focus and visual design. To the point that I am already marking down my calendar for next Christmas. Hopefully, as we get into 2018 we will start seeing other fan favorite spideys such as Ghost Spider (Spider Gwen) along with the famous Peter Parker. But we will just have to wait and see how many of the Spiderverse characters will make an appearance.  RW

ETA: December 2018


Why We're Excited: Nimona has had quite the journey. It started out as a humble webcomic, before being published as an award-winning graphic novel, which in turn was optioned as an animated movie. Although we've not had the time to read the book as yet, it comes from the super talented Noelle Stevens (co-creator of Lumberjanes) and has a compelling premise. It follows the eponymous shapeshifting teenager Nimona as she becomes sidekick/apprentice to a super-villain. And that's not all: it's also the feature directorial debut of Patrick Osborne, who is best known for directing the Oscar-winning short film Feast and the Annie Award-winning Pearl. It's also an intriguing new direction for Blue Sky Studios, who haven't tackled anything like this since the underrated Epic. We can only hope that the Disney/Fox deal doesn't derail their future plans- as this is the type of animated movie we want to see made more often. CP

ETA: 2020


Why We're Excited: For almost a decade, Warner Bros has long been hoping to adapt the famous Bone comic, created by Jeff Smith, into a series of animated films. Given the design of the comic’s iconic characters, an animated film would undoubtedly fit the comic’s unique visual appeal. However, given the comic’s popularity, there is little room for error in adapting a film (or film series) from its source material. However, with the announcement that the Little Prince director, Mark Osborne has been hired as the director, we at AFA are eagerly anticipating updates on the film’s production. Osborne is no stranger to adapting a widely beloved work and his ability to incorporate multiple styles of animation into a single movie would certainly be a boon for bringing the Bone comic to life.

While it's still too early to say exactly how the film will look or what key moments of the comic will be adapted, with Osborne at the helm we believe it's in the right hands. Ultimately, the comic's long journey to the big screen should be well worth the wait. RW


Chuck Steel: Night Of The Trampires

Why We're Excited: Mike Mort's stop-motion short Chuck Steel: Raging Balls Of Justice was a pitch-perfect parody of 80s action movies, making fun of all your favorite cliches of the era. Chuck will return in this feature-length outing, this time taking on the supernatural bloodsuckers of the title. Producing a stop-motion action movie is an impressive achievement in of itself, but add in a horror angle too, and this promises to be spectacular. Even more impressive, this isn't a major studio production but is produced by new independent studio Animortal, based in Bridgend, Wales.  The trailer and stills released so far show that this is going to be one great looking movie, and if it's half as funny as the short we're in for a treat. CP

ETA: 2018 TBC

Mirai Of The Future 

Why We're Excited: It is no secret that we at AFA have been huge fans of Mamoru Hosada's previous works. With what we now know of Mirai of The Future, Hosoda's upcoming feature film seems to be taking a unique direction. This is certainly not the first anime film, or even Hosoda film to play with the idea of time travel. But it is the promise of exactly “how” Mirai will use the manipulation of time to convey its story that has us so excited. The protagonist of the film, instead of a typical teenager, is a four-year-old boy will be bonding with his recently born sister. But thanks to some sort of surreal circumstances, his little sister appears before him as a teenager. This reverse sibling dynamic seems like it will be both hilarious and heartwarming all at once. With beautiful animation and surreal premise like this, how can we not be excited? RW

ETA: Summer 2018 (Japan), International release TBC


Why We're Excited: Calamity is one of the films on this list we know least about- but has made the cut based on the talent involved alone. Subtitled A Childhood Of Martha Jane Cannary, the film is set to tell a fictionalized version of the childhood of Calamity Jane. This is French director Rémi Chayé's follow up to the sublime Long Way North, which featured a similarly headstrong young female lead and with which it shares a unique visual style. The pilot film and concept art we've seen so far promises that this will do for the American West what his previous film did for the Frozen North. Even if the western genre normally leaves you cold, this looks like a film that could win you over. CP


Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet

Why We're Excited: The original Wreck it Ralph was an already ambitious film, even for Disney. Yet despite the complications of getting the rights to show off some of the most iconic characters in video game history (characters from Street Fighter, Sonic, Mario, Pac-Man, etc) the first Wreck-It Ralph was a wonderful film about self-acceptance and a love letter to classic video games. So when it was announced that a sequel was being made (where our titular character would be traversing the wide world of the internet) there was a great deal of excitement but also skepticism. Just the implied scope of such of the film given it’s setting seems almost impossibly large, however, Director Rich Moore has given hints on how the exploration of the internet will play into the story. Also announced at D23 was the inclusion of iconic character cameos from many different Disney properties. Namely, ALL of the Disney Princess (with most of them voiced by their original actresses) will appear in the film. Star Wars characters, R2-D2, C3PO, Princess, Leia, and Yoda are also planned for appearances along with Marvel characters such as Iron Man and Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy).

Much like the previous film, Ralph Breaks the Internet seems like another ambitious feature, but with Rich Moore once again at the helm, this anticipated sequel promises to be one wild ride. RW

ETA: March 2018