It seems we haven’t heard anything from Northwest stop-motion kings Laika Studios in quite a while, not since their Sasquatch feature The Missing Link fell flat in theaters years ago. Rest assured they’re still alive, and to prove it, they’ve just made a couple of new hires to keep development humming for years to come.
Victor Maldonado & Alfredo Torres, two animation directors who collectively call themselves “Headless,” have joined Laika. Their resume includes three episodes of Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots and one episode of Dreamworks’ Trollhunters, the latter winning an Annie award.
The other hire is director Pete Candeland, known for his skills with mixed media presentations and Gorillaz videos. What Headless and Candeland plan to do for Laika is unknown at this point, and it may be too early for anything to really exist yet.
Candeland’s previous project, an animated horror movie about Frankenstein, has yet to be released. He’s quoted as saying “Animation works best in extremes. It has been gradually growing a broader audience, moving like No-Face from Spirited Away, gathering fans with cutting-edge music videos, iconic games and breakthrough shows like Arcane and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” He went on to say that he hopes he can bring to horror the animation innovation those previous projects gave to their genres.
Laika’s next animated feature, titled Wildwood, is set to be released next year. Also in the pipe are The Night Gardener, based on a story from Ozark creator Bill Dubuque, and Seventeen, an adaptation of the thriller novel by the same name. Seventeen will be the studios first live-action project.
But if you add up Wildwood, The Night Gardener and whatever Headless and Candeland are about to bring to the table, that makes FOUR animated films from Laika in the future. One flop won’t be enough to squish this studio. Of course it helps when you’ve got Big Daddy Nike paying your debts.