At Comic-Con@Home, ViacomCBS finally revealed the name of their CG-animated Star Trek series headed to Nickelodeon, and today they announced some new high-powered talent joining the Star Trek: Prodigy team.
Ben Hibon joins Prodigy
Today Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios announced that award-winning director and producer Ben Hibon (Codehunters) will direct, co-executive produce and serve as the creative lead of Nickelodeon’s new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy. The CG-animated series follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning, and salvation. Star Trek: Prodigy will debut exclusively on Nickelodeon in 2021, targetting “a new generation of fans.”
“Ben’s contributions to the world of animation are immeasurable, and we are so lucky to have his vision and creative genius on Star Trek: Prodigy. As an incredible storyteller and a world builder with a distinct vision, his original approach paired with this beloved property will bring the characters to life in a whole new way,” said Ramsey Naito, Executive Vice President, Animation Production and Development, Nickelodeon Group.
Said Hibon, “Getting the chance to work on an IP like Star Trek has been an incredible opportunity, particularly when partnered with the talented teams at Nickelodeon, CBS and Secret Hideout, who have been pushing the boundaries of what animation and serialized storytelling for younger audiences can deliver.”
Producers: Star Trek never looked so good
Hibon joins executive producers Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters) who were brought in to put Star Trek: Prodigy together by executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who oversees the Star Trek Universe on TV for ViacomCBS.
The Hageman brothers turned to Twitter today to express their appreciation for Hibon’s work on Prodigy.
Star Trek never looked so good. We’re so lucky to have such a tremendous talent. @benhibon
‘Star Trek: Prodigy’: Ben Hibon To Direct & Co-Executive Produce Nickelodeon Animated Series https://t.co/yDXVzxq9uW via @Deadline
— Dan & Kevin Hageman (@brothershageman) August 10, 2020
And it turns out, Hibon has been working on Prodigy for a while. He even tweeted about it during Comic-Con@Home.
Our Nick/CBS show STAR TREK PRODIGY finally announced @Comic_Con Can’t wait to reveal what our team has been cooking up… @StarTrek #Comicon2020 #StarTrek @NickAnimation #animation #animatedshow pic.twitter.com/LJ2jstLAso
— Ben Hibon (@benhibon) July 26, 2020
2nd animated series in new STU
Following last week’s Star Trek: Lower Decks series premiere, Star Trek: Prodigy will be the second animated series in the new Star Trek Universe and the third one in the franchise. You can see an animated logo for Prodigy in this promotional tweet send out by ViacomCBS.
The @StarTrek franchise epitomizes #ViacomCBS' strategy of maximizing the power of our popular IP. #StarTrekLowerDecks is the newest addition to the #StarTrek universe, available now on @CBSAllAccess. Watch how. pic.twitter.com/eYZyWnLpAb
— ViacomCBS (@ViacomCBS) August 8, 2020
Hibon’s award-winning work
The 2006 short film Codehunters commissioned by MTV Asia and shown at the MTV Music Awards has been viewed over 400 million times. It won a gold award for Best Animation at the Promax/BDA Asia awards in 2006, the Imagina Award 07 for best short film, a D&AD Nomination for Animation, and most recently the highly coveted Golden Nica award at the Prix Ars Electronica 2007.
Hibon animated the “Tale of Three Brothers” sequence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, which was nominated as part of Warner Bros.’ VFX submission to the Academy Awards. Hibon, along with David Yates, also won the British Animation Award for this sequence.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Prodigy news and updates at TrekMovie.com.
Star Trek: Prodigy is full of potential.
Star Trek never focused on children as a potential audience. This show is a golden opportunity for Star Trek to grow and engage new fans.
I wish them well, good luck.
I’m not exactly clear on what Hibon’s role is as a Co-executive Producer, but the creative lead and a/the director.
Does this mean that he will be the creative head of animation and supervising director?
It sounds as though Nickelodeon, CBS Eye Animation and ViacomCBS senior management have made a decision to bring Hibon on board to raise Prodigy’s animation to the highest level.
As I’m not as familiar with what the titles mean in animated series, some context would be very appreciated.
In any case, his animation is lovely, suspenseful and we’ll paced. Something about it totally evokes some Soviet era children’s animated shorts. I hope this can be retained.
Last thought: not sure I can see Prodigy’s title, which leans towards the “My Little Pony:Friendship Is Magic” design style and colour palette is going to be a fit with Hibon. I’m wondering if it might evolve.
I’m also not sure what his exact role and the status of Prodigy is. I read excerpts from an interview with Kurtzman on another site where he gave an update on the writers rooms of all the different shows. He said that the writers have finished season 2 of both Lower Decks and Prodigy. However, if they are bringing Hibon on just now as creative lead does that mean they haven’t settled on an animation style and any designs, yet? Do they only have (2 seasons worth of) scripts so far?
I looked at Hibon’s Twitter. He tweeted to main title reveal at Comic-Con, saying he was glad they could finally share what they’ve been working on.
So, it sounds as though Hibon has been part of Prodigy’s creative team for a while, but is only now publicly confirmed in a leadership role.
That’s right, Star Trek: Prodigy is going to be executed in a classy style of European expressionism. Mike McMahan might have to up his game and deliver more artistic zombie vomit in season 2 of his show.
What are you talking about? It’s for kids… unlike Lower Decks.
Why not? Maybe Nakamura thought of the Czech Animated Film: Krabat an expressionistic children’s movie from 77. One of my favourites when I was a kid.
Hibon is Swiss Ninja. He did his more advanced training in the UK.
So, he’s definitely from a European school of animation rather than American. (Kudos to ViacomCBS for broadening the creative input.)
As I noted above, the pieces embedded above definitely give me a Soviet era animation vibe. In Soviet society, children’s animation was a safe(r) place for artists to experiment. Not to mention that there is a European art and theatre tradition for children that hasn’t been considered any less authentic as art. As a result, there are numerous wonderful children’s animated shorts and movies from the 60s and 70s that are still worth watching.
I can see why odarek mentions Krabat, but I can think of several Russian shorts in the same tradition. You’ve mentioned an interest in studying Russia. These are great for learning Russian language and culture.
In terms of Prodigy, there’s a long history of American and Western European animation taking up Eastern European animation styles, not least including Disney himself.
I’m all the more looking forward to Prodigy now, and hopeful that it will earn a series Emmy.
Yeah… I think you are reading too much into this. The animation will be CG like what we saw in Clone Wars and Rebels.
They did a great job on Clone Wars and Rebels. Imagine TOS/TMP movie era ships in CGI.
I hope this means that the animation quality will at least be very good because I haven’t been impressed with most of the CG animated shows so far except for maybe Clone Wars.
Given the TOS “star” the middle I am pretty excited about this one… could it be in a post Picard stagnant Federation that a bunch of kids that want to explore take an old retired Constitution class refit and go exploring out of their own rather than play holodeck and leave starships to the AI? This would be a good analog for Trek needing to recapture some that exploration / Wagon Train to the Stars / Horatio Hornblower in space magic vs. stagnant soap opera in space.
Would be pretty deep for a kids show, but then again I remember loving TAS as a kid because it was so deep.
The star ist also used in the (I think) red squadron logo. Members wear it as a pin (if I remember correctly). Its nice to see a symbol closely resemble something classic. I am no fan of the DIS “split delta” design, it just adds nothing in my opinion.
Hopefully no Red Squadron/SFA which is where I was worried it would go; and I guess given you are right on the logo I maybe still am worried.
Really hoping these are kids wanting to explore the frontier (even better, sans Starfleet).
Nice. I’m obviously going to check this out regardless. It will be much easier to see this than the other current Trek stuff on AA. But I really hope the talent of these guys can overcome what appears to be a monumentally weak premise.
The more I hear about this one ML31, the more I’m hopeful that it will be one of the better and more innovative Trek offerings.
So far we have:
– the Hageman brothers who have brought good social development content in compelling stories in Trollhunter
-Hibon for top quality animation
– Dr Erin MacDonald reportedly working closely as science consultant to get the STEM content right
– David Mack writing consultant on Trek canon/continuity.
I’ve gone from skeptical to very hopeful that this will rise above the usual Nickelodeon fare. Even though they will be beyond the target age, I expect our kids will check it out.
I’m way beyond the target range but will still be checking it out.
But… It will still be a herculean effort for the production crew to overcome a ridiculous premise. If what they say is indeed the premise. We don’t really know for sure.
As with Lower Decks, I can’t wait to see the Prodigy character designs. I want to see how their rendering would support the intended narrative of the show.
LD’s Tendi’s design won me over from the get-go. :-)
You know, there are already people out there who complain about her hair color – “Orions are supposed to have black hair, not green”. But that is the level of nitpicking we have to deal now, I guess ;D
PS i am all for variations in known species – would absolutely not mind seeing an turquoise andorian or an Orion with an more yellowish green complexion. And variation in hair colors! Give them to me! Thats one thing I really appreciate in PICARD, the diversification of the romulans.