After a hiatus of more than 15 years, America’s most beloved feline is set to make a triumphant return to the cinematic stage.
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Anticipated for a 2024 release, “Garfield” is the eagerly awaited film featuring Jim Davis’ iconic comic strip character. Remarkably, this movie marks the first fully-animated theatrical endeavor for the lasagna-loving curmudgeon who made his debut in newspaper comic sections in 1978. Despite the enduring popularity of the franchise since its inception, Garfield’s only foray onto the big screen consisted of two live action/CGI projects with Bill Murray portraying the character. Following the release of the second film, “A Tale of Two Kitties,” in 2006, the franchise took a hiatus from theaters, opting for direct-to-DVD films and television productions.
The animated comeback of Garfield was initially revealed in 2016, when Alcon Entertainment secured exclusive rights to develop animated features centered around the iconic character. After a period of dormancy, 2021 witnessed increased activity and announcements regarding the film, which is scheduled for a theatrical release by Sony. While specific details about the plot of this upcoming project are scarce, the information released thus far promises a star-studded animated film that introduces substantial changes to the lore of the Garfield universe. Here’s a summary of what is currently known about the “Garfield” animated movie.
The film will release in 2024
The movie “Garfield” is set for release in theaters on February 16, 2024. This date marks the film’s debut two decades after the original Bill Murray “Garfield” and 18 years after the character’s last appearance on the big screen.
Chris Pratt is Garfield
Taking on the role of Garfield is none other than A-list star Chris Pratt. Renowned for his roles in Marvel and “Jurassic World,” Pratt’s vocal performance will bring Garfield’s sass to life. This casting comes just about a year after Pratt portrays another iconic cartoon character, Mario, in the upcoming film adaptation of “Super Mario Bros.”
The creative team is an “Emperor’s New Groove” reunion
Directed by Mark Dindal, a Disney veteran with a background in animation for notable films like “The Great Mouse Detective,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Aladdin,” he gained acclaim for directing the cult classic “The Emperor’s New Groove.” Dindal also directed “Chicken Little” and the Warner Bros. animated film “Cats Don’t Dance.”
For “Garfield,” Dindal collaborated once again with “The Emperor’s New Groove” screenwriter David Reynolds, who crafted the film’s script. Reynolds, known for his work on “Finding Nemo” and as a co-writer for films such as “Mulan,” “Toy Story 2,” “Tarzan,” and “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” brings his expertise to the “Garfield” project.
Garfield’s Dad is making his debut — and Samuel L. Jackson is playing him
In a departure from the familiar “Garfield” storyline, the animated film is poised to unveil the titular hero’s father for the very first time. Named Vic, Garfield’s father will be portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, who recently lent his voice to another feline character in 2022’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank.” The details of how the film will integrate Garfield’s father, and whether his mother will also play a role, are yet to be revealed.
The rest of the cast is star-studded
Joining the animated realm alongside Jackson and Pratt, the voice cast of the film includes Ving Rhames (“Mission: Impossible”), Nicholas Hoult (“The Great,” “The Favourite”), Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”), and Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live,” “Schmigadoon!”). The specific roles that these actors will be portraying remain undisclosed. They could potentially be introducing new characters to the “Garfield” narrative, or they might lend their voices to the existing array of recurring characters from the comic strip, such as Garfield’s owner Jon, best friend Odie, veterinarian Liz, and fellow felines Nermal and Arlene.