Asterix is all set for a new chapter as Netflix has partnered with Hachette’s Les Editions Albert René and screenwriter and actor Alain Chabat to create the first-ever animated limited series based on the iconic French comic book Asterix and the Big Fight.
Alain Chabat has signed on to direct the series, which Alain Goldman of Legende Films will produce. Chabat wrote and directed Mission Cléopâtre in 2002, the most successful of Asterix’s numerous appearances on screen. His feature, starring Christian Clavier as Asterix and Gérard Depardieu as Obelix, grossed more than $128 million at the global box office, the third highest-grossing feature film in French history.
The upcoming Netflix series will be adapted from one of the classic volumes, Asterix and the Big Fight, where the Romans, after being constantly embarrassed by Asterix and his village cohorts, organize a brawl between rival Gaulish chiefs and try to fix the result by kidnapping a druid along with his much-needed magic potion. I’m not giving anything away when I tell you, it doesn’t go as planned.
Each new volume and movie is eagerly awaited by fans, especially in France, Italy, Germany and Canada as the series has been appealing to all ages and crosses all borders.
Since the first Asterix graphic novel was introduced in 1961, 38 volumes have been released in 111 languages and dialects, with the 39th due later this year (and there have also been 15 feature films dating back to 1967). These stories tell the saga of the pugnacious warrior and his irreverent village companions who keep a tiny corner of ancient Gaul free from bumbling Roman invaders.
Netflix director of original animation Dominique Bazay took to the streaming giant’s blog to share,”I’m thrilled that Alain Chabat is coming back to Asterix for the first time since then, and that it’s on Netflix. I’m French Canadian, and like most francophones around the world, I grew up with Asterix, his sidekick Obelix and loyal companion Dogmatix. I watched the animated specials and read the books religiously. If you’d told the eight-year-old me that one day I’d help bring these characters to life… I wouldn’t have believed you.”
Netflix is ramping up its French original content, which includes hits such as Omar Sy-starrer Lupin and cult favorite Call My Agent! In 2020 the company opened a new headquarters in Paris, part of a broader move to boost its slate of non-English-language films and series.
While there are currently many shows based on the comic book characters like WandaVision, The Umbrella Academy, and The Flash, just to name a few, there aren’t many based on non-superhero comic franchises. It will be interesting to see the success of Asterix, which could potentially usher in a new era of comic-inspired movies and TV shows.
The new Asterix & Obelix series will debut in 2023.