For Marvel, Star Wars and Star Trek, animation is now the boldest new frontier

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Animated spin-offs from blockbuster movies are nothing new. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, heroes from Star Wars, Bill & Ted, Back to the Future, The Mask, Ace Ventura, the Ghostbusters and even Free Willy were routinely transformed into cartoon form.

They were primarily made for kids watching TV on Saturday mornings, and often bore just a passing resemblance to the source material. The original film actors rarely showed up to reprise their roles – notable exceptions were Anthony Daniels as C-3PO in Droids, and Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures – while numerous liberties were taken with character designs and stories. Suddenly nerdy spook-hunter Egon Spengler was given an incongruous bleach-blond look in The Real Ghostbusters. The cartoon version of Free Willy saw the kid developing the unlikely ability to converse with his orca BFF.

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