HBO Max orders adult animated series Clone High, Velma & Fired on Mars
After announcing development of a reboot of the cult favorite series last July, Phil Lord & Chris Miller’s Clone High has been given a two-series order by HBO Max while the streamer has also ordered the Mindy Kaling-starring Velma and Pete Davidson-led Fired on Mars animated projects to series.
“It is a tremendous privilege to build on the 100 year plus legacy of ‘cartoons’ at this company,” Suzanna Makkos, EVP, Original Comedy and Adult Animation, HBO Max, said in a statement. “We can draw a straight line from our hundreds of childhood hours spent watching Bugs outwit Elmer to the current slate of adult animated projects we are building here at HBO Max and we think fans will agree. We are proud to introduce this distinctive group of series from a wide range of diverse creators that will form a first stop destination for animation lovers everywhere.”
Originally created by Lord, Miller and Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town), Clone High followed prominent historical figures who have been cloned and placed in high school, with the most notable being Abraham Lincoln, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and John F. Kennedy, amongst others. The reboot will see Erica Rivinoja, a writer on the original series, serve as showrunner and co-write the pilot alongside Lord and Miller.
The 2002 series was a co-production between Canadian cable network Teletoon and MTV and ran on the former in its entirety between 2002-03 before making its debut on MTV. It was infamously pulled from the music-based network shortly after its debut as its portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi received widespread criticism from India, prompting hundreds to mount a hunger strike. Given it was receiving low ratings and generally mixed reviews, MTV pulled the plug, however in the years since it has gone on to earn critical acclaim and garner a massive cult following.
Lord and Miller have even frequently referenced the series throughout their various films over the years, including multiple jokes in 22 Jump Street being lifted from the show, Will Forte reprising his voice role as Lincoln in The Lego Movie and a film poster featuring Lincoln and JFK on display in Miles Morales’ Times Square entitled “Clone College.”
Velma will explore the origin story of Velma Dinkley, the unsung and underappreciated brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang, offering an original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers. Six-time Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling will voice the titular role and executive produce alongside Charlie Grandy, Howard Klein and Sam Register with Warner Bros. Animation producing.
Created by Nate Sherman and Nick Volkey, Fired on Mars is being described as an existential workplace comedy set on the Martian campus of a modern tech company, with the King of Staten Island star set to voice the central character and will executive produce alongside Carson Mell (Silicon Valley) and Dave Sirus.
In addition to the three series ordered, the streaming platform gave a peek at other animated projects in development, including Sean Solomon’s Hello Paul centered on a neurotic millennial cat whose intense job and freeloading mouse roommate stress him out; Obi Arisukwu and Arthur Harris’ Obi following a 30-year-old-man-child chasing his dream to become an artist while navigating adulthood with his friends, based on Arisukwu’s Instagram comic strip and produced by Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society, Michael Schreiber for Studio71 and David Devries; the Ed Helms-executive-produced Uncanny Valley telling the story of three awkward domestic helper robots who kill their human owners and try to assume their identities; and an adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack’s Cover, an espionage thriller and conspiratorial love letter to the comic book industry, with Benis penning and Mack directing.