Netflix has now given a series order for a new animated series based on the beloved comic book Asterix & Obelix. The popular streaming service has teamed up with French publisher Hachette's Les Editions Albert René to produce a French-language limited series based on the classic graphic novels, with the new Asterix & Obelix show set to be based on the arc Asterix and the Big Fight, which was first published back in 1964.
Director of the live-action movie Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Alain Chabat, is on board to direct the limited series, which Alain Goldman of Legende Films will produce. Released in 2002, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra was huge critical success, as well as a major box office success in France, becoming its most successful movie in 36 years.
"I'm thrilled that Alain Chabat is coming back to Asterix for the first time since then, and that it's on Netflix," wrote Dominique Bazay, director, original animation at Netflix, in a blog post on Wednesday.
Asterix first debuted in the French magazine Pilote back in 1959, and since then the stout Gaulish warrior has become an icon in French popular culture and remains one of the most recognized comic book characters in the world. Created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, the latter of whom sadly passed away just last year, Asterix comic books have sold more than 370 million volumes worldwide and have spawned a total of 15 animated and live-action movies, as well as an Asterix theme park. The character is a small-statured, large moustachioed warrior who hails from the Roman-occupied land of ancient Gaul in the year 50 BC.
Together with his much larger best friend Obelix and dog Dogmatix, the intrepid trio enjoys adventures that almost always involve outwitting Roman legionnaires. Despite his diminutive size, Asterix is a force to be reckoned with after discovering a magic potion as a child which imbues him with superhuman strength, speed, and agility, all of which come in very handy when harassing Roman guards and the like.
The story from which the animated series will take inspiration, Asterix and the Big Fight, finds the Romans challenging the Gallo-Roman Chief, Cassius Ceramix of Linoleum, to single combat against Vitalstatistix, chief of Asterix's tribe, with the loser forfeiting his entire tribe to the winner. Of course, various antics ensue with Asterix and his pal Obelix at the centre. This particular story has been very loosely adapted before back in the 1989 French-German animated movie, which was directed by Philippe Grimond. However, that adaptation took elements from both Asterix and the Big Fight and Asterix and the Soothsayer.
The new Asterix & Obelix series is just one example of Netflix's investment in French original content, with the platform recently finding success with the likes of the crime drama Lupin, which follows the adventures of Assane Diop (Omar Sy), a man who is inspired by the legendary gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, and the cult comedy Call My Agent!, a serial about the lives and jobs of people working at a talent agency.