Move over MCU - there’s a new cinematic universe in town and this one is heading straight for toybox nostalgia with 1990’s purple hit Barney The Dinosaur due to get his own movie with Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya on producing duty.
If you grew up anytime within the past three decades, then odds are you’re already familiar with Barney, the happy, smiley, giant purple T-Rex who had his own TV show, Barney & Friends, which aired between 1992 and 2010.
Cut to 2023 and with Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie movie already set to be one of the most talked-about movies of the year, toymaker Mattel is already cueing up other familiar parts of its intellectual property for new cinematic outings, from Uno to Hot Wheels.
However, it’s Barney that appears to be next on Mattel Films’ play schedule so with that in mind, here’s everything we know about Daniel Kaluuya’s Barney The Dinosaur reboot so far.
Barney The Dinosaur reboot release date
Mattel Films’ retelling of Barney The Dinosaur is still in the early stages of development and as such, we don’t currently have any idea of when we can expect it to hit screens.
That said, the project appears to be in active pre-production so we’ll surely get more concrete details soon enough.
What is the plot of the Barney The Dinosaur reboot?
Plot-wise, it’s still a little too early to tell what type of movie Mattel Films’ hopes to make for its giant talking dinosaur. Despite this, early interviews from key players involved with the feature, alongside early studio announcements, provide a flavour of the type of thing we can expect.
As it turns out, it looks like the new and improved Barney The Dinosaur won’t just be an adventure for kids, with creators promising a darker and more mature tone that will also appeal to the section of viewers who grew up with the character and are now in adulthood.
Nope actor Kaluuya was first revealed to be attached to the project back in 2019. As per Variety, Mattel Films’ confirmed a live-action movie adaptation was in development with Kaluuya attached as an executive producer.
Meanwhile, a new, animated retooling of the character is also scheduled for the small screen in 2024 - with this version offering more of Barney’s traditional, kid-friendly format. It’s the film version we’re focusing on here though and as far as this is concerned, Kaluuya and Mattel Films’ appear determined to mix things up.
“Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood,” said Kaluuya ominously, back when the news first broke. “We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.”
Meanwhile, Robert Brenner - Mattel Films’ executive vice president and their own version of Marvel’s Kevin Feige - added to this information by saying: “Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to ‘Barney’ that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations.
"The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids.”
After that, news of the project went quite quiet until July 2023 when Brenner shed some more light on the movie’s tone during an interview with The New Yorker.
“We’re leaning into the millennial angst of the property rather than fine-tuning this for kids. It’s really a play for adults,” he revealed. “Not that it’s R-rated, but it’ll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being thirtysomething, growing up with Barney – just the level of disenchantment within the generation.”
Elsewhere, Brenner teased that the film would be “surrealistic” and similar in style to something produced by A24, a studio that primarily specialises in horrors, thrillers and chin-stroke-y films. “It would be so daring of us, and really underscore that we’re here to make art,” he added.
Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz has since said that the film will not be "odd", saying in a recent interview with Semafor: "It's too early to be specific, but I can tell you we are taking a fresh approach that will be fun, entertaining and culturally oriented. It will not be an odd movie."
Who is starring in the Barney The Dinosaur reboot?
It’s currently too early to know who might star in Mattel Films' Barney The Dinosaur reboot but we do know that Lee Sun Jin, creator of Netflix drama series Beef, is currently writing the project.
Barney was originally created by American author Sheryl Leach in the 1980s and the character was voiced by Bob West from 1992 until 2000 and then by Dean Wendt from 2001 to 2010. It’s unclear if any of these creatives will return to the role for the new film.
Meanwhile, the same can be said for those who were actually inside the now-iconic Barney suit, especially considering one such performer now has an entirely different and unexpectedly raunchy profession.
Likewise, it is unclear whether Kaluuya will actually star in the movie or stay behind the scenes.
Is there a trailer for the Barney the Dinosaur remake?
There’s no trailer available for Mattel Films’ Barney The Dinosaur remake just yet but as soon as it drops, you’ll find it here.
The Barney The Dinosaur movie reboot is coming soon.