‘Voltron’ returning to (video) screens

Games, from THQ, will bow this fall

An adaptation of “Voltron” may not hit the bigscreen anytime soon, but plans are under way to relaunch the popular toon from the 1980s as a franchise through other platforms.

After locking down a toy deal with Mattel and finding a home on Nicktoons for a new animated TV show, World Event Prods., which owns the rights to “Voltron,” and licensing reps Classic Media have brokered an exclusive pact with THQ to produce a series of videogames.

First titles are expected to bow this fall and will build on the adventures from the original TV series “Voltron: Defender of the Universe,” in which five robotic lions, piloted by a space explorers, combine to form the giant sword-wielding robot Voltron.

WEP has been working overtime to reboot “Voltron,” including launching “Voltron Force” as an animated series that bows on Nicktoons and other international broadcasters later this year as 26 half-hour episodes.

Timing of the launch of THQ’s first titles will coincide with the rollout of the TV show.

Mattel will create toys based on the classic animated series and “Voltron Force” in 2012.

A live-action feature film is still being developed, with WEP having recently paired up with Kickstart Prods. and Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment to get a tentpole off the ground as toy properties like “Transformers” perform well at the B.O.

But WEP chief Ted Koplar wanted to introduce “Voltron” to a new generation of potential fans sooner and to avoid having the toy line and TV effort languish while waiting for a bigscreen outing to come together.

Launching toys, games and TV properties is the same strategy other pop culture properties like “ThunderCats” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” are now embracing as new films are developed. Launch effort is what essentially turned “Transformers,” “G.I. Joe” and “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” into franchises during the 1980s.

“Voltron” celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009.

In addition to “Voltron,” St. Louis-based WEP also controls the rights to “Denver the Last Dinosaur,” “Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs” and “Vytor the Starfire Champion,” among others.

Classic Media also handles Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo?, the Lone Ranger, Lassie and such newcomers as “Tinga Tinga Tales.”

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