CANCUN, Mexico — Indie producer Tristen Cutler has teamed with Marvel’s “Avengers Assemble” and Nickelodeon’s “Back at the Barnyard” producer Kyle Jolly on a new apocalyptic, Meso-American-themed animated project for kids, “Maya Unstoppable.” The two met with Variety while shopping the series at Los Cabos and MipCancun, and shared an early mock-up teaser trailer.
The project features one of Mexico’s most recognizable voices in Danny Trejo as a lovable dolt who, taunted by his siblings, busts a bad-brained, lost-his-mind Apocalypse out of longtime imprisonment to prove his own greatness.
Instead, Jag ends up eternally cursed, shrunk to a kitten, and snatched up by none other then a 11 year old girl who talks to herself and might know where his champion is. Both are completely unaware she is his champion and might have to become the savior of the universe.
The young Mayan girl is voiced by newcomer Angelica Hale – an “America’s Got Talent” runner-up in 2017, who lacks the focus and physical characteristics he might have hoped for.
The series will be 2D animated, and we get a taste of the style, humor and over-the-top action the project promises in the five-minute teaser. We are introduced to the main players, Maya, Jag and Apocalypse himself, and the frantic nature of their worlds. And while the settings and artwork are inspired by ancient Meso-American, the characters have a recognizable Japanese-influenced look that is entirely intentional.
“One of the things I think is so popular nowadays is anime-style stuff, “Cutler explained to Variety. “They’re not afraid to go and make something that’s spooky, whacky, funny and weird, and throw it all together and still make it beautiful. So that’s something that we try to capture with this, where we throw all the stuff that we love into one pot and then we make this amazing casserole.”
For a project about ancient gods, the producers decided to involve a living animation god in 10-time Emmy nominee and “Phineas and Ferb” creator, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. Marsh consulted on the writing of the pilot and the animation of the trailer, and, according to Cutler and Jolly, is fully on board to take the project from its mock-up trailer into a fully fleshed out production once it begins in earnest.
The series will look to cast a wide net in terms of intended audience, hoping to thrill young kids and their parents alike, with something that will feel fresh and new.
“We believe kids nowadays are underserved with the kind of content that they deserve to actually look at,” Cutler and Jolly agreed. “And they are constantly getting more and more bored as animation thins out and formularizes. So we want to do what one expects. It will be a really cool surprise for people.”