Fantasy series are as popular as they’ve ever been on television, but as producer and writer Chris Wall sees it, few are viewable by the entire family.
In fact, many of them—like Game of Thrones—are so vulgar they’d likely make a sailor blush.
Wall, though, hopes to help change that perception.
He is the executive producer and showrunner of a new family-friendly animated fantasy series, The Wingfeather Saga, which is based on a bestselling children’s book series by Christian singer Andrew Peterson and will be released by Angel Studios, the same studio that produced The Chosen.
Although the series is crowdfunded, Angel Studios had no trouble raising the money for the first season, pulling in $5 million from about 8,000 investors in one month. In fact, it broke the record previously held by The Chosen for fasted crowdfunded TV series to reach $1 million. The Wingfeather Saga passed that mark in 48 hours.
Season 1 is in production.
“There’s a scarcity of this kind of material,” said Wall, a veteran of the family-friendly genre with experience as a producer of Veggietales and The Slugs & Bugs Show.
The Wingfeather Saga tells the story of a family who is living in a fantasy world and must flee evil creatures known as “Fangs of Dang.” The family searches for their place in the world while opposing a mysterious ruler, Gnag the Nameless.
Angel Studios describes the story as having the wit of The Princess Bride, the epic world of The Lord of the Rings and the “deep magic” of the Narnia series.
The series won’t be overtly Christian but will have a Christian worldview, Wall said. It’s important, he said, for viewers to understand what they are getting.
“If we position the series as Christian fantasy, we will disappoint a number of viewers—because there are dragons, there are legends and fantasy. That could be problematic for some families,” he said. “But if we present a secular fantasy, the secular viewer will go, ‘Wait a minute, I can tell there’s a there’s a hand at work, like in Narnia.’ And so we’re somewhere between that.”
The world of The Wingfeather Saga, Wall said, is similar to those of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings.
“Why would you call Lord of the Rings a Christian fantasy series? [It’s] because Tolkien was a believer, yes, and because the material speaks of Christian values: self-sacrifice, the values of family, the triumph of good over evil, the importance of sacrificial love. And what Wingfeather shares is exactly that. There is value in family and there’s an importance in our identity—who we are, who the Creator made us to be. And while it’s not overt, it is clearly a subversive play, where it’s understood there’s a Christian worldview at work here. The consequences of the choices characters make fall within what we understand.”
For the latest updates on Wingfeather release dates and how to watch, visit The Wingfeather Saga Web site.