In 1990, Ted Turner, Robert Larkin III, and Barbara Pyle debuted an original cartoon series that was part superhero story, part global cautionary tale about a group of kids all over the world who joined together to protect the Earth from ecological disaster. Captain Planet and the Planeteers, originally broadcast on TBS, was as much of an educational program as it was entertainment. Now Sony Pictures is starting to roll on a feature film version of the children’s cartoon in a big way with producers Mark Gordon (2012, The Day After Tomorrow), Don Murphy (The Transformers Trilogy, Real Steel), and Susan Montford (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Real Steel).
Despite the Captain’s mullet-cut and eco-friendly puns, producers are going to have a lot of fairly serious mythology and back story to work with as they bring Captain Planet to the big screen – five years worth, to be exact. The original Captain Planet and the Planeteers ran on TBS from 1990-1992, this was followed by a sequel series which expanded upon the canon of the first called The New Adventures of Captain Planet that aired from 1993 – 1996.
The story begins when the Earth Goddess Gaia is awakened from her resting chamber one day because of drilling, she then sees the devastation that mankind has brought upon the planet. In order to save the world, Gaia sends out five rings, four with the power of a different element and a fifth with the ambiguous power of heart.
The rings went to kids from all over the world: Kwame from Ghana (voiced by Star Trek’s LeVar Burton) received the ring for Earth, Wheeler from Brooklyn got the ring that controls fire, Linka from the Soviet Union harnesses the power of wind, Gi from Asia took the power to control water, and Ma-Ti from Brazil was the fortunate soul that got the power of heart. Combined these five kids became the Planeteers.
If the powers of the elements weren’t enough to stop the eco-terrorists that were destroying the environment, the Planeteers combined the powers of their rings to call upon Captain Planet – a blue-skinned superhero who is made from the Earth itself. While Captain Planet’s exact powers were never specified in the show, he had abilities that ranged from shape-shifting to super strength and flight.
Its uncertain what kind of a tone the producers are going to go for with the big-screen adaptation of the cartoon, but Stuart Snyder was pretty excited when the project was announced. The current president of Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media division said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, “The messages of Captain Planet are even more relevant today. We feel this team can bring the world’s first eco-hero to life in a powerful motion picture that is not only pertinent but entertaining.”
There’s still no word on a screenwriter, director, or any actors, but considering the subject matter, one can only hope Sony has contacted Al Gore for a cameo.