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Bluey Studio Announces New Animated Series

The company responsible for bringing Bluey to screens across the globe is Ludo Studio, the award-winning production company from Brisbane, Australia. Founded by Daley Pearson and Charlie Aspinwall, the studio found international acclaim thanks to the Heeler family, but their body of work goes beyond those animated canines.

In addition to their animation department, Ludo has created many live-action shows native to their homeland like Robbie Hood, Content, and Thou Shalt Not Steal, as well as some other cartoons like The Strange Chores. This week, news broke about a new series coming to us from the studio, and while this one has nothing to do with cartoon dogs, it seems to share a few other concepts that may make this a must-watch show for Bluey fans.

From Bluey to Willy

Screen Australia – a federal government agency that supports and invests in Australian film, TV, video games, and web content – has announced a combined grant of $810,000 AUD ($527,000 USD) in story development funding for a number of projects. Among those is an animated series from Ludo Studio (the team behind Bluey) titled Willy.

Thanks to this announcement – which comes days after we learned when Bluey’s Season 3 finale will arrive around the world – we know a pretty decent amount of info about Ludo’s new cartoon. It’s slated to be a 10 episode series, with each episode amounting to 30 minutes of television time. We also know a few of the performers who will be providing their voices to the cast of characters. Pictured above is our first image from the series, which shows us some of the beautiful artwork we can expect from this show.

Here is the official synopsis of what Willy is all about, via Screen Australia:

From Ludo Studio, Mad Ones and Sad Man Studio, Willy is a 10-part coming-of-age fantasy set in 2003 Far-North Queensland, which follows 15-year-old barely-closeted Willy Davis as he struggles to navigate puberty in the farming town of Toee, (mis)guided by a private cast of imaginary friends. As if things weren’t sticky enough, the arrival of hot new neighbour Jack threatens to bust Willy’s vibrant but carefully constructed inner-world wide open, changing the lives of Toee locals forever. 

Willy is created by Samuel Leighton Dore (Showboy) and Bradley Tennant, with a proof-of-concept animation featuring voices from Judith Lucy, Anne Edmonds, Reuben Kaye and Danielle Walker. The series will be also written and directed by Leighton-Dore, produced by Liam Heyen (Erotic Stories) with development producer Chloe Hume, and executive produced by Daley Pearson (The Strange Chores season 2) and Charlie Aspinwall (Bluey season 3).

A full list of content that received approval for funding is available at these links for TV shows and films.

Is Willy going to be like Bluey?

Thematically, Willy and Bluey don’t have a ton of common, and based on the series’ description, it’s likely going to be intended for an older audience. But, one major throughline seems to run through both series.

One thing many adult fans have wondered about is whether or not Bluey would address gender and sexuality. Willy will be addressing those issues right out of the gate, as their main character is just beginning to understand what that means to them. I doubt Bluey will do anything as mature as that anytime soon, but this does offer something a lot of viewers have been hoping to see done in the Ludo style.

What it does have in common with Bluey is the “coming of age” part, showing growth of its characters across those ten episodes. The characters in Bluey are not like The Simpsons, in that they never age or change beyond the needs of a single episode. Sure, Lisa stuck to her vegetarianism and a few other plot lines remained a part of their canon, but Bart has been ten years old since the 1980s.

Bluey’s characters seem to be aging, albeit slowly but it’s happening, and showing character growth as well. Season 3 gave us Muffin’s redemption arc, and some backstory to Judo and her mum, Wendy, that gave us a better view of who they were. That’s not counting the maturation we’ve seen with the Heeler family, and the fact that birthdays seem to show actual aging. So “coming of age” may not be quite as firm as Willy will be, but if Bluey has shown us anything, it’s how well the folks at Ludo can craft stories about growing up.

There’s no air date set for Willy yet as the show is currently in development, and it could be years before a finished product makes it to air. We wish Ludo Studio as much success as they have with Bluey in their latest endeavor, and look forward to watching it when it’s ready to see.

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