American toy manufacturer Mattel has debuted a fresh look for its Rescue Heroes preschool property through a new web-series. The 2019 relaunch of the franchise sees a new generation of heroes led by Billy Blazes save the day in natural and man-made disasters. The first of a series of animated shorts debuted earlier this week on the Fisher Price YouTube channel. New episodes will be added weekly.
The new series is produced by Mattel Creations in conjunction with crowdsourced studio Tongal. Animation production is handled by Bulgaria’s Chase a Cloud. The voice cast includes Jason Paquette as Billy Blazes, Patrick Pedraza as Carlos Kitbash, Giorgio Cavalli as Forrest Fuego, Peter Kim as Reed Vitals, Wellington Saygbay as Rocky Canyon, Stephanie McKeon Riabko as Sandy O’Shin, Nzinga Blake as Sky Justice, and Katherine Kennard as A.R.I.N.
Originally debuting as a line of action figures in 1997, the brand was poised for animation from the get-go. Canadian animation company Pictor Entertainment (now known as Elliott Animation) produced a pilot the following year that saw distribution on home video. This spurred the production of a full 22-minute series from Nelvana, which ran for 40 episodes between 1999 and 2001. That was followed by a CG-animated direct-to-video Rescue Heroes: The Movie in 2003.
Coinciding with this new Rescue Heroes animation is a new line of toys. Wal-Mart currently has exclusivity on the new figures, but more retailers will be added this summer.