Blazing Saddles is a comedy more than four decades old, which is just one of the reasons it’s odd that the Mel Brooks classic will apparently be reworked for children. According to ComicBook.com, however, the 1974 comedy western is being reimagined as an animated tale called Blazing Samurai meant for a very different audience.
The original movie, which is a satire of classic westerns, featured Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder in a film where Little plays a black sheriff in an all-white town. There’s a lot of material from the movie that simply wouldn’t fly if the movie were made in the present, let alone on a children’s show. But apparently the bones of the comedy are enough to build upon in a very different kind of movie: a children’s samurai movie about a dog.
The Los Angeles film company Align is helping develop an animated film titled Blazing Samurai. The film takes the basic premise of Blazing Saddles and transplants it to the Samurai era. The story follows a dog named Hank who dreams of becoming a Samurai. When he becomes in charge of protecting Kakamucho, he learns that the town is populated entirely by cats.
Saturday’s reminder of Blazing Samurai‘s existence isn’t exactly new. The long list of high-end voice acting talent, including Brooks himself, was announced for the project back in 2015. But the film languished for years, and according to Screen Daily in late 2019 it was finally fully financed.
Much of the promo material appears to be the same in the present day, and Brooks is reportedly still on board along with voice talent like Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais, George Takei, Michelle Yeoh and Djimon Hounsou. Interestingly, the only release date currently listed for the film is in Portugal, on June 10, 2021. ComicBook.com reported Saturday that Mark Koetsier, who was announced as the film’s director way back in 2015, is still on board as well.
Shooting for a summer 2021 release is certainly more feasible than anything over the next few months, especially given the uncertain state of movie theaters and safety amid COVID-19. And despite some skepticism about the concept a children’s version of Blazing Saddles is certainly not the craziest idea we’ve heard in 2020. There would be at least a bit of interest from parents who remember a very different kind of Blazing movie, and the talent attached is certainly notable. If it has Brooks’ stamp of approval, it’s got to be at least as good as Robots, right?