When it comes to our cherished childhood properties, we generally approach the idea of contemporary adaptation or reboot with hesitance as opposed to excitement. We don’t want to see the television shows, cartoons, or comic strips we loved unconditionally “ruined” for a new generation by a commercial lens or a creative force without the appropriate appreciation for the works in question. At the top of the list for a good sum of Americans born in the latter half of the 20th century is Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, rating more sacred than just about any other piece of childhood scripture. Naturally, living within a pop culture era that has churned out more bastardized reimaginings to old favorites than we can count — notable examples: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, James Wong’s Dragonball: Evolution, Tim Hill’s Alvin and the Chipmunks/Garfield/developing Short Circuit movies (we know it isn’t fair to cast out a movie that’s still in the works, but we’re making an educated guess here) — we approach the news of a developing Peanuts movie with apprehension. But buried deep beneath the cynicism is that blip of hope (cemented inside of us, funnily enough, by the never-give-up attitude of one Charlie Brown) that this movie might actually work. And that hope is abetted by the announcement that Paul Feig will be producing the Fox project.
Those new to Feig fandom will raise an eyebrow at the reports from Deadline. His contemporary image has him connoted with hard R send-up comedies — Bridesmaids, The Heat, and his developing Melissa McCarthy spy flick and Channing Tatum-led gay rom-com. But if you know Feig from his Freaks and Geeks days, then you know precisely why he’s the perfect pick for Schulz’s universe. In essence, a lot of what Feig transmitted to the small screen in his one-season wonder could be likened to the themes of Schulz’s comic strip. His main characters were sad, confused, lonely big dreamers at ceaseless odds with the kooky, convoluted, decidedly bleak world around them. But, just as Schulz did so masterfully with his cartoon, Feig never let his program feel defeatist. As low as Lindsay Weir might have plunged from her once stellar personal and academic stature, latching desperately to her existential crisis that was the plotline of the show, we never felt that she was “gone for good.” We never felt that her brother Sam would be destined forever to a life of being bullied, or that Nick Andopolis would be overwrought with those troubling psychological maladies for all time. Feig always let us feel that there was a chance… a chance that maybe, maybe this time, Lucy wouldn’t pull that damn football away.
Feig tells Deadline, “Growing up, Peanuts was my Star Wars. Charles Schulz’s characters influenced everything in my career, especially Freaks And Geeks. I’m thrilled I finally get to be pals with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.” So with the grounded, imaginative, somber, and overall hopeful ideology of Feig set to instill into this new incarnation of Peanuts, we do indeed look forward to something special.