There are many media that started in printed comics which could argue to have had become an integral part of American pop culture. Aside from the usual suspects from superhero comic books, there are those from newspaper comic strips. One iconic example was “Peanuts,” created by Charles M. Schulz, which was popular enough to get animated TV specials and movies. After Schulz’s death in 2000, all “Peanuts” assets were packaged into a company currently held by Canada’s DHX Media. In 2018 the whole animated “Peanuts” library was acquired by Apple for digital streaming, and a new animated special is being produced for the launch of the Apple TV+ streaming platform.
Yahoo News relates that a trailer for a new “Peanuts” animated special was released this week, an appropriate period given the provided storyline. The title is even “Snoopy in Space,” after the smart yet wacky beagle that is the deuteragonist of the franchise aside from Charlie Brown. The special, as one can surmise, is in honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the lunar mission that put men on the moon. It is no wonder then that the production is a collaborative effort between Apple, Peanuts Worldwide and NASA, because the special has an educational factor for STEM promotion.
An initial plot blurb for “Snoopy in Space” would have it as a multi-part animated miniseries following Snoopy, his bird sidekick Woodstock, his ever-unlucky boy Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts gang going on a field trip to NASA. The adventure-seeking beagle lucks out when NASA officials consider him and Woodstock as ideal candidates for a new space mission. The special will then have two parallel storylines featuring Snoopy and Woodstock undergoing astronaut training, and the Peanuts kids getting shown the ropes of NASA Mission Control in Houston.
The partnership between “Peanuts” and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration goes back to May 1969 when NASA gave the Apollo 10 Command-and-Service Module (CSM) and Lunar Module (LEM) the respective call signs “Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy,” evoking the “Charlie Brown failure” theme due to the mission not actually landing on the moon (that was for Apollo 11 later in July). Charles Schulz even left a “Peanuts” artwork in the Snoopy LEM as a gift for the Apollo 10 astronauts. NASA has since used Snoopy as their astronaut safety mascot, and this animated special is a logical conclusion to that.
Apple TV+ will not be available until this September, at which point the “Snoopy in Space” special will finally premiere on streaming. But the release of the trailer now is a way to connect the theme of the production to the Apollo 11 anniversary, especially with the actual lunar landing commemoration this Saturday, July 20.
Image courtesy of Apple Insider