After years of attempts, DC's Metal Men are officially headed into film. On Friday, it was announced (via The Hollywood Reporter) that an animated film inspired by the DC Comics group is currently in the works at Warner Animation Group. Ron Clements and John Musker, animation legends known for their work on The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and Treasure Planet, are producing and have written the treatment for the film, which they are apparently looking to direct. Celeste Ballard, who most recently worked on Space Jam: A New Legacy, will be writing the script. Craig Peck will executive produce The Metal Men, with Warner Animation Group's Alison Abbate overseeing the project for the studio.
Created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, the Metal Men first debuted in 1962's Showcase #37. The group consists of a number of artificially intelligent robots with special abilities — Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Tin, and Tina — all of whom are created and led by Dr. Will Magnus. The group has appeared in animation and other realms over the years, with Will Magnus being name-dropped on a 2019 episode of Arrow. The Metal Men returned to comics with a twelve-issue solo run in 2019 and 2020.
Most recently, there were reported plans for a live-action film surrounding the Metal Men, with Men in Black and The Addams Family director Barry Sonnenfeld developing the project all the way back in 2012.
"You know, it's funny because I am developing Metal Men with Warner Bros.," Sonnenfeld explained in an interview earlier this year. "We're actively working on a treatment for that. For me, it's not so much a superhero thing as it is world-building. If you look at the work I've done, whether it's The Addams Family, Men in Black, Pushing Daisies, Schmigadoon!, or A Series of Unfortunate Events, it's all about creating a world. An unusual, slightly off-kilter quirky, different kind of world; that's what I love doing. It's not specifically, necessarily superhero, but even in Metal Men, that I am developing, it's going to be a very specific kind of world. It's a real-world because I always like things to be reality-based, but slightly with a tilt to that. It all started with The Addams Family which is both real but slightly pushed."
Former DC Entertainment Chief Diane Nelson hyped the possibility of a Metal Men movie back in 2013, indicating that it was one of the top film projects she hoped to see.
"Sandman is right on top. I think it could be as rich as the Harry Potter universe," Nelson explained at the time. "Fables. Metal Men. Justice League. And yes, I'm going to say it: Aquaman."
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