Casper the Friendly Ghost is coming back to life as a live-action series at Peacock. Deadline reports the NBCUniversal streaming service is developing Casper as a "horror-adventure" series reimagining the cartoon ghost's origin as a "coming-of-age story that explores what it means to be alive." The series, from writer and executive producer Kai Yu Wu (The Ghost Bride, The CW's The Flash), is said to be similar in tone to Riverdale, The CW's dark teen drama adaptation of the classic Archie comic books.
The Casper reboot is set in high school and sees the friendly ghost entangled in a mystery uncovering dark secrets that have been buried for over 100 years when a new family arrives in the small town of Eternal Falls, according to Deadline.
NBCUniversal's Universal Content Productions (Mr. Robot, USA Network's The Purge, Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, SYFY's Chucky) produces Casper with DreamWorks Animation (Shrek, Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, The Bad Guys). Wu's credits include episodes of Deception, Hannibal, and the upcoming Disney+ series American Born Chinese from Marvel's Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton.
DreamWorks purchased Classic Media in 2012, acquiring the rights to such classic characters as Casper, Felix the Cat, Mr. Magoo, Rocky & Bullwinkle, and Underdog. Universal purchased DreamWorks in 2016.
After starring in Famous Studios' Noveltoon series throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Casper starred in the 1995 theatrical live-action/animated film that starred Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman. Two live-action/animated hybrid straight-to-video sequels followed, 1997's Casper: A Spirited Beginning and 1998's Hilary Duff-starring Casper Meets Wendy, before the Harvey Comics character returned in two computer-animated straight-to-video original movies: Casper's Haunted Christmas in 2000 and Casper's Scare School in 2006. The latter inspired a CG-animated Canadian kids' series of the same name in 2009.
The rebooted Casper will join a lineup of Peacock Original programming that includes the Saved by the Bell revival, the dramatic Fresh Prince reboot Bel-Air, the Tiger King-inspired miniseries Joe vs. Carole, and DreamWorks' animated Madagascar: A Little Wild, Dragons: The Nine Realms, and Trolls: TrollsTopia.