Tom Wheeler has become a hot commodity recently. He is set to write a live-action version of the popular children’s series Dora the Explorer, and is primed to take the long-gestating adaptation of MICRONAUTS out of the mothballs. Paramount and Bad Robot have been trying to take the Mego (now owned by Hasbro) toy line/Marvel comic series to the big screen since 2009.
Micronauts were originally a Japanese-based line of toys that came from another, smaller world and disguised themselves as toys while waging war on Earth (in actuality, the toys were tiny to save on production costs and entice Japanese consumers with smaller living and storage spaces). When the toys came to the U.S., Marvel Comics’ Bill Mantlo was struck by inspiration after seeing his son receive one of the action figures for Christmas and immediately began a comic series for them after having Marvel purchase the comic rights.
Throughout their career, the Micronauts fought some of the toughest villains in the Marvel Universe, including Molecule Man, widely considered one of the strongest supervillains in comic-book history. That being said, Paramount may just scrap the idea of tying the toys in with the Marvel versions of the characters and just focus on making a fresh start with just the action figures and building a new backstory from there (it certainly would be cheaper).
There seems to be a continuing trend to develop feature film franchises around previously existing toy brands. Not long ago, The Tracking Board exclusively reported the news that Mattel is developing a Dino Riders film.
Wheeler is working with Disruption and Mary Parent on the Dora the Explorer film, which has high hopes of a feature franchise. In addition, he has sold a pitch for an animated project called Vostok to Paramount and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes.
Wheeler is repped by WME.
Lance Boyle | Staff Writer