In 2018 it was announced that Netflix would begin work on a new animated series based on Mesoamerican culture, and who would be behind the project is Jorge R. Gutierrez, responsible for The Book of Life – 82%, a film produced by Guillermo del Toro that gained public and critical acclaim for its innovative animation, as well as having won an Annie Award for the design of its characters, which featured particular wood textures.
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The animated film set an important guideline in the animation industry that has managed to commercialize globally, as it was the predecessor of Coco – 97% by highlighting on the big screen the theme of the Day of the Dead as a popular celebration in Mexico. Gutiérrez has been constant and faithful in terms of his style and interests, since he has a deep love for pop culture as well as a respect for the culture of his country, which is reflected in his productions.
Since April 2020 (via The Hollywood Reporter) the director has been working on the project from home, and although he assured that it was nothing new to work remotely for his collaborators who are both in Toronto and Winnipeg, it was different to develop the entire project from home due to the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. After more than a year working like this, Netflix has released the first two official images.
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In the statement released this morning by the streaming giant (via Variety), the director described his satisfaction with the result and his excitement at finally being able to present to the public what his characters will look like. The filmmaker emphasized who his inspiration for the protagonist was and how he seeks to highlight ancient Mesoamerican culture and architecture through his production.
Our young heroine is lovingly inspired by the true Mexican warrior women in my life: my mother, my sister, and my eternal muse, my wife. I can’t wait for audiences of all ages around the world to join ‘Maya and the Three’ on their fun, heartfelt and epic quest to defeat the gods of the underworld and save their magical world. For anyone who has loved ‘El Tigre [Las Aventuras de Manny Rivera]’and’ The Book of Life ‘, a spicy sandwich awaits you!
Jorge Gutierrez highlighted that his inspiration for this project was born from his love for fantasy stories, his visits to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico, and Mesoamerican art in general, highlighting that he longed to give an important place to a protagonist who was a princess rebel warrior. In his words, his goal is to make a new legend emerge, since in the stories written in ancient times there are few heroines.
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The director added that his story will be a kind of The Wizard of Oz – 99%, especially since Maya will be accompanied by three male warriors on her journey to this magical adventure that involves great gods and beings from the underworld. In this project is also involved Silvia Olivas, writer of Elena of Avalor, Y Jeff Ranjo, who has been involved in the Disney animation department as coordinator or head of story in productions such as Moana: Un Mar de Aventuras – 96%.
Below, you can see the first official images of the animated series:
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