She-Ra creator sets next animated series, Lumberjanes, for HBO Max
On Feb. 21, Stephen Christy, president of development for comic book publisher Boom! Studios, shared a photo that riled up fans of Noelle Stevenson. The She-Ra and the Princesses of Power creator was standing in front of a logo for what looked like some kind of animated project for Lumberjanes, the Eisner-winning comic that helped make a name for Stevenson. Now, the cat is out of the bag as word comes down about an animated Lumberjanes series coming to HBO Max.
EW independently confirmed the show is currently in early development at the streaming platform. "Ah it looks like the news is out!" Stevenson tweeted.
Stevenson is writing and executive producing Lumberjanes. Should the project move forward, it would kick off with an animated special directed by Stevenson that would lead into a series format.
Lumberjanes was created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen, and Stevenson. It tells the story of five Lumberjane Scouts at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types who witness a series of supernatural events, including an old woman transforming into a bear.
The comics quickly amassed a following for its depictions of female friendships and LGBTQ characters. Jo, one of the five campers, is a transgender girl who comes from a two-dad household. In 2015, Lumberjanes won two Eisner Awards for Best New Series and Best Publication for Teens. The title also received multiple GLAAD Media Award nominations in the following years.
In teasing the new animated project to EW, Stevenson said, "I can definitely say that my interest in lifting up and exploring queer stories isn't going anywhere."
Twentieth Century Fox had been planning to turn this property into a feature-length film since 2015. But, since Disney's acquisition of the studio, now rebranded 20th Century Studios, Lumberjanes was one of multiple projects given leeway to set up shop elsewhere.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, which also featured prominent LGBTQ visibility in a kid-friendly animated format, concluded its five-season arc on Netflix this past May. After bringing that kind of representation on She-Ra, Stevenson feels like her "cover's been blown a little bit."
"It's like everybody knows what my angle is," she said. "There's no going back to pretending that these are not the kind of stories that I want to tell. I do think it's interesting because there's still a little bit of nervousness around the idea that this will actually narrow the audience. Especially with what I'm interested in is telling central queer stories, not having queer characters necessarily just being supporting members. I want stories that are built around them."