(Updated): Fans of Gerry Anderson‘s past projects such as Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Space:1999 have fully backed a pilot for a possible new series based on his concepts – Firestorm.
Over 1400 backers have pledged almost £89,000 to the Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Filmed in Ultramarionation project, enabling the team to move ahead in the next month with pre-production work on an action-packed “minisode” to whet the appetites of TV executives across the globe.
Jamie Anderson, Managing Director of Anderson Entertainment and son of Gerry Anderson, MBE, says, “Fans of iconic Gerry Anderson shows like Space: 1999, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, UFO and Thunderbirds helped us raise the minimum sum needed in less than 96 hours, in return earning themselves special limited edition rewards from props and collector edition DVDs, to set visits and film credits for helping to back us.”
“We’ve now raised nearly double the sum aimed for, smashing through four of our stretch goals, allowing us to make an even longer, more explosive pilot than we originally hoped for. Over 1,400 fans from all over the world have rallied round and allowed us to take my dad’s project forward in an even bigger and better way than we’d planned for, so we’ll now have security drones and extra characters and scenes, including a huge explosion of evil Black Orchid’s island headquarters.”
Firestorm was originally conceived and developed by Gerry Anderson in 2001 under the title ‘Storm Force’. The series was eventually bought by a Japanese production company and developed as an anime series. By the time it reached the screen it was quite different to the original series Gerry Anderson had envisaged, and Gerry’s son Jamie Anderson and the Firestorm team have gone back to those original concepts and are developing them as a true Gerry Anderson production.
By the end of the 22nd century mankind has pulled itself up by its bootstraps. The wars and political disputes that were so common throughout the 21st century are long behind us, and man has finally taken responsibility for his own actions. The Earth in 2200 is very different from the one we worried about in 2014 – environmental, social and humanitarian crises are a thing of the past, and things have been that way for nearly 50 years. But in 2202 a new threat emerges.
Terrorist activity surfaces on several continents. At first the world governments deal with them quietly, without any real public awareness but the activity becomes better and better co-ordinated and more widespread. Soon the Continental senates decide to take action, and they invest vast amounts of resources into forming Storm Force – an organisation designed specifically to investigate and neutralise this new threat.
Supplied with the most advanced technology available Storm Force begin operation Firestorm to bring down the terrorist group known as Black Orchid. But as the 9th division of Storm Force (SF9) begin to make progress, they discover that Black Orchid is only a very small part of the picture, and that they themselves have had to make an impossible choice…
Masterminded by Jamie, the project team includes illustrator Steve Kyte, comic artist Lee Sullivan (who we exclusively revealed was creating a special comics page as a reward for the Kickstarter project), Doctor Who effects creator Mike Tucker, Effects Supervisor Steve Begg, Battlestar Galactica concept artist and designer Eric Chu, Star Trek designer Michael Okuda and respected Hollywood prop maker Ken Palkow (Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission Impossible, Oblivion, X-Men: Days of Future Past), who is creating guns and other props (see video, below).
The minisode will be directed by experienced animation director Mark Woollard, who worked with Gerry from the early 1980s right up until his last project, New Captain Scarlet in 2005 and beyond – working with Gerry to develop his new ideas until Gerry’s Alzheimer’s Disease stopped him working in 2011.
As Jamie notes, thanks to the generosity and support of Gerry Anderson fans the minisode will include not only everything planned for the short taster story but the funding achieved means it will include an impressive explosion – a hallmark of many a Gerry Anderson story – and other extra ingredients.
The pilot episode will be made with a new filming technique called ‘Ultramarionation’, the next stage in evolution from the famous ‘Supermarionation’ technique of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, using a combination of puppetry, practical effects, physical props and sets, and model miniatures.
Additional funding in the final day of the Kickstarter campaign was bolstered by Jamie’s appearance on BBC Breakfast to talk about the project, prompting eleventh hour pledges of support that have generated funding of £88,931.
“Raising so much money from so many people to get this project off the launchpad proves the support from fans from all over the world for film-making methods using practical effects, miniatures and puppets,” Jamie enthuses. “The talented team already assembled, including many from AP Films and Century 21 responsible for producing shows like Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 and Thunderbirds will now be joined by Hollywood prop maker Ken Palkow and Shane Rimmer and Matt Zimmerman, the voices of Scott and Alan Tracy in Thunderbirds.
“It should be really great and we’re all very excited to get started. With a fair wind and a bit more luck, Firestorm will be on your TV screen in the very near future!”