If you're a parent of young children and find it difficult to find appropriate entertainment for your kids, you'll love The Wingfeather Saga. Based on the fantasy book series of the same name by Andrew Peterson, this new animated series just begs to be experienced together as a family.
The Wingfeather Saga, brought to you by the studio behind The Chosen, boasts the distinction of being the #1 crowdfunded family animation project. The show will be available beginning December 2nd for free on the Angel Studios App and website. The app can be downloaded to your device through the App Store or Google Play. Click here to watch on the website.
A fantasy story that is a bit like The Lord of the Rings meets The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wingfeather Saga features the Igiby family: Grandpa Podo (voiced by Pirates of the Caribbean alum, Kevin McNally), Mom Nia (voiced by Jodi Benson), eldest son, Janner (voiced by Alkaio Thiele), middle child, Tink (voiced by Griffin Robert Faulkner), and youngest Leeli (voiced by Romy Fay). They live in the land of Aerwier (pronounced air-wee-ar), where Gnag the Nameless rules over the land and his underlings, the Fangs of Dang, keep the villagers in check.
Episode One, "Leeli and the Dragon Song," introduces the three siblings as normal, rambunctious kids, eager for the annual Dragon Day Festival. But as fantasy stories go, what should be a day of fun, takes an unexpected turn when the Igiby kids get on the wrong side of one of the Fangs. And this is only the beginning of the adventure that will play out in following episodes.
Tink, Janner, and Leeli from "The Wingfeather Saga." © 2022 Angel Studios. All Rights Reserved.
I had a chance to talk to the creators of The Wingfeather Saga, about the power of story and their hopes for the series. Andrew Peterson, the author of the book series, hopes that viewers hearts will be touched by the story. Chris Wall, who previously worked on the popular Veggie Tales series, celebrates that the family in the story not only love each other, "they actually like each other and like to hang out together." This seems contrary to many children's television offerings that put the kids in opposition to parents and authority figures.
While the series is not tagged as "faith-based," the creators are people of faith and the Christian worldview seeps through in the ways the characters interact with one another even as they face fear, danger, and uncertainty.
When asked how they snagged such amazing voice talent, such as Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid) and Henry Ian Cusick (Lost, The Gospel of John), for the series, Wall comments that "when you have a story of a certain quality, the quality has to exist and talent attracts talent. …Andrew has set the table with this wonderful book series. So when we invited people like Jodi, Henry Ian, and Kevin, they saw that and said, 'I want to be a part of that.'" He went on to say that "this isn't just a cartoon, it's a really robust tale!"
Tink and Janner Igibyt from "The Wingfeather Saga." © 2022 Angel Studios. All Rights Reserved.
When asked what their hopes were for the best outcome of the series, Peterson jokingly commented that his wife would want, "action figures at Target!" More seriously, he talked about reading C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia as a kid and how the stories caused a flutter in his heart. That's what he hopes for viewers of the The Wingfeather Saga. Wall hopes that family will engage the story together. "I long for those moments when we can rally around stories of bravery, sacrifice, and redemption that the whole family can gather around."
Check out my whole interview with Peterson and Wall below and tune in for The Wingfeather Saga, Episode One on December 2nd.
About the Author
Sister Hosea Rupprecht is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, a religious community dedicated to evangelization with the media. She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto and an MA in Media Literacy from Webster University in St. Louis.
Sr. Hosea is director of the East Coast office of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, based in Staten Island, NY, and speaks on media literacy and faith to catechists, parents, youth, and young adults. Together with Father Chip Hines, she is the co-host of Searchlight, a Catholic movie review show on Catholic TV. Sr. Hosea is the author of How to Watch Movies with Kids: A Values-Based Strategy, released by Pauline Books & Media.
For the past 15 years, she has facilitated various film dialogues for both children and adults, as well as given presentations on integrating culture, faith and media.