In today’s edition of “who asked for this?,” Variety reports that an Earthworm Jim TV series is in the works at Interplay Entertainment, the current owners of the franchise.
Interplay released a 2-minute teaser trailer featuring Earthworm Jim in a tongue-in-cheek “Behind-the-Music” like interview describing his history as a spacefaring adventurer.
The series, titled “Earthworm Jim: Beyond the Groovy,” reportedly follows Earthworm Jim’s adventures fighting evil from planet to planet throughout the galaxy, with each planet featuring a different race of anthropomorphic animal-like aliens. Earthworm Jim’s ultimate goal is to get back to his home planet, you guessed it, Earth.
Interplay is launching efforts to develop new TV series and films with a new division of the company. Interplay is working with Passion Pictures, which has produced various animated short films and commercials, such as two episodes of “Love, Death, and Robots,” and several animated trailers for Apex Legends.
The teaser trailer indicates a slightly more mature tone for Earthworm Jim, with the character referring to a thermostat added to his suit to “keep my ass warm” and that he spent 25 years in rehab. The Earthworm Jim games (and even the shortlived 1990’s animated series on Kids’ WB) stuck relatively close to kid-friendly fare, but the original developers at Shiny Entertainment and creator Doug Tenaple (who also voiced Jim in the games) frequently skewered video game and film tropes, adding characters like “Princess What’s-her-name” as a riff on Princess Peach and more generic damsels in distress.
It’s unclear if creator Doug TenNaple or other members of the original development team are involved in the project. TenNaple has a history of anti-LGBTQ views, speaking out against marriage equality, and has misgendered a transgender journalist who criticized his work in 2017. IGN has reached out to Interplay to ask whether TenNaple has any involvement, but did not immediately recieve a reply.
“I remember loving ‘Earthworm Jim’ as a kid,” said Michael K. Parand, the director of Interplay’s new film and TV division. “And there’s so much potential in this story universe: a galaxy full of animals battling for power. Jim is an earthworm in a universe where Earth is nothing more than a myth. His struggle to find meaning is surreal and comical, but it’s also relatable.”
Earthworm Jim’s star power has faded since his height in the mid-to-late 90’s. While the first two games were successes based on their gameplay and attractive 2D graphics, Earthworm Jim 3D and subsequent releases were critical and commercial failures, with the last game releasing in 1999.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/lowly worm for IGN.