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Netflix And Mattel Are Developing A Barbie Interactive Animated Special

Director Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" movie starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken is currently in the midst of production and slated for a July 21, 2023 release. While this is far from the first time Barbie will serve as the subject of a feature film, it will mark the first official live-action "Barbie" release, as well as the first major motion picture amidst what have otherwise been exclusively animated, made-for-TV and/or streaming exclusive projects.

Meanwhile, Netflix recently became home to a brand new "He-Man" cartoon series upon the debut of Kevin Smith's "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" in 2021. "He-Man," notably, originated as a Mattel action figure. Mattel is also the company that invented and continues to produce Barbie dolls, and therefore owns the very same "Barbie" IP that Gerwig, Robbie, Gosling et al. are adapting for their upcoming film.

Netflix is already home to some "Barbie" content, like "Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse," which is arguably one of the best cartoons on Netflix. Now, a new deal inked between Mattel and the streaming service will bring plenty more "Barbie" projects to Netflix, including an interactive special in the style made popular by "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" years prior.

Barbie: Epic Road Trip will put viewers in charge of an animated Barbie adventure

According to an article published by The Hollywood Reporter on October 21, Netflix and Mattel officialized a multi-year contract that will make Netflix home to multiple upcoming "Barbie" projects, some of which will remain exclusive to the streaming service. First among these is an animated interactive special titled "Barbie: Epic Road Trip," which prompts viewers to make decisions that affect how it plays out. Viewers will supposedly have the opportunity for more than 100 story-altering decisions, allowing for more than 500 distinct outcomes.

"Barbie: Epic Road Trip" follows Barbie "Malibu" Roberts (America Young), Barbie "Brooklyn" Roberts (Tatiana Varria), Ken (Ritesh Rajan), and Skipper Roberts (Kirsten Day) on a road trip with one another, as its title indicates. This group is in the midst of housing animals in need of adoption on their way to auditioning to sing back-up for a famous popstar in New York.

"We've been consistently expanding the presence of Barbie on the ever-growing streaming landscape through episodic series, long-form movies and specials, digital gaming, YouTube short-form content, and now, our first-ever interactive special," said senior VP and general manager of Mattel Television Fred Soulie.

Netflix subscribers can help guide Barbie's latest road trip adventure when "Barbie: Epic Road Trip" premieres to the streaming service on October 25.