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Clifford The Big Red Dog - What We Know So Far

It's finally happening. Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary tale. After nearly 60 years of anxious hand wringing, fans of "Clifford the Big Red Dog" can finally look forward to a big screen incarnation of their favorite Dog who is Big and Red. The Big Red Dog: Clifford. The movie: "Clifford the Big Red Dog."

For the uninitiated, Clifford is a dog, unusual not only in size but in the peculiar hue of his fur. First introduced in the Small Paper Book "Clifford the Big Red Dog" in 1963, he has since branched out into a Big Multimedia Franchise, composed of dozens of picture books, a pair of television series, educational video games, and an endless parade of personal appearances at Scholastic book fairs.

CGI has finally caught up with the vision of series creator Norman Bridwell, and dogs of all colors and sizes can now be confidently created through digital wizardry. As a result, Clifford and his retinue of hangers-on are set to grace the box office with their presence. Here's what we know so far.

When will Clifford arrive in theaters?

Diehard fans who've been following the development of the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" movie — and they are legion — will be eager to tell you about the hurdles that the production has faced. Back in 2015, ComingSoon reported that the adaptation was slated for release in December of 2016. Here we are, five years older — or 35 in Big Red Dog years — and with precisely zero live-action Clifford the Big Red Dog movies to show for our collective trouble. Then came 2020, and a promised release date that was forcibly reconsidered thanks to theater closures.

Thankfully, the long, cold, Cliffordless winter is finally drawing to a close. If the fates prove gentle and the wheel of history is guided by a steady hand, "Clifford the Big Red Dog" will hit theaters on September 17, 2021. This puts the film on a direct collision course with Clint Eastwood's new drama "Cry Macho," debuting the same day, and gives it only one week to find its footing at the box office before Tom Hardy fights a Big Red Serial Killer in "Venom: Let There Be Carnage."

Who stars in Clifford the Big Red Dog?

So who stars in "Clifford the Big Red Dog?" A Big Long List of people, that's who.

Voicing Clifford is "In Living Color's" own David Alan Grier. Clifford's best friend, the long-suffering and infinitely patient Emily Elizabeth, is played by Darby Camp of Netflix's "The Christmas Chronicles" series. She'll be looked after by her uncle Casey, played by Jack Whitehall from "Bad Education."

Despite his troubling history with animals in pet stores, with parrots having proven especially problematic, John Cleese will appear as Mister Bridwell, the magical old pet shop proprietor who helps Emily to find her new puppy. Kenan Thompson plays Clifford's flabbergasted veterinarian, "Raya and the Last Dragon's" Izaac Wang portrays Emily's neighbor Owen, and Tony Hale from "Veep" and "Arrested Development" plays Peter Tieran, a new character whose motivations have yet to be divulged. There's also no word as to whether or not Emily Elizabeth's landlord will make an appearance, or whether the character will openly celebrate the fact that they are absolutely keeping this particular damage deposit.

What's the story of Clifford the Big Red Dog?

Longtime readers of this article will by now be aware that Clifford is a Big Red Dog. But how did he get so big? And why is he so red?

"Clifford the Big Red Dog" hopes to answer at least one of these questions. The story revolves around Emily Elizabeth, a middle schooler who's having trouble fitting in. Emily soon finds herself bonding with a Small Red Dog at a magical pet shop. When she asks the owner how big the puppy will get, he tells her that it depends on how much she loves the little critter. This sort of arrangement is why emotional kids with magical ant farms don't last long.

Emily loves the Small Red Dog so much that he becomes a Big Red Dog, much to the chagrin of Emily's uncle. It isn't long before this Big Red Dog is getting into all sorts of mischief, causing a ruckus and doing things that dogs do, but in a Bigger, Redder way. Soon, a company specializing in genetics becomes enthralled with the idea of using Clifford's DNA to create all manner of Big Red pets, and Emily and her uncle must take action to stop them, which is good, since you just know there's someone out there who would get really into owning Big Red Ferrets.