Netflix to revive Slavic comic book heroes

Authored by Polish Janusz Christa, the comic book series that mixes history and fantasy tropes in order to tell the story of two Slavic warriors Kajko and Kokosz will soon be revived and cinematised by Netflix.

It was in 2018 that the first snippets of information on the animated movie about the small but clever, brave and very resourceful warrior Kajko and his oafish and gut-driven sidekick Kokosz. Warsaw studio EGo FILM has been engaged in the works ever since, wirtualnemedia.pl portal reported, adding that the studio signed a contract with the Janusz Christa “Kreska” Foundation, which promotes the man’s art.

The animated movie received a PLN 390,000 (EUR 88,000) donation from the Polish Film Institute (PISF). The works on the pilot episode began at the end of May 2019.

Fans of the two likeable warriors will not have to wait long before they rally up for yet another adventure. Netflix announced it would be airing the series as early as 2021.

The series revisits the story of Kajko and Kokosz and their endearing dragon hatchling Miluś, picturing their ups and downs in the fight against their antagonists – the military knight order of Knaveknights (Zbójcerze), who closely resemble the Teutonic Knights. The trio of friends serve castle governor Mirmił defending their settlement against all evil. They have to repel the sallies and treacherous manoeuvres of the head of the Knaveknights, the Bloody Hegemon whose sole goal is to capture their home settlement and take vengeance on the warriors. The overarching motif of the series is going to be the virtue of friendship.

Michał Śledziu Śledziński, Tomasz Leśniak, Marcin Wasilewski (GS Animation), Łukasz Kacprowicz (GS Animation), Robert Jaszczurowski (GS Animation), Marta Stróżycka and Aliaksandr Sasha Kanavalau are the filmmakers responsible for the series, aided by screenwriters Maciej Kur and Rafał Skarżycki.

The author of the characters is Sławomir Kiełbus who was appointed by Janusz Christa himself to be his successor.

“This choice was obvious to us. ‘Kajko and Kokosz’ is a very valuable element of the Polish culture and a national phenomenon,” Łukasz Kłuskiewicz, who is responsible for acquiring content in Central Europe for Netflix, said, adding that “entire generations were raised on the comic book adventures of the brave warriors. That is why we have been working on the series with pep and vinegar. We’re happy that the iconic characters will be reanimated in series and gain an all the more expressiveness. We are sure through Netflix’s doing, global audiences will fall in love with Kajko and Kokosz.”

The screenplay consultants of the series are Mike de Seve and New York-based Baboon Animation studio. EGoFILM under the management of showrunner and executive producer Ewelina Gordziejuk is responsible for the production of the series.

She said that she had decided to produce Kajko and Kokosz “to pay tribute to Janusz Christa.” “A huge share of Polish literature, including the Master [Janusz Christa’s] comic books, deserves to be cinematised and this is not only due to the huge, ever-growing audience and ranks of fans but also because of the filming potential of the story and the unique artistic dimension. These are precisely the exceptional qualities of ‘Kajko and Kokosz’ that convinced me it is worth facing up to an undertaking so large and important for our culture,” said Ms Gordziejuk.

“Kajko and Kokosz” debuted in Poland in 1972 and was published primarily until 1992. The story is light-hearted, written in a tongue-in-cheek manner and contains light satirical elements, usually puns concerning the reality of living in Communist-ruled Poland with characters sometimes mentioning labour unions, bureaucracy, commodity shortages, and similar themes.

The comic book, representative of the time in which it was originally popularised, is also available in Esperanto.

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