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What happened at Netflix? Animation department shutdown explained as show cancelation controversy intensifies 

Netflix office (Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Netflix office (Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Since the subscribers' fiasco, Netflix has found itself in more trouble. This time, the backlash could be severe, to say the least.

According to The Wrap, Phil Rynda, Netflix’s Director of Creative Leadership and Development for Original Animation, was let go from the company. This unprecedented move was followed by an even harsher one, in which the animation department was shut down.

What's an even greater cause of concern is that popular animated series are not being renewed and "high-profile" projects (case in point: Jeff Smith's Bone) are being "unceremoniously canceled."

Naturally, this has led to an outburst among fans who feel passionately about the art of animation and beyond.

Late night tweet after hearing about Netflix,I just feel terrible for the Netflix animation department and all the original animated content that was in production. So many good original animated shows these past few years, I just don’t understand what’s goin on over there. :(
It’s sad to hear stories about what’s happening in Netflix animation. Kid Cosmic, Centaurworld, She-Ra, City of Ghosts. So many great shows the likes of which we probably won’t see again. Can’t help feeling that Apple has a healthier model, create fewer shows, but make them great

The downfall of Netflix' Animation department

The firing of Phil Rynda was most probably an unescapable end to an extremely disarrayed period of time for Netflix Animation, specifically for its Kids and Family section.

Some netflix folk had absolutely amazing talks at the animation festivals I attended, the prospects and projects they showed had me SO excited. To hear that's gone now is absolutely devastating

This particular section of Netflix Animation witnessed a blast of creativity and talent to give way to mixed messages, corporate pressure, and intense denunciations of “staged data.”

Netflix Animation, particularly when it comes to the Kids and Family department, was considered a golden utopia for a long period of time.

Critically acclaimed and highly popular creators and exceptional young talents were persuaded by the glittery promises of robust production budgets and unconventional creative freedom, highly supported by the promotional and financial strength of the empire of Netflix.

@RiseFallNickBck @MrWysHouse Netflix knows how to treat people in the Animation field, huh? Still bummed about Bone!
@RiseFallNickBck Considering Netflix's fetish for completely unnecessary live-action anime adaptions, I think that they might just hate animation as a medium.

Animation royalty like Elizabeth Ito, Craig McCracken, and Jorge Gutierrez rushed to begin working on their dream projects, while the worldwide popular streaming platform also backed young artists and cultivated productive licensing concurrences, mostly with DreamWorks Animation, including Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and its eclectic spinoffs such as Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts and many others.


@CNschedules Understand that Animation IS FOR EVERYONE NOT KIDS, honestly. I’d hate to be an animator that is working on something their kids could enjoy at any age even as an adult only for Netflix executives to barge in and say “Boss baby is our new standard for animated content.”
I hate this statement for so many reasons. I hate the Boss Baby but that's not the main reason why I hate this. I hate this because Netflix wants animation to be one specific thing. Animation can be action, adventure, drama, horror, and more twitter.com/GalacticMompir…

By the looks of the current scenario in Netflix's animation section, it is quite evident that the focus of Netflix has shifted prominently.

According to The Wrap, a producer claimed that Phil Rynda, who served several significant creative roles on remarkable animated series such as Adventure Time and Gravity Falls, told the creators of Netflix:

"We want to be the home of everybody’s favorite show."

When that particular producer left a few years later, a “new thesis statement” had arrived as suggested by Netflix’s Co-CEO, Reed Hastings, which said:

"We want to make what our audience wants to see."

When it comes to mission statements, these two ideas are widely different.


So Netflix are losing money and to combat this they're... cracking down on password sharing and deciding to renew shows little care about anymore, while leaving others that had people interested in the dust. Oh and they also hate animation. Not surprised people are unsubbing.

Proving this “new thesis statement” true, many heavyweight animated projects in the Kids and Family section have been straightaway canceled - including Bone, as confirmed by the streaming platform itself.

The list also includes an adaptation of The Twits by Roald Dahl, and Toil and Trouble by Lauren Faust.

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Edited by Rhythm Bhatia
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