Warner Brothers has announced plans to produce a full-length animated feature film for the next installment of their long-running Scooby-Doo franchise.

What is currently going on behind the scenes?

While the Scooby Doo cartoon, which came out in its first series in 1969, has had various incarnations over the years in animated television films and theatrically released live-action movies, what sets this project apart is that it will be the first animated Scooby Doo film to get a wide-spread theatrical release.

American actor Dax Shepard is set to co-direct the feature, and is also expected to co-write the screenplay with Matt Lieberman.

Tony Cervone, who has worked on previous Warner Brothers animated features in the past, such as the animated Tom and Jerry films, will also co-direct. Reportedly, co-directing has become a common trend for animated features, due to the time it can take to produce a film.

Dan Povenmire, of Phineas and Ferb fame, is also attached to the upcoming project as an executive producer. Charles Roven and Richard Suckle, both of whom worked on the live-action Scooby Doo movies, are also set to serve as producers, along with Allison Abbate. Warner Brothers executive Jesse Ehrman will oversee the project.

The complete film appears to be aiming for a September 21, 2018 release, possibly allowing the movie to serve as a Halloween special of sorts.

Accusations of ‘stunt-casting’

Reportedly, Dax Shepard became involved with the project while working on a film reboot of the late 1970’s CHiPs television series for Warner Brothers.

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According to sources, the company was impressed enough with his work to hire him as a writer on the project, which eventually evolved into a co-directing role.

Some, however, have voiced opinions against Shepard’s role as a co-director, deeming it to be a form of stunt-casting. The Cartoon Brew website, in particular, decried Warner Brothers for having a supposed “strategy to stunt cast Hollywood personalities with no Animation experience” in prominent roles in their animated features, and the act was compared to Nicholas Stoller, who also reportedly did not have experience in directing animation, being hired to co-direct the company’s upcoming Storks animated picture.

According to the website, Warner Brothers was going against their history by doing this and joining the Hollywood formula, citing past iconic directors who’ve worked within the company that had heavy experience with the animation industry, this being Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett, deeming practices to the contrary as “dismissive of the art form and a fundamental failure.”