Wendell & Wild: Henry Selick’s Stop-Motion Comeback Is About Two Demons And An ‘Afro-Punk Princess’ – Exclusive Image

Wendell & Wild

by Ben Travis |
Updated on

Among the most legendary names in stop-motion animation, you’ll find Henry Selick – the director of Coraline, James And The Giant Peach, and all-time classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. For decades now, he’s been a master of his craft – and he’s about to return with a brand new feature film titled Wendell & Wild, his first since Coraline traumatised kids everywhere back in 2009. Its titular duo are a pair of demon brothers who attempt to escape the underworld with the help of a rebellious 13-year-old girl, and Selick has assembled an incredible team to realise his vision – most notably, Wendell and Wild themselves are voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, respectively, with Peele also coming aboard as co-writer.

The film’s origins are in “an old story of mine inspired by my sons when they were little,” Selick tells Empire in the upcoming newAvatar: The Way Of Waterissue. “I thought of them as demonic at times, so I did a little drawing of them as demons and it just was Wendell and Wild.”

The demonic duo aren’t the only players here – their bid to flee the underworld requires the help of Kat, a young Black girl voiced by Lyric Ross who shakes up the world of the “fancy girls’ school” she’s attending. “She transforms herself behind closed doors into this Afro-punk princess,” Selick explains. “When you see her with her old boombox blasting this X-Ray Spex song with Poly Styrene singing, it makes my heart soar.” That music is crucial not just to Kat, but her dad too – all nodding to the long legacy of Afro-punk music. “A lot of the very first punk bands of the ‘70s were Black. There’s Death, [Pure] Hell, Bad Brains. Then there’s also this newer generation of Afro-punk,” says Selick. “[Kat’s father] was a first-gen fan and she’s a new-gen fan.” Strap in – with Wendell & Wild, Selick, Peele and Key are about to raise a little hell.

Empire's Avatar: The Way Of Water Cover

Read Empire’s full Wendell & Wild story in the upcoming Avatar: The Way Of Water issue, on sale Thursday 7 July and available to pre-order online here. Wendell & Wild comes to Netflix this autumn.

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