It may not seem like it, but one of the most successful Canadian film franchises of all time might be better known to your kids than to yourself.
paw patrolThe animated adventure series aimed primarily at preschoolers and toddlers may have started in this country, but it has quickly become a dominant force in children’s entertainment around the world.
And after his first feature film, Paw Patrol: The Moviebecame Canada’s highest-grossing English-language release by a wide margin in 2021, that dominance could increase.
Paw Patrol: The Powerful Movie premieres Friday, turning the pups who once fought crime into superheroes. According to its writer, Bob Barlen, the stakes, as well as a more adult touch, were intentional and in the works even while the finishing touches were still being put on the first film.
“We had the feeling that we really wanted to do something bigger, something better and something more action-packed,” said the Canadian screenwriter in an interview with Breaking:. “And then we thought, ‘How can we raise the stakes on the first one?’ And a superhero movie seemed like the best way to do it.”
That balance, Barlen said, can be difficult: Paw Patrol: The Powerful Movie It was approved in its current form only after it was tested on a group of children to confirm that it was not “too intense.”
But even with that in mind, Barlen said he and Canadian director Cal Brunker aren’t writing expressly or exclusively for children.
“Ultimately, we are the audience we write for,” he said. “And if we love it, we hope other people love it too.”
Having existed for a decade, starting as a television series on Nickelodeon, the franchise has had to update its voices much more than once. One of the newest additions is Ryder, the dogs’ human companion and semi-handler.
This time, the role is played by Alberta-raised animation newcomer Finn Lee-Epp. The 14-year-old, who has never acted as a voice actor, said he still has a hard time recognizing his newfound fame, concentrated as he is on a certain demographic.
“Until the moment I was watching the movie, I still didn’t realize that I’m Ryder,” Lee-Epp told Breaking:.
He described an early experience he had while watching the film, when a mother and her children realized that he was the character they were seeing on screen and excitedly let him know that they were fans.
“The kids were so excited. And that still seems so surreal to me: that people think it’s cool that I’m Ryder, and I don’t even realize I’m Ryder yet.”
Teenager revealed his role to the ‘close circle’
Lee-Epp, whose voice changed almost immediately after production wrapped, making it difficult for him to replicate Ryder’s tone now, had to keep the role a secret until the official cast list was announced.
Even then, he only revealed it to a “close circle” of friends, which has led to his peers still approaching him with the surprise discovery of his acting credit.
It has also led to some light jokes, Lee-Epp said, since the franchise isn’t exactly aimed at high schoolers. But that’s mostly been for fun, and he’s cracked jokes too.
“I mean, I always annoy them with my Ryder voice because it’s funny. They always get so angry when I do it,” he said. “And then they make fun of me too. So it’s really fun.”