A millennial staple is getting a taste of reboot culture.
Admittedly, there are very few reboot announcements that actually pique my interest. Studios these days seem to primarily rely on the power of fandom to sustain themselves, banking heavily on remake culture. This tactic can feel rather uninspired. But at the same time, I still buy my ticket to watch remakes depending on certain factors, like cast or director. This isn’t the fault of the fans either, even if certain fandoms as a whole can get a little intense. Ultimately, we love films and shows because they speak to us personally, and the potential to rediscover those experiences or even prolong a sense of nostalgia in a remake is not lost on me.
All this to say that I’m obviously a human being with nostalgic tendencies like anybody else, so forgive me a little indulgence in the fact that Kim Possible is coming back to the small screen in a big way.
More than a decade after the Emmy-nominated Disney Channel animated series Kim Possible went off the air, it has been announced that a rebooted live-action movie version is coming to the network. According to Variety, casting has begun on the project, but that’s about all we know so far.
For the uninitiated, Kim Possible is the eponymous heroine who saves the world from evil as we know it, which includes the escapades of Dr. Drakken and Shego, Kim’s primary nemeses. Kim is helped along by her sidekick Ron Stoppable, his naked mole rat Rufus, and 10-year-old wunderkind Wade, who makes a slew of gadgets for their crime-fighting gang, Team Possible. Also a popular high schooler and advocate for crop tops and cargo pants, Kim became a role model to young girls for her tenacity and humbleness, and popularized several catchphrases. The series was so popular that it spawned two Disney Channel Original Movies — Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time and Kim Possible: So the Drama.
“Mark and Bob created an enduring character and kids all over the world found a friend in her, an average girl who just happens to spend her off-school hours thwarting evil villains,” said Adam Bonnett, who is the executive vice president of original programming at Disney Channels Worldwide.
“Although Kim Possible ‘can do anything,’ kids and tweens found that this animated redhead was just like them.”
To be fair, the line between genuine excitement for a new Kim Possible movie and pure nostalgia is tough to draw. Only kids get the real value from a film like this, which is not to say it’s any less important; arguably, it’s more so because it has to send the right message. Kim Possible was a great formative show that discussed themes of girl power and feminism (as much as it could in the mid-2000s on the freaking Disney Channel) in the burgeoning Internet age. Kim embodied the perfect mix of living that high-flying fantasy life of being a superhero and still managing to be a regular kid who did well in school, was popular, and still kept a good head on her shoulders. There’s a reason this particular reboot immediately speaks to me, and it’s definitely because Kim embodies the best of young women everywhere without apologizing for it. That same timeliness and social consciousness must be replicated in the reboot.
But I also frankly don’t know how Disney Channel Original Movies work anymore. The last one I watched was Zapped! just because it was on Netflix, and it wasn’t good, to put it mildly. Now that there’s been some time for the news of a new take on Kim Possible to sink in, the production could run into some issues. It still might have been a better approach to make a rebooted Kim Possible television show instead of a movie, because the episodic formula just worked so well for the character. Disney is about due for a new high school sleuthing show now that Zendaya is done with KC Undercover, after all. And then there’s the issue of having a real naked mole rat run around on set and making people pretend it’s as cute as an animated Rufus.
Regardless, the internet lit up with speculations on who could play Kim, and they’re all hilariously ambitious. Names like Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner have been thrown into the mix, which is cool, but there’s no way she’d actually do it. It’s doubtful that Sophie Cookson or Sofia Boutella would be down to play Kim and Shego, either. Of course, the glory of fan casts is the possibility of them rather than the actual outcome (unless you get too invested). It’s also a great way to gauge fan interest outside of the Disney Channel’s typical demographic.
Despite the fanservice, the idea that kids will get to see a version of Kim Possible in all its tech-y glory that rings truer to their generation wouldn’t hurt, especially since the internet has become such an integral part of everyone’s lives. In an era when crass YouTubers get roles in films and television, at times on the Disney Channel itself (only to lose them due to even more offensive behavior), the insistent positivity of the Kim Possible brand is far more appealing and worth our time. The fact that original writers Mark McCorkle and Robert Schooley will be directly involved in the reboot could reassure fans that the spirit of Kim Possible won’t be messed with either, so anyone looking to tune in for a large dose of nostalgia needn’t worry that much.
It’s true that if this were any other Disney Channel movie, it would’ve been much easier to gloss over. But Kim Possible was such a cultural icon for kids and it’s important to get the new film right. The reboot is definitely not for me as a 25 year old anymore, but that’s okay too. After separating some personal fandom investment in the show, it’s just great that Kim’s adventures are bound to resume, and more young people get to come along for the ride.