If you are one of the millions of people who binged on Nickelodeon as a kid in the 1990s and early 2000s, we’ve got some good news for you. Hey Arnold! is on its way back to the network that made the animated show famous, in the form of a two hour, two part movie. And, it looks like the boarding house stoop won’t play as big of a part in the property as it used to.
Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett posted this key art for the new movie, which looks like it will be called The Jungle Movie, on his Instagram page. It certainly looks like the old gang will be getting out of the neighborhood and having an even crazier adventure than usual this time around.
The Nickelodeon series followed a fourth grader, Arnold, who lived with his loving, eccentric grandparents, Phil and Gertrude, in an inner city boarding house, the Sunset Arms, that they ran in the fictional city of Hillwood. Arnold hung out with his neighborhood buddies, Gerald, who basically served as the leader of the group, and Helga, a girl who delights in bullying Arnold to hide her affection for him. Several episodes revolve around urban legends, told by Gerald, and Arnold either helping boarding house tenants or classmates solve personal problems, or Arnold dealing with his own predicaments. Some episodes even focus on supporting characters on the show. Individual episodes always featured two 11 minute segments.
Hey Arnold! had quite a following, which kept the series on the air from 1996 through 2004, airing 100 episodes total. Critics praised the show; they appreciated the emotional storytelling, character development and the mature themes which weren’t dumbed down for the young audience. Creator Craig Bartlett used inspiration from his own life to populate the show and craft the setting. He used cities like Seattle and Brooklyn, which he had experienced in his own life, and amalgams of people he knew as a child to create the series. That may be why the show’s slice of life quality captured the hearts and minds of kids all over the country.
The series motivated Nickelodeon to produce a feature film adaptation of the show, Hey Arnold!: The Movie. In the 2002 film, Arnold and his friends set out to save their neighborhood when a big business developer tries to tear everything down so he can convert the area into a massive, luxurious, high-rise shopping mall.
With such a strong previous focus on Arnold’s neighborhood, it’ll be interesting to see how the show will make the leap to The Jungle Movie. I’m sure that the characters will remain as lovable as ever. Just remember, every stoop kid needs to get out once in a while.