In a kind of twisted, backward way, the progression of the Angry Birds franchise is something like a direct mirror image of The Simpsons. No, I don't mean that in terms of content (at least, not until Angry Birds does a Monorail episode) but rather cultural ubiquity. The Simpsons, upon debuting as a stand-alone series in 1989, became a massive cultural icon almost overnight. As a result, the merchandising machine became massive. You couldn't turn a corner in 1991 without bumping into some jackass in a Bart Simpson "Don't Have a Cow, Man!" t-shirt. Eventually that merchandising spun off into the video game realm, albeit with products of quality ranging from merely sort of okay to utterly dire.
As for Angry Birds, it began humbly enough as an amusing iOS trifle, but almost overnight transformed into the single most-downloaded franchise on any mobile platform. That insane profitability immediately led to the merchandising machine kicking up once again, resulting in more crappy plush toys, t-shirts, ballcaps, and whatever the crap else getting dumped in nasty looking gift shops and tourist traps the world over. Nowadays, you can't turn a corner without bumping into some unfortunate 12-year-old decked out in Angry Birds gear. And now, completing the reverse of the circle The Simpsons created all those years prior, Angry Birds will be a cartoon series.
Angry Birds developer Rovio revealed the new series to European press over the weekend, citing an in-house animation studio (that the developer purchased last year) as the division dedicated to making Angry Birds a cartoon reality.
While this might sound like great news for those who have oft pondered the myriad mysteries of the Angry Birds game universe (like who it is, for instance, that builds those giant slingshots, since nobody in this world seems to have arms), you may be somewhat disappointed to learn that Rovio's interest is less on filling in the many plot gaps left by the popular mobile games, but rather spinning the various "characters" out into their own zany adventures filled with zaniness, and also probably anger.
"Angry Birds is not just about the game-play," said Rovio's head of animation, Nick Dorra, to the BBC. "It will, in the future, be less and less about the slingshot and more about the characters and their adventures and all different kinds of games in different forms."
So there you have it. Just like The Killing wasn't really about Rosie Larsen's killer, and Mass Effect 3's ending wasn't really about the choices you made over the course of the series (at least, that's what everyone keeps telling me--I don't actually know), Angry Birds isn't really about the slingshot. Or the game-play, even. It's about characters and adventures. And merchandising opportunities. Sweet, bountiful merchandising opportunities.
The Angry Birds cartoon does not currently have a release date, but Rovio plans on producing 52 episodes and releasing them "on all possible platforms," which roughly translates to "whoever will give us money," I'm fairly certain. The BBC story additionally hints that Rovio is likely working on some kind of Angry Birds movie, because of course they are.