Screenshot from Adventure Time S6E1
(Cartoon Network)

‘Adventure Time’ in Live Action? It Technically Already Happened

Adventure Time may have ended in 2018, but the franchise is still going strong. Its adults-only Max spinoff Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake has been renewed for a second season and Cartoon Network Studios announced on June 12 that it’s developing three new Adventure Time projects, including an animated feature film from Distant Lands showrunner Adam Muto, Rebecca Sugar (Steven Universe), and Patrick McHale (Over the Garden Wall).

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In addition to the new movie, we can also look forward to two kid-oriented Adventure Time animated spinoff series. The first, Adventure Time: Side Quests, follows Finn in his childhood as he dreams of doing the kinds of things his older self will do all the time with his BFF, Jake the Dog. The second, Adventure Time: Heyo BMO, is a preschool series that follows the eponymous video game console as he moves to a new neighborhood and faces new challenges with new friends.

The Adventure Time creative team has always taken a unique approach to animation, and we’re sure it’ll continue to do so in these new titles. But will they ever adapt the series for live-action?

Technically, there’s already a live-action Adventure Time

There’s never been a full-length, live-action episode of Adventure Time, let alone a full-scale adaptation. However, in 2012, Cartoon Network released a two-minute, live-action promotional video for Adventure Time Season 4 that follows an unnamed young boy and his pug as they wait for weeks to receive an “adventure sphere” the boy orders from an ad in an Adventure Time comic. While they wait, he constructs the perfect Finn and Jake cosplays for himself and his pug. Then, when the orb arrives, he inserts it into his cardboard sword and its magic transforms his pug into… a human in a Jake costume?

Costumed Finn and Jake bump fists, then crash through a wall in his bedroom to find the Land of Ooo on the other side. They partake in an epic battle with Princess Bubblegum and her candy citizens against the Ice King and other villains from the series. In the end, the good guys prevail, and a title card declares that Adventure Time will return the following Monday on Cartoon Network.

Given the strangeness of Adventure Time, it doesn’t seem like it would be an easy-to-adapt franchise for live-action, though we’d give it a shot in the right creator’s hands. In the interim, we’ll keep devouring the animated spinoffs and comics, and let this live-action commercial speak for itself.

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Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and editor who has been working in digital and print media since 2010. Their work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture and their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.