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Little engines can do big things!
~ The film's tagline


Thomas and the Magic Railroad is an upcoming 2020 British-American fantasy comedy film written by Josh Klausner, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi and David Stoten, produced by Tracy Blagdon and Julia Pistor, and directed by Dianna Basso and Shane Acker. The film stars Alec Baldwin reprising his role as Mr. Conductor, alongside Ciarán Hinds, Zendaya, Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Channing Tatum, Tom Holland, Tom Hanks, Ringo Starr, Jim Carrey, and Jim Broadbent in supporting roles. Returning voice talents from TTTE are John Hasler and Joseph May as Thomas in the UK and US, Matt Wilkinson, Kerry Shale, Keith Wickham, Rob Rackstraw, Bob Golding, Mark Moraghan, William Hope, Teresa Gallagher, Steven Kynman, Yvonne Grundy, Colin McFarlane, and David Bedella, as well as Britt Allcroft reprising her role as Lady. The film is based on the British children's book series The Railway Series by The Rev. W. Awdry, its televised adaptation Thomas & Friends, and the American television series Shining Time Station by Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow. It is dedicated to former Thomas narrator Michael Angelis, original Burnett Stone actor Peter Fonda, and former P.T. Boomer actor Doug Lennox.

The film received mixed reviews from critics; while the musical score, Basso and Acker's direction, the voice cast, and performances of Baldwin and Carrey were praised, criticisms were aimed at Klausner, McRobb, Viscardi and Stoten's story, the CGI effects, and the deviations from the original 2000 release. A sequel is in development.

Synopsis

The film tells the story of Lily Stone, the granddaughter of the caretaker of an enchanted steam engine who is lacking an appropriate supply of coal, and Mr. Conductor of Shining Time Station, whose provisions of magical gold dust are at a critical low. To ameliorate these problems, Lily and Mr. Conductor enlist the help of Thomas, who confronts the ruthless and devious Diesel 10 and P.T. Boomer who plan to get rid of the railway's steam engines along the way.

Plot

P.T. Boomer is jealous of the relationship that Burnett Stone had with Tasha and bullied Burnett into allowing him to take Lady for a run. After crashing her, he left Shining Time while Burnett spent years trying to restore her, to no avail.

Meanwhile, Sir Topham Hatt and Lady Hatt are on their holiday; Topham leaves Mr. Conductor, the owner of Shining Time Station, in charge of the engines. Gordon complains to Thomas, when Diesel 10 races by, scaring both engines. Meanwhile, in Shining Time, Mr. Conductor is suffering a crisis; his supply of magic gold dust is alarmingly low and not enough for him to travel back from Sodor. At Tidmouth Sheds, Thomas is talking to James, when Diesel 10 arrives and announces his plan to rid Sodor of steam engines by finding and destroying Lady, the lost engine, the key to steam engines living in peace. Thomas leaves to collect Mr. Conductor. Lady is hidden in a workshop on Muffle Mountain after Diesel 10's previous attempt to destroy her. Lady is unable to steam despite trying all of the coals in Indian Valley. Meanwhile, Boomer plots to destroy Lady and finds Burnett's location. That night, Diesel 10 approaches the shed where the steam engines are sleeping to destroy the side of it with his claw. Mr. Conductor tries to keep them in order, but the gold dust fails and he scares Diesel 10 away by threatening to pour a bag of sugar in his fuel tanks.

Burnett's granddaughter, Lily Stone, is visiting her grandfather. She meets a dog called Mutt at the railway station. At the sheds, the steam engines express their concerns about diesels to Mr. Conductor, unaware that Diesel 10's oafish diesel minions Splatter and Dodge are spying on them. Lily meets Mr. Conductor's cousin Junior and Stacy Jones before she is taken to Burnett's house. Mr. Conductor calls Junior to help him with his gold dust crisis. While talking at Knapford that night, Percy and Thomas conclude there is a secret railway between Sodor and Shining Time. After spying on their conversation and hearing everything, Diesel 10 goes to the Ironworks to tell Diesel, Splatter and Dodge of his plans to destroy Lady. Observing this, Toby distracts them by ringing his bell, causing Diesel 10 to knock one of the supports out from the shed with his claw, which collapses the roof on top of the diesels. The next morning, Thomas collects six coal trucks for Henry, and one of them accidentally rolls through the buffers that lead to the secret railway. Later that day, Mr. Conductor is ambushed by Diesel 10, who scoops him up with his claw and threatens to drop Mr. Conductor off a viaduct unless he divulges the location of the buffers. Before Diesel 10 can drop him, Mr. Conductor cuts one of the claw's fuel hoses with a pair of tin snips, and is thrown free. He lands at the Sodor windmill, where he finds a clue to the source of the gold dust.

Lily meets Patch, who takes her to Shining Time, where she meets Junior again. Junior takes her through the Magic Railroad to Sodor, where they meet Thomas. Thomas is not happy to see Junior, but agrees to help him and Lily and takes them to the Windmill, where they find Mr. Conductor. Junior climbs onto one of the sails and is thrown onto Diesel 10's roof. Later that night, Percy finds that Splatter and Dodge have found the Sodor entrance to the Magic Railroad and goes to warn Thomas. Thomas agrees to take Lily home. While traveling through the Magic Railroad, Thomas discovers the missing coal truck, which he collects. Lily goes to find Burnett, leaving Thomas stranded. Boomer ignites an explosive device, which makes Thomas roll down the mountain and he re-enters the Magic Railroad through another secret portal, along with Boomer behind him.

Lily finds Burnett in his workshop and he explains the problem getting Lady to steam. Lily suggests using a special coal from Sodor. Patch retrieves the truck and Burnett uses the coal to fire Lady. Now steaming, Lady takes Burnett, Lily, Patch and Mutt along the Magic Railroad. Thomas arrives and the two engines return from Misty Island, Australia, and China to Sodor, where they meet Mr. Conductor and Junior. Diesel 10 and Boomer arrive and chase Lady and Burnett, but Thomas races between them, heading towards the viaduct. Thomas and Lady both make it safely across, but the viaduct collapses under Diesel 10's weight, and he with Boomer fall and land onto a barge filled with sludge.

As Thomas, Burnett, Lady, James and Percy return to the grotto, just as Sir Topham Hatt arrives back from his holiday. Lily combines water from a wishing well and shavings from the Magic Railroad to make more gold dust. Junior decides to go to work on Sodor and Mr. Conductor gives him his conductor's hat before sending him to another railway. Lily, Burnett, Patch and Mutt return to Shining Time, and Lady returns to the Magic Railroad while Thomas travels home into the sunset.

Cast

  • Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor III
    A 20-centimetre tall conductor at Shining Time Station.
    • Tom Hanks as Mr. Conductor II
      • Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor I
  • Ciarán Hinds as Burnett Stone
    Lily's grandfather.
    • Josh Hutcherson as Young Burnett Stone
  • Zendaya as Lily Stone
    Burnett's tomboyish teenage granddaughter.
  • Robert Downey Jr. as Mr. Percival
    The current manager of the Skarloey Railway.
  • Antonio Banderas as Lord Callan
    The lord of Callan Castle and its surrounding land, including the infamous Black Loch. He lives at Callan Castle, where he often holds special events and celebrations.
  • Michael Sheen as Fergus Duncan
    The General Manager of the Arlesdale Railway.
  • Channing Tatum as Junior
    Mr. Conductor's cousin.
  • Tom Holland as Patch
    A young teenager.
  • Jim Carrey as P.T. Boomer
    A ruthless biker and former stunt performer who is Burnett's rival.
  • AnnaSophia Robb as Tasha Stone
    Burnett Stone's late wife.
  • Jim Broadbent as Sir Topham Hatt
    The manager of the North Western Railway and a father figure to his engines.

Additionally, Elizabeth Banks co-stars as Stacy Jones, the manager of Shining Time Station. Adam Beach portrays Billy Twofeathers, the Native American resident railroad engineer on the Indian Valley Railroad. Julie Walters co-stars as Dowager Hatt, the elderly mother of Topham. David Warner appears as Sir Robert Norramby, the Earl of Sodor. Will Forte appears as Jem Cole, the operator of Trevor who has his own yard at Killaban. Lake Bell has a minor role as Mrs. Stone, the mother of Lily.

Original Thomas and the Magic Railroad cast members Mara Wilson, Michael E. Rodgers, Lori Hallier, Robert Tinkler, and Shining Time Station cast members Didi Conn, Tom Jackson, and Jonathan Freeman are cast in undisclosed roles, with Cody McMains, Peter Fonda, and Russell Means appearing through archival footage.

Sailor John, Allicia Botti, the Thin Clergyman, Lady Hatt, Stephen Hatt, Bridget Hatt, as well as the "Son" and the "Father" from the unplanned The Adventures of Thomas were meant to appear, but are put in development for the film's sequel.

Voices

UK

  • John Hasler as Thomas
  • Mark Moraghan as Edward
  • Keith Wickham as Henry, Gordon, Stafford, Salty, Den, Norman and Harold
  • Rob Rackstraw as James, Toby, Donald, Dodge and Flynn
  • Nigel Pilkington as Percy
  • Steven Kynman as Duck, Charlie, Porter, Dart and Paxton
  • Joe Mills as Douglas and Oliver
  • Teresa Gallagher as Emily and Belle
  • Lucy Montgomery as Marion
  • Matt Wilkinson as Scruff, Diesel 10, Ben, Stanley, Spencer and Cranky
  • Rasmus Hardiker as Bill and Philip
  • Tim Whitnall as Timothy
  • Yvonne Grundy as Nia
  • Rachael Miller as Rebecca
  • David Bedella as Victor
  • Kerry Shale as Diesel
  • Tracy-Ann Oberman as Daisy
  • Bob Golding as Sidney, Splatter and Stephen
  • Robert Wilfort as Samson
  • Jonathan Forbes as Connor
  • Jules de Jongh as Caitlin
  • Colin McFarlane as Bulgy

US

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • Mark Moraghan as Edward
  • Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon, Diesel, Scruff and Harold
  • Rob Rackstraw as James, Donald, Dodge, Stanley and Flynn
  • Christopher Ragland as Percy
  • William Hope as Toby
  • Steven Kynman as Duck, Charlie, Dart and Paxton
  • Joe Mills as Douglas and Oliver
  • Jules de Jongh as Emily and Caitlin
  • Teresa Gallagher as Belle
  • Lucy Montgomery as Marion
  • Keith Wickham as Stafford, Salty, Den and Norman
  • Matt Wilkinson as Diesel 10 and Ben
  • Rasmus Hardiker as Bill and Philip
  • Tim Whitnall as Timothy
  • Yvonne Grundy as Nia
  • Rachael Miller as Rebecca
  • David Bedella as Victor
  • David Menkin as Porter
  • Glenn Wrage as Spencer and Cranky
  • Tracy-Ann Oberman as Daisy
  • Bob Golding as Sidney, Splatter and Stephen
  • Robert Wilfort as Samson
  • Jonathan Forbes as Connor
  • Colin McFarlane as Bulgy

Additionally, Lady and the Tumbleweed appear in non-speaking roles, along with Annie and Clarabel, Hiro, Kevin, Rusty, Rocky, Harvey, Mavis and Whiff. Character cameos includes Bertie, Rosie, Big Mickey, Butch, 'Arry and Bert, Winston, Toad, Henrietta, Rex, Bert, Mike, Skarloey, Peter Sam, Sir Handel and Rheneas.

Production

Development

Casting

Michael Brandon was originally attached to voice Diesel, but was replaced by Kerry Shale. Jonathan Broadbent was original cast to voice Bill and Ben, but was later replaced by Rasmus Hardiker and Matt Wilkinson. Eddie Redmayne was set to voice Ryan from 2015, but was replaced by Steven Kynman. Will Forte was originally planned to play the Earl of Sodor, then Ray Winstone, but was later replaced by David Warner in the final film.

Britt Allcroft was originally set to reprise her role as Lady, but due to leaked footage from TATMR spread on the web (which also harmed her), she was dropped from voice acting.

Filming

Music and soundtrack

Hans Zimmer and Alan Silvestri were announced to compose the film's score, with Silvestri conducting. Returning songs are "Shining Time" and "How the Moon Must Feel", along with "Really Useful Engine", "Thomas' Anthem", and "The Island Song" from T&F.

Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 56% and an average rating of 5.24/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kids these days demand the better plot, not lost in the its Americanization than British originally." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 52 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4.5 out of 5 stars with a 66% "definite recommend".

Accolades

Box office

Sequel

Main page: Return to the Magic Railroad

Because of its success, a sequel, entitled Return to the Magic Railroad, is in development. The film features Baldwin, Hinds, Carrey, Hasler, and May reprising their roles as Mr. Conductor, Burnett Stone, P.T. Boomer, and Thomas, respectively. It also features most of the engines from the model series making their comebacks.

Transcript

Main page: Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2020 film)/Transcript

Trivia

  • Bulgy portrays George's scrapped role in the film's original release as one of Diesel 10's henchmen.
  • Thanks to the success for the 2000 film's extended cut, P.T. Boomer portrays a bigger role for the remake.
  • Britt Allcroft returns to the series since her left in 2003.
  • This special is the first of several things:
    • The first Thomas & Friends production to have Mark Moraghan as Edward since A Friendly Farewell.
    • The first appearances of Donald and Douglas, Oliver, Timothy, Samson, Spencer, Connor, Whiff, Stephen and Stafford since Big World! Big Adventures! prior to Series 22.
    • Diesel 10's first appearance since Series 17.
    • Lady's first appearance since Calling All Engines!.
    • Hiro's first appearance since Kenji on the Rails Again.
    • The first time Britt Allcroft is credited as the film's executive producer.
    • The first special that takes place in between the events of Big World! Big Adventures!.
    • The first special that occurs in the events of World War II.
  • Production started in late 2015 and concluded in early 2020.
  • This is the only film to be animated by Jam Filled Toronto.
  • Splatter and Dodge make their CGI debuts.
  • Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor is the only actor to reprise his role from the original release. The other cast members do not reprise their roles, but appear in cameos.
  • It is confirmed that the engines who appeared in Timon's illusion of Journey From Sodor would appear.
  • There is an added mid-credits scene where Diesel 10, who is taken back for major repairs, meets a disguised P.T. Boomer, and they begin plotting their revenge.
  • Duncan, Jack, Alfie and Oliver the excavator were to be having supporting roles, before being removed from the original cut.

Differences between the 2000 film

  • Henry's line "Diesel knows that the lost engine in the legend really exists" is given to Salty, for which his role is to tell the backstory of Lady; same for "Of an engine whose magic makes her more powerful than Diesel will ever be, that's why he wants to find her" to Porter, and Toby's line "And if he finds her, I fear that will destroy us all" to Spencer.
  • Cranky drops a crate of fruits and vegetables on Splatter and Dodge.
  • James and Percy are present in the ending at the wishing well.
  • Patch is attended to be Irish.
  • The railway was undergoing major repairs throughout the film, which would explain why Tidmouth Sheds is under repair.
  • Diesel is the second-in-command of Diesel 10, and the leader of Splatter and Dodge.
  • Diesel 10's accent is given to be Russian.
  • Thomas is knocked off of Muffle Mountain by an explosion caused by P.T. Boomer.
  • The location of the clue to the gold dust's source is a large waterfall that Mr. Conductor had to climb up to retrieve a sheet of paper.
  • Thomas works at the quarry, talking to Timothy, Marion and Bill and Ben if they know anything about the Magic Railroad.
  • After having sneezing powder all over himself, Thomas goes for a washdown.
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