Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

A beloved background character takes center stage in Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin

Apple TV+ keeps Charles Schultz’s legacy alive in the latest special, Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin. Raymond S. Persi directed the film, and the script was written by Robb Armstrong, Bryan Schultz, Craig Schultz, and Cornelius Uliano. An origin story of Peanuts’ most beloved characters, the film follows a boy named Franklin and his approach to making new friends.

With his dad’s military job, Franklin’s family is always on the move, and Franklin finds support wherever he goes, from a notebook containing his grandfather’s friendship advice. However, Franklin struggles to fit in with the Peanuts gang when he uses his usual strategies and experiences unexpected blunders that put him at odds with everyone. His life is turned upside down when he learns about the neighborhood soap box derby.

In the opinion of Franklin’s grandfather, everyone loves a winner! He’s confident that winning the race will also lead to new friendships. He only needs a partner, which Charlie Brown provides. While building a car, Franklin and Charlie Brown become good friends. With the race drawing near, the pressure mounts – will their newfound friendship and car survive?

Every Thanksgiving holiday, a photo of the Peanuts gang circulates online. The image depicts Franklin, the only African-American character in the comic strip, sitting alone on one side while the other characters sit together on the opposite side. Some people interpreted this as a sign of segregation, indicating that the other characters did not want to sit next to Franklin. However, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Darin Bell has suggested that Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, meant for Franklin to be included and seen in the comic strip.

Initially, when the special was announced, I thought the hook might be Franklin discovering Black History Month and his roots. While the writers don’t take this route, the angle they use is a relatable one. The story’s heart lies in Franklin’s journey of self-discovery and adaptation. As he grapples with feelings of alienation and loneliness, he draws strength from the lessons from his grandfather’s journal. Using this approach, the creative team makes the film relatable for anyone who has ever been the new face in school or at a job.

In addition to its poignant storytelling, Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin is brought to life by stunning animation that pays homage to the classic Peanuts style while infusing it with modern flair. The visuals are vibrant and expressive, perfectly complementing the emotional depth of the narrative.

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin is a delightful and uplifting film that continues the legacy of the Peanuts franchise while offering a fresh perspective on the universal experiences of transition and adaptation. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Charlie Brown or new to the world of Peanuts, this charming tale will warm your heart and leave you with a renewed appreciation for the enduring power of friendship.

Final Grade: A

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin arrives on Apple TV+ on February 16th.

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