Netflix has greenlit a new animated series that will follow the Army’s 157th Infantry Regiment from the initial Allied landings in Italy to their advance through Europe during World War II.
Titled The Liberator, the four-part animated series is based off historian Alex Kershaw’s book by the same name and will be directed by Grzegorz Jonkajtys, known for his stylized work in Sin City, Pan’s Labyrinth, and The Revenant.
The animated war drama will also be the first animated film to be produced using “a new patent-pending technology combining state-of-the-art CGI with live-action performance” according to a Netflix statement.
The series will closely follow the exploits and struggles of Felix Sparks, the commander of the 157th, “a National Guard unit comprised primarily of cowboys, Native Americans, and Mexican-Americans,” as he leads them on a 500-day odyssey across Europe during the height of World War II.
Sparks and his soldiers fought from the beaches of Sicily, through the mountains of Italy and France; weathered a brutal winter, and enemy attacks, on the border of Germany, before fighting tooth and nail through city streets in Bavaria.
However, it was at the concentration camp of Dachau that Sparks and the men of the 157th faced their most daunting challenge: After the 157th seized control of the camp, a number of unarmed German soldiers — by The Liberator’s account, at least 17 — were shot in reprisal killings.
After the shooting began, Sparks rushed to the yard firing his pistol into the air to get the attention of his men, and to wave them off. “You couldn’t think of a greater stress test for leadership than that, really,” Kershaw told Investors Business Daily in 2013. “You see the very definition of integrity and leadership.”
According to the interview Kershaw gave in 2013, it was this event — and Sparks’ response in particular — that inspired him to write The Liberator, and subsequently, inspired the animated series.
So far, no date has been provided for when The Liberator will debut on Netflix, and the four-part series has yet to enter into production.