Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney
Animation, and Anne Sweeney, President, ABC Cable Networks Group and Disney Channel Worldwide, announced yesterday that a Lilo & Stitch video sequel, currently entitled Stitch! -- The Movie, is slated for release in 2003 and will serve as a bridge between the feature film and the television series, currently under development with the working title of Stitch! -- The TV Series. Commenting on the announcement, Schumacher said, "The characters and themes in Lilo & Stitch have strongly connected with audiences--and that includes our own creative people at the Studio. Writer-directors Chris Sanders' and Dean DeBlois' creation has inspired everyone, and we're thrilled to pick up where the motion picture leaves off with these exciting, funny, and heartwarming extensions." In the video premiere, Stitch -- formerly known as Dr. Jumba Jookiba's "Experiment 626" -- is now living on Earth with Lilo and Nani, aided by their friend, David, and the social worker Cobra Bubbles, as well as fellow aliens Jumba and Pleakley. In a series of unfortunate accidents, Jumba's other 625 experiments land on Hawaii and, one by one, are activated. Tony Craig and Roberts Gannaway, the team that brought Mickey Mouse
back to television in Disney's Mickey MouseWorks and Disney's House of Mouse, are the directors of Stitch! - The Movie. Gannaway, Craig, and Jess Winfield (Disney's Teacher's Pet, Disney/Pixar
's Buzz Lightyear of Star Command) are executive producers, and the script is written by Winfield and Gannaway.