The 20th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants falls on May 1, 2019, and it's only right that Nickelodeon makes a big hullabaloo out of the exciting milestone. That's actually exactly what Nickelodeon is doing, because the kid's network announced on Thursday, Feb. 14, that a new SpongeBob SquarePants spinoff is in the works. In honor of the 20th anniversary, Nickelodeon released a press release which announced the big news. "Plans are in place to expand the SpongeBob SquarePants universe with spinoffs focused on the core characters into formats such as new series, specials and feature-length movies," said the network in a press release obtained by Bustle. It's all a part of what the network is calling the "Best Year Ever," which is definitely a SpongeBob approved name.
If you read the announcement closely, you'll notice that the word "spinoffs" is plural, meaning that more than one SpongeBob is on its way to your TV within the next year. It sounds like a whole new series based on Sandy Cheeks' (Carolyn Lawrence) could be in the running for a Bikini Bottom based show, or maybe even something that's Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) focused. The possibilities seem endless, and you might want to set a Google alert for "SpongeBob" just so you can keep up with all of the Bikini Bottom news.
While every new SpongeBob spinoff series and special has yet to be announced, the network gave some details about the first celebratory one-hour special, called "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout." The birthday celebration airs on July 12 (even though SpongeBob technically turns 20 on May 1, per the Chicago Tribune), and it sounds like it's taking some inspiration from the 2014 SpongeBob Movie, titled Sponge Out of Water. According to USA Today, the anniversary celebration special will mix live-action and animation.
Per USA Today's report, the voice actors who play the major SpongeBob faves like SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Squidward will play the live-action versions of their characters. But that doesn't mean you'll see the voice actors dressed as sea creatures, because the upcoming special will feature the voice cast playing their characters re-imagined as humans. (If you're wondering what that could look like, just take a look at some clips of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.)
While the anniversary special sounds about as exciting as eating an actual Krabby Patty, Nickelodeon has even more exciting SpongeBob releases in store. Last October, the network announced that a new movie is slated for theatrical release on May 22, 2020 — though it was originally set to come out on July 17, 2020. The movie is called It's A Wonderful Sponge, and according to Paste, the movie will tell the origin story of how SpongeBob ended up in Bikini Bottom.
Per Paste's report, Mireille Soria, president of Paramount Animation, spoke at a panel in Italy last October and said, "For the first time ever, we’re going to the get to the origin of how little SpongeBob met the rest of the Bikini Bottom gang at summer camp. The film’s opening will take place at Camp Coral, when all of our favorite characters meet for the first time."
At this point, if you're not already singing "I'm ready, I'm ready" at the top of your lungs upon reading up on all the exciting SpongeBob news, you might not actually be ready. Fortunately, you have a few months to prepare, because it's about to go down — as in, down under the sea.