Phil originally started out in 1990 when he wanted to use candy bars as a basis. However, his wife objected the idea as she thought it was a bad influence on kids. So he drew a cucumber and thought that was the best choice, vegetables. He chose these objects as he said they were easy to animate as compared to characters with limbs, clothes, or hair because of the limitations on 3D graphics during the early 90s.
Phil then joined with Mike Nawrocki, who they both did puppet shows in Bible college. Phil did one on "The Princess and the Pea," but telling it from the pea's perspective, but never made it as a puppet show. Ultimately, the sketches Phil drew became the basis for VeggieTales.
The name itself came from Mike Nawrocki, as he felt it was a good title as it was about vegetables telling stories.
While Toy Story is considered the first animated film to use computer imagery for film, VeggieTales is the first video series using that type of animation prior to the film's release.
The series started with only either one or two episode(s) per year, until the company grew and produced three videos per year as of 2014. Since then, no new episodes of the series have been produced, likely due to Big Idea being too busy making and focusing on the Netflix series.
In 2014, shortly after the release of Beauty and the Beet (the last episode to feature the original look of the characters), Netflix released 11 minute shorts exclusively along with new redesigns of the original cast. In a recent podcast, Phil says that they have colored iris' (similar to the Sonic the Hedgehog series) and their mouths are more dynamic. He also says that Archibald's hair looks swirly.
Following the release of the episode Noah's Ark on March 3, 2015, Big Idea did not announce any new plans for further VeggieTales home video releases, seemingly focusing solely on the Netflix series. In June 2017, Mike Nawrocki appeared on the Christian talk show Today's Life, and said "if there's ever an opportunity to do something VeggieTales-related again, I would love to do that." Furthermore, Nawrocki's LinkedIn profile states that he left his position at Big Idea in February 2016. The second and final season of VeggieTales in the City subsequently premiered on Netflix in late 2017.
At the 2018 Christian Worldview Film Festival, Mike Nawrocki confirmed that he was no longer working on VeggieTales, and there was nothing in production. Phil Vischer stated that he was not returning to work on new episodes, and on July 1, 2018, he explained on Twitter that the team who specifically produced home video releases was dismissed in 2015, while the Netflix series team wrapped up their work in summer 2017. Comcast shut down Big Idea's offices in Nashville shortly afterward. Vischer has confirmed that Big Idea's employees continue to work for Big Idea, and have not been laid off. This could mean that the show may still continue in the future.
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