The 90’s nostalgia train rolls along at full speed, but it’s making a stop wherever in the world Carmen Sandiego is. Netflix is doubling down on its acquisition of once-free educational programming with the announcement vis Deadline that Carmen Sandiego will join Miss Frizzle on the popular streaming platform, and that she’ll be played by none other than Jane the Virgin and Annihilation star Gina Rodriguez. The rebooted Carmen Sandiego will not just be a cartoon with Rodriguez as the voice of the titular thief, but also an in development live action movie with her in the lead role!
Carmen Sandiego was conceived in the 80’s as a video game character, starring in text and, later, point-and-click “edutainment” PC games. She’s best known as the subject of 1991’s hit game show Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego. Much like the Carmen Sandiego games, the show combined lighthearted comedy and wordplay with genuine educational purpose, in this case helping kids learn their geography. Carmen herself didn’t appear much, serving merely as the instigator of the episode’s crime solving. Famously, the grand prize of the show was a trip to anywhere in the contiguous United States. The show ended in 1995 and despite the franchise continuing on TV with Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego (which moved the focus to history) and the animated Where On Earth is Carmen Sandiego, it’s the original World that really stuck in people’s memories. Probably because it had the best theme song ever.
Live action adaptations of the thief herself have been in the works since the 90’s. Disney tried to make Sandra Bullock don the crimson duster in the 90’s, while Narnia studio Walden Media tried to add the franchise to their stable of adapted children’s stories. That film came close, with Jennifer Lopez onboard to star and produce and Jack the Giant Slayer writer Darren Lemke writing the script. The most famous actress to play the international thief was One Day At A Time’s Rita Moreno, who voiced her in Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego.
The live action movie will be produced by Rodriguez as well, through her production company I Can and I Will. Kevin Misher, who produced Rodriguez’s upcoming film Miss Bala, is also signed on to produce. While the animated program will be released in 2019, there has been no such news regarding the film. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who own the rights to Carmen Sandiego, will release a new line of books to coincide with the new screen offerings. But until then, keep an eye out, gumshoes. Carmen can steal anything, even the end of this-
All geographic information was accurate as of the date this article was written.