“My parents read stories about your railway to me as a child. There will never be anything like it anywhere.”
―Prince Charles

The Great Centenary is the 2021 Thomas & Friends film. It is the sequel to Sodor's Ultimate Railway Showdown, as well as the series finale of the original series, ending at 37 years of airing. The film stars the voices of John Hasler and Joseph May as Thomas for their final time, along with Rob Rackstraw, Tom Hanks, Keith Wickham, William Hope, Kerry Shale, Nigel Pilkington, Christopher Ragland, Teresa Gallagher, Jules de Jongh, Yvonne Grundy and Rachael Miller in supporting roles.

Patrick, Culdee, Eric, Shane Dooiney, Ernest, Alaric, Wilfred, and Godred, the central characters of the Reverend Wilbert Awdry's book "Mountain Engines", made their first appearance in the TV series in this production, having only appeared in the Railway Series so far, until now. It also features a CGI guest appearance of BoCo, which marks his first appearance since the fifth series.

Summary

The engines are preparing to celebrate the centenary of the Thin Clergyman. James is chosen to go and collect the bust of the Thin Clergyman from the Mainland. He collects the bust safely and has just gone through Henry's Tunnel on his return journey when the tunnel collapses, cutting off Sodor from the Mainland. Henry and the Scottish Twins are sent to repair the tunnel. Meanwhile however, all trains have to stop at Crovan's Gate whilst Bertie and his friends bring the passengers to and from the Mainland. At Ffarquhar Sheds, Percy tells Toby that the Thin Clergyman is "broken" until Thomas explains what a bust actually is.

Soon Pip and Emma, who were stranded on the Mainland, are cleared as the first train to travel through the repaired tunnel. At Tidmouth station, out of Pip and Emma's coaches steps Prince Charles. After he unveils the Thin Clergyman's bust, Thomas returns to work in England.

Characters

Characters Introduced

Locations

  • Island of Sodor
    • Tidmouth
      • Tidmouth Sheds
    • Henry's Tunnel
    • Ffarquhar
      • Ffarquhar Sheds
    • Blue Mountain Quarry
    • Ulfstead Castle
    • Knapford
    • Vicarstown
    • Crovan's Gate (mentioned)
  • The Mainland
  • Mountain Railway

Cast

UK

US

Songs

  • Blue Mountain Mystery
  • It's Gonna be a Great Day
  • Never Overlook a Little Engine
  • Somebody Has to be the Favorite
  • The Island Song
  • Thomas' Anthem (Headmaster Hastings variant)

Development

The film and Sodor's Ultimate Railway Showdown were first announced on July 2020.

The special was confirmed to be "part two" of a conclusion to previous Thomas & Friends films, including The Adventure Begins, Hero of the Rails, Blue Mountain Mystery, Tale of the Brave, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, The Great Race, King of the Railway, Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Journey Beyond Sodor, and Big World! Big Adventures!. Known as the sequel to Steam Team to the Rescue, Thomas and the Royal Engine, A New Arrival and World of Tomorrow, The Great Centenary was to be based on Thomas and his Friends, the last book of The Railway Series, alongside its predecessor, Sodor's Ultimate Railway Showdown, in post-production.

In August 2020, the voice cast for the film was announced with several voice actors from previous Thomas media all reprising their respective roles.

Reception

The Great Centenary currently holds an 93% "fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 15 reviews.

The special garnered overwhelmingly positive acclaim by film critics and several Thomas fans for its story, direction, and emotional weight, with many reviewers calling it the definitive conclusion of the franchise.

Trivia

  • Just like Sodor's Ultimate Railway Showdown, The Great Centenary dedicates the memory of Michael Angelis, the series' former UK narrator (1991-2012).
  • This episode is based off the story, "Centenary" from the Railway Series book, Thomas and his Friends.
  • The special marks the first of multiple things:
    • The Prince's first appearance as an adult, as well as the first special to have Hugh Bonneville provide his voice.
    • BoCo's first appearance in CGI, as well as his first episodic appearance and speaking role since the fifth series episode, "Double Teething Troubles."
    • The first physical appearance of Tidmouth since the Series 3 episode, "Bulgy".
    • The Mountain Engines, Ivo Hugh, Bear, Jock and Frank's first appearances in full CGI.
    • Rheneas' first speaking role since the twentieth series episode, "Henry Gets the Express".
    • The first special in which Marion is voiced by Olivia Colman since "Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure".
  • The special marks the last of several things:
    • The final special to use realistic laws of physics, as from the reboot series onwards, the series exclusively uses cartoon physics.
    • The final special where all the vehicle characters have black eyes. From the reboot series onwards, all the vehicle characters have colored eyes.
    • The final special where all the engines and road vehicle characters to have original whistle and horn sounds.
    • The final special to feature all of the voice actors involved in production.
    • The final special animated by Jam Filled Toronto.
    • The final special made using 3D animation.
    • The last special to feature music composed by Chris Renshaw.
    • The final film to follow the Big World! Big Adventures! format and fall under the aforementioned subtitle.
    • The last time in which drivers and firemen are present.
    • The final appearances of all characters in the film.
  • A few references were made throughout the special:
    • From a fantasy, Thomas recognizes a cake with "75th" written on it; this is a reference to the 75th anniversary of the Railway Series.
    • The calliope version of the original Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends theme is heard during the film's climax. It was previously heard in the sixteenth series episode, "Percy and the Calliope".
  • Kana and Sandy were considered to debut, but after the negative response to the trailer of All Engines Go!, they were removed.
  • Throughout the special, Percy and Millie are repainted grey and pink; Millie's pink coating honors Lady the Magical Engine.
  • As shown on a poster, Stepney was to portray a recurring role, but was dropped, as it required to have Stepney appear in Sodor's Ultimate Railway Showdown. This was due to a controversial promo that used concepts of Stepney and BoCo not borrowed from their respective users on DeviantArt.[1][2]
  • According to early developments, Colin, Arthur, Splatter and Dodge were considered to appear via recreated flashbacks from previous episodes, but were dropped.
  • The special's developed title was known as "Strike of the Bandits".

Goofs

  • Nigel Pilkington is not credited despite voicing Wilfred in the US dub.

Gallery

Main article: The Great Centenary/Gallery

Transcript

Main article: The Great Centenary/Transcript

References

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