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Mattel reveals Barney makeover for upcoming reboot — and fans are divided

Fans had a lot of thoughts on the reimagining of the popular children's character.
Mattel Announces Barney Franchise Relaunch
The new Barney has sparked a lot of feelings among fans.Mattel
/ Source: TODAY

I love you. You love me. Not everyone loves the new Barney.

Mattel announced Feb. 13 that everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur will return as part of an all-out media blitz.

“Mattel’s comprehensive revitalization of the Barney brand will span television, film, and YouTube content as well as music and a full range of kids’ products including toys, books, clothing, and more,” the company said in its announcement.

Barney will also relaunch “to a new generation with a brand-new animated series, set to debut globally in 2024,” Mattel added.

Mattel is swapping the older version of Barney (left) with an animated character (right).
Mattel is swapping the older version of Barney (left) with an animated character (right).Getty Images, Mattel

As part of the relaunch, Mattel shared a glimpse of the new-look Barney, who appears somewhat more compact and svelte while generating crisp, clear colors.

“Barney’s message of love and kindness has stood the test of time,” said Josh Silverman, chief franchise officer and global head of consumer products at Mattel.

“We will tap into the nostalgia of the generations who grew up with Barney, now parents themselves, and introduce the iconic purple dinosaur to a new generation of kids and families around the world across content, products, and experiences.”

The updated Barney is intended to connect with kids.

“With our modern take on Barney, we hope to inspire the next generation to listen, care, and dream big,” said Fred Soulie, senior vice president and general manager of Mattel Television. “We think that parents, many of whom will fondly remember the original Barney from their own childhoods, will love the show, too.”

Barney’s sleek new design has the Twittersphere in a tizzy. 

“Trash, what a downgrade and that’s why the OG will always be the best,” one person wrote.

"Ok Barney got the eyebrow lift, Dino-plasty and Ozempic prescription! Yup!" someone else joked.

"Idk man… there’s just something not right going on when you look into his eyes…" another person lamented.

"I’m not even mad at the reboot Barney animation. It’s looks okay. But the real question is where my people Baby Bop and (BJ)? " one fan asked about Barney's pals.

"The new Barney looks like the purple M&M and the witch from Snow White had a baby," someone else pointed out.

"Barney is getting an animated reboot!? and i actually love the character design — looks fun!" one person wrote in defense of the new look.

Even though a new Barney is coming soon, Mattel also said, “Apparel and accessories for adult fans, featuring classic Barney, are also in development.”

"Barney & Friends" was a staple of PBS programming from 1992 until 2010. The live-action series featured an actor in a suit portraying the overwhelmingly upbeat character dishing out life lessons to young kids.