Comic-Con 2020: Here's how 2016 reboot of 'Ben 10' split the Cartoon Network show's fanbase after 'Omniverse'
There are few franchises in the world more successful than the Man of Action series 'Ben 10'. This preteen hero's story has gone through many changes over the years but none quite so drastic as the 2016 series reboot that took Ben Tennyson back to the age of 10 when his journey first began.
And that change has had its fair share of detractors. While the pre-reboot 'Ben 10' might ultimately have been a children's show, the original series had progressed and matured just as its fanbase grew up. By taking things back to basics, the franchise essentially bid goodbye to a whole generation of fans in the hopes of engaging with a newer, younger audience. But that move has had mixed results at best.
The 'Ben 10' reboot has been heavily criticized for its art style, its focus on comedy over action, and for using outdated references that give the show the appearance of trying too hard. The series has garnered over 40M viewers since the reboot. However, that's peanuts compared to the popularity and critical acclaim of its predecessors. The reboot has a measly 2.5 on IMDb while 'Ben 10: Omniverse', the series that preceded the reboot, has a 5.7 rating on the website. Keep in mind, 'Omniverse' is one of the least liked installments in the franchise so that should put the numbers in proper perspective.
Ultimately, the problem with the reboot is a kind of generational divide, which has also led to the core fanbase being split in two. Like we said above, the original series had fans who grew up with the show; so that as the audience grew older. Ben grew up as well and faced more complex challenges. By the end of 'Omniverse', the creators essentially had to choose between going the adult animation route for future installments or taking things back to the preteen origins of the series. The former choice would have helped retain more of the show's original fans but the latter option is what was pursued and now here we are.
Of course, there is still room for improvement. The upcoming film 'Ben 10 Versus the Universe: The Movie' could still be a gamechanger for the rebooted franchise since the movies from the previous shows have been great successes. Whether it actually makes a difference or not, we'll just have to watch and find out.
'Ben 10 Versus the Universe: The Movie' is set to premiere on Cartoon Network in the Fall of 2020.