For nearly a quarter of a century, kids have been learning biblical values and lessons from talking, anthropomorphic vegetables. And although the rock-solid core convictions of VeggieTales has stayed the same, little else has over that time span, as the children's program has constantly innovated and reinvented itself.
Now, in an effort to be more inclusive, even the "Veggie" part of VeggieTales is being reconsidered, as the program is introducing its first-ever meat character in an upcoming feature film.
VeggieTales: Meat Stanley, expected to hit Netflix on April 15, sees the veggies encounter something they never had before: a meat product named Stanley the Steak. The story follows the veggies as they struggle to accept Stanley despite their differences.
"We thought this was an important story to tell," said VeggieTales co-creator Mike Narwocki. "There are so many kids out there who aren't vegetarians, or who aren't sure what they'd do if they came in contact with someone who was made out of an animal's flesh. This story, the story of Stanley, really is the story of all of us, and I can't wait to see how it helps kids overcome their fears of the unknown--and red meat, too."
Like any VeggieTales production, Meat Stanley will feature several musical numbers. The titular role of Stanely will be played by Growing Pains and Left Behind star Kirk Cameron. His best friend and sidekick, Bucky Bacon, will be played by Joel Houston of Hillsong UNITED in his voice acting debut.
Together they sing the heartwarming song, "What's Your Beef?" in which they sing about their commonalities, rather than their differences.
"I'm excited that they finally added meat to the VeggieTales lineup," Cameron told NRT. "I think the symbolism... that even meat can be a VeggieTale, is really inclusive and welcoming and goes to the heart of what VeggieTales is all about. I'm proud to be part of it.
"But I'm still a little weirded out by the new colored eyes, if I'm being honest," Cameron concluded.