Phil originally started out in 1990 when he wanted to use candy bars as a basis. However, his wife objected the idea as she thought it was a bad influnce on kids. So he drew a cucumber and thought that was the best choice, vegetables. He chose these objects as he said they were easy to animate as compared to characters with limbs, clothes, or hair because of the limitations on 3D graphics during the early 90s.
Phil then joined with Mike Nawrocki, who they both did puppet shows in Bible college. Phil did one on "The Princess and the Pea," but telling it from the pea's perspective, but never made it as a puppet show. Ultimately, the sketches Phil drew became the basis for VeggieTales.
The name itself came from Mike Nawrocki, as he felt it was a good title as it was about vegetables telling stories.
While Toy Story is considered the first animation film to use computer imagery for film, VeggieTales is the first video series using that type of animation prior to the film's release.
The series started with only either one or two episode(s) per year, until the company grew and produced three videos per year as of 2014. Since then, no new episodes of the series have been produced, likely due to Big Idea being too busy making and focusing on the Netflix series.
In 2014, shortly after the release of Beauty and the Beet (the last episode to feature the original look of the characters), Netflix released 11 minute shorts exclusively along with new redesigns of the original cast. In a recent podcast, Phil says that they have colored iris' (similar to the Sonic the Hedgehog series) and their mouths are more dynamic. He also says that Archibald's hair looks swirly.
Following the release of Noah's Ark, Big Idea had not announced any new episodes of the show, seemingly focusing solely on the aforementioned VeggieTales in the House series. Mike Nawrocki and Phil Vischer also announced that they will no longer be working on VeggieTales as nothing is currently in production. On July 1, 2018, Vischer explained on Twitter that the team that specifically produced home video releases was dismissed in 2015, while the Netflix series team wrapped up their work in summer 2017. Big Idea's headquarters in Nashville was shut down shortly afterward. According to Phil, he states that "new owners always bring new possibilities," but despite that, it is currently unknown if the series will be revived for newer episodes or not as of Fall 2018.
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