Leyendas is an animated horror-comedy film franchise created by Ricardo Arnaiz and produced by Mexican animation studio, Ánima Estudios. It consists of five films, a digital television series, and a gaming application. It centers on Leo San Juan, a heroic preteen boy who can communicate with ghosts and monsters, Teodora, a sassy preteen ghost girl with a know-it-all personality, Don Andrés, an amicable but loony old knight, Alebrije, a mild-mannered mythological creature, and Finado and Moribunda, two silent charming calavera children. Each film is based on a Mexican legend, and are set during the 1800s timeline.
|Created by||Ricardo Arnaiz|
|Owned by||Ánima Estudios|
|Films and television|
The franchise began in 2007 with the release of La Leyenda de la Nahuala, directed by creator Ricardo Arnaiz and produced by Puebla-based Animex Producciones. The film was later followed by La Leyenda de la Llorona in 2011, La Leyenda de las Momias de Guanajuato in 2014, La Leyenda del Chupacabras in 2016, and La Leyenda del Charro Negro in 2018, all of which are produced by Ánima Estudios and directed and co-written by Alberto Rodríguez. The franchise has also been spawned into a Netflix original series, titled Legend Quest.
It is one of the few film franchises in Mexico, which is a rare instance within the country's domestic film industry. As such, the franchise has become widely popular within the country and often achieves successful box-office numbers, with Charro Negro currently being the highest-grossing film.
La Leyenda de la Nahuala (2007)
The first film, La Leyenda de la Nahuala was released on 1 November 2007 in Mexico with 350 copies, directed by Ricardo Arnaiz and produced by Animex Producciones. The film has performed well at the Mexican box-office, grossing a total of $42.2 million pesos (US$4.03 million), which was one of the highest-grossing Mexican films at the time. Based on the 'Nahuala' legend and receiving the support of the state of Puebla, the film is written by Omar Mustre and Antonio Garci, and features the voices of famous Mexican actors, including Andrés Bustamante, Jesús Ochoa, Rafael Inclán, Martha Higareda, Manuel 'Loco' Valdés, and Pierre Angelo. Set in 1807 at the city of Puebla de Los Angeles, the film centers on Leo San Juan, a cowardly 9-year-old boy. He summons the courage to rescue his older brother, Nando, from an abandoned house possessed by an evil witch known as the 'Nahuala', with the aide of his new ghost friends. The success of the film has launched a franchise, to which Arnaiz have given the license and characters to Ánima Estudios.
La Leyenda de la Llorona (2011)
A sequel, La Leyenda de la Llorona, based on the La Llorona ("The Weeping Woman") legend figure, was released on 21 October 2011 with 225 to 300 copies. Unlike its predecessor, it was produced by Ánima Estudios and directed and co-written by Alberto Rodríguez, which he and the company have taken over the production of further films. Additionally, the film also uses flash animation for the film and its successors (excluding Chupacabras; see below). The film is written by Ricardo Arnaiz, the predecessor's director, Jesús Guzmán, and Omar Mustre, who also written the preceding film. Some of the previous film's voice cast reprise their roles, while some actors, such as Andrés Bustamante, were replaced by new voice actors. The film picks up from Nahuala and follows the new adventures of Leo San Juan with his gang, Don Andrés, Alebrije, Teodora, Finado and Moribunda. Taking place in ancient Xochimilco, Leo falls out of the crew's ship where he meets a young village girl, named Kika, who is on her journey to find her lost brother, Beto, where they encounter the 'Llorona', while the rest of his gang end up in the La Isla de las Munecas ('Puppets' Island'). The film did not receive support from any Mexican state. It was another box-office success, earning $8 million pesos on its opening weekend, and grossing a total of $55.4 million pesos (US$2.9 million), performing better than its predecessor.
La Leyenda de las Momias de Guanajuato (2014)
The third film, La Leyenda de las Momias de Guanajuato, was released on 30 October 2014 with 700 copies in regular and 4DX formats, a first for a Mexican film. The film is a fictionalization of the origin of the mummies, notably from the Guanajuato region. It follows Leo San Juan and his gang now trying to find Xóchitl in Guanajuato who was kidnapped by Rosseau, an old wizard who has the ability to awaken the mummies from the dead. Along the way, Leo teams up with Valentina, disguised as her alter-ego Luis, who is on her own journey to find her father. Director Alberto Rodríguez returns to direct for the second time, and makes his writing debut, alongside with the screenplay by Jesús Guzmán, Ricardo Arnaiz, and Dulce María Guerrero. Momias was not produced with the support of the Mexican federal government, due to disapproval; however, it did receive support from the state government of Guanajuato. Despite the lack of national support, Momias is a major box-office success, and the first in the series to surpass $50 million pesos; grossing a total of $92.25 million pesos (US$4.9 million). As the voice cast from Llorona reunites for the third film, among the newcomers is Benny Emmanuel, known for La CQ, as the voice of Leo San Juan, who has been the present voice actor for the character since Momias. Alongside, Eduardo "Lalo" España, a Mexican actor and comedian, joins the franchise cast as the new character, Evaristo, an alebrije with a smooth personality, while Alejandra Müller, a teen actress who is also an alumnus of La CQ, voices Valentina, a girl who Leo helps find Rosseau.
La Leyenda del Chupacabras (2016)
La Leyenda del Chupacabras, the fourth film, was released on 21 October 2016. The story is based on the chupacabra creature. In the film, while on his way home to Puebla, Leo and his fellow rebel mates get caught up in a civil war where they get locked up in Peñamiller. When the 'chupacabra' invades the prison, Leo calls the help of his friend, Teodora, to discover the origin and arrival of the creature as he escapes with his inmates. The films' past characters, including Don Andrés and Xochitl, were left absent, while Fernando "Nando" San Juan, Leo's older brother from Nahuala, makes a return to the franchise. The film also uses traditional animation, which is the first time since Nahuala and the first during the Ánima Estudios era. In another series first, the film was released in the United States on 14 October 2016, one week prior to its release in Mexico. Distributed by Pantelion Films, a major American film distributor for Latin American-themed films, the film was shown in the original Spanish-language format with English subtitles. Despite receiving negative reviews, the film is another major box-office success, grossing a total of $100.7 million pesos (US$5.4 million), and is the series' first to surpass the $100 million peso-mark as well as the second-highest grossing film within. While the Momias voice cast return for the fourth film, Rafael Inclán did not return to voice Alebrije, where he was replaced by dubbing actor Herman López. From this film the creator of the films Ricardo Arnaiz he was not involved in the production of this, the next movie and the series too.
La Leyenda del Charro Negro (2018)
La Leyenda del Charro Negro, the fifth entry, was released on 19 January 2018, as opposed to previous films which were normally released on an October. It picks up from Chupacabras where Leo San Juan and his brother Nando head home to Puebla. Along the way, Leo encounters the 'Charro Negro' ("Black Charro") who confuses him and causes a girl to be cast into the underworld. He enlists the help of his friends to correct his mistakes and take on the 'Charro Negro' once and for all. Charro Negro marks the return of some of the past films' characters, such as Don Andrés and Xochitl, while also featuring cameos of other returning characters and references the entire franchise elements. Along with the returning voice cast of the Momias and Chupacabras, Mexican actor Erick Elías voices the 'Charro Negro'. It proved to be another commercial success, earning a total of $100.8 million pesos; the highest-grossing Leyendas film to date.
Las Leyendas: El Origen (2020)
A spin-off prequel film, titled Las Leyendas: El Origen, will focus on the Calavera duo, Finado and Moribunda, whom they must look after a human baby when he crosses the Espejo Eternal ("eternal mirror") through a portal that separates the Realm of the Living and the Dead. The film is currently in production and is expected to be released in some point of 2020. It was originally titled La Leyenda de Finado y Moribunda. It was first teased on Twitter. It will utilize traditional animation previously implemented in Nahuala and Chupacabras.
Future of franchise
While Charro Negro has been rumored to be the last film in the franchise, director Alberto Rodríguez has stated the possibility of a new film, due to the amount of potential and "many more doors to explore", but would require the creation of new characters. Andrés Couturier, the voice of Don Andrés and manager at Ánima Estudios, said that he wouldn't be "surprised to see crossovers or spin-offs of Las Leyendas." Rodríguez stated that Charro Negro would be his last film, as he has expressed interest in making new projects outside of the franchise. "I feel that my cycle is already finished in terms of [Leyendas]. I already want to do other things, but we are still involved in the development of other things that come for the Leyendas," he said.
A Netflix original series based on the characters, named Legend Quest (a.k.a. Las Leyendas), premiered in 2017 in 30 languages, making it the platform's first original animated series produced in Latin America.
Voice cast (Spanish)
|La Leyenda de la Nahuala||La Leyenda de la Llorona||La Leyenda de las Momias de Guanajuato||La Leyenda del Chupacabras||La Leyenda del Charro Negro||Legend Quest||Legend Quest: Masters of Myth|
|Leo San Juan||Fabrizio Santini||Yair Prado||Benny Emmanuel|
|Teodora Villavicencio||Mayte Cordeiro|
|Don Andrés Artasánchez||Andrés Bustamante||Andrés Couturier||Picture only||Andrés Couturier|
|El Alebrije de la Biblioteca||Rafael Inclán||Herman López||Ricardo O'Farrill|
|Xochitl Ahuactzin||Martha Higareda||Annie Rojas||Picture only||Annie Rojas|
|Evaristo||Eduardo "Lalo" España|
|Fernando "Nando" San Juan||Bruno Coronel||Emilio Treviño|
|Finado||Silent role||Jesús Guzmán||Daniel del Roble||Bruno Coronel||Silent role|
|Moribunda||Silent role||Romina Marroquín Payró||Gaby Guzmán||Norma Iturbe||Silent role|
|La Nahuala||Ofelia Medina||Opening cameo||Flashback||Opening cameo|
|Fray Godofredo||Germán Robles||Miguel Couturier||Andrés Couturier||Alejandro Villeli|
|Santos Machorro||Jesús Ochoa
Mauricio Roldán (young)
|Toñita San Juan||María Santander||Ángela Villanueva|
|Nana Dionisia||Luna Arjona||Luna Arjona|
|Sr. Lorenzo Villavicencio||Manuel "El Loco" Valdés|
|Sra. Villavicencio||Ginny Hoffman|
|Sr. López||Carlos Segundo||Mario Castañeda|
|Chichi||Animal sounds only||Humberto Solórzano|
|La Llorona / Yoltzin||Mentioned||Rocío Lara
Mercedes Hernández (Yoltzin)
|Flashback||Opening cameo||Opening cameo|
|Kika||Mónica del Carmen|
|Tiro and Pujo||Humberto Solórzano
Andrés Couturier (Pujo)
|Pecas||Jesús Guzmán||Roberto Gutiérrez|
|Rousseau||Andrés Couturier||Andrés Couturier|
|Valentina / Luis||Alejandra Müller||Picture only|
|Don Gaspar||José Luis Orozco|
|Rosendo||Miguel Ángel Ghigliazza||Miguel Ángel Ghigliazza|
|Suegro Tzulik||Gerardo Reyero|
|Doctor Merolick||Eduardo "Lalo" España|
|Capitán Mandujano||Oscar Flores|
|General Galeana||Mario Arvizu|
|Chupacabra / Puma||César Garduza|
|El Charro Negro||Blas García||Humberto Solórzano||Erick Elías|
|La Leyenda de la Nahuala
|La Leyenda de la Llorona
|La Leyenda de las Momias de Guanajuato
|La Leyenda del Chupacabras
|La Leyenda del Charro Negro|
|Director||Ricardo Arnaiz||Alberto Rodríguez|
|Producer(s)||Jean Pierre Leleu
|Fernando de Fuentes|
José C. García de Letona
|Associate producer(s)||N/A||Ricardo Arnaiz||Rogelio Prior||N/A|
|Executive producer(s)||Socorro Aguilar
Eduardo Jiménez Ahuactzin
Paul Rodoreda Núñez
|Alex Garcia||Mariana Suárez Molnar
|Mariana Suárez Molnar||N/A|
|Line producer(s)||N/A||Gabriela Salazar
|Nihurka Zequera Guiza||Michelle Chisikovsky||Nihurka Zequera Guiza|
Based on Characters Created by:
Dulce María Guerrero
Based on Characters Created by:
Based on Characters Created by:
Based on Characters Created by:
|Composer(s)||Gabriel Villar||Leoncio Lara|
|Editor||N/A||Roberto Bolado||Alberto Rodríguez|
|Film||Release date||Box office gross (MXN) (est.)||Box office gross (USD) (est.)||Budget||Reference(s)|
|La Leyenda de la Nahuala||1 November 2007||$42.2 million||$4.03 million||N/A|
|La Leyenda de la Llorona||21 October 2011||$55.4 million||$2.9 million||$1.3 million|
|La Leyenda de las Momias de Guanajuato||30 October 2014||$92.25 million||$6.3 million||$1.3 million|
|La Leyenda del Chupacabras||21 October 2016||$100.7 million||$5.4 million||$1.6 million|
|La Leyenda del Charro Negro||19 January 2018||$100.8 million||$5.3 million|
|Total||$391.55 million||$23.93||$4.2 million|
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