Enchanted Camelot Development

After the development for Jewel Riders began as an adaptation of the Dragonriders of Pern, it reached an impasse where the book author Anne McCaffrey declined to continue development. At this stage the idea was retooled as a concept known as Enchanted Camelot.

This was a concept much closer in execution to what would eventually become Jewel Riders, featuring Princess Guinevere, Melody (Tamara), Alexandra (Fallon), and Shawn (Drake) riding the Wild Magic with their friends Amber (Sunstar), Cleo, Samantha (Sugar), Rusty (Spike), Moonglow (Moondance), and Thunder.  You can, of course, read the Enchanted Camelot script for the episode that became Jewel Quest here on the site.

aEnchanted Camelot - The Enchanted Quest

A later – but still similar – version with a working title of Enchanted Jewel Riders existed, and you can check out the Show Bible for that working version on the site.

Click the first page to read the Show Bible!

The Show Bible and original script are such interesting artifacts, peppered with tidbits that never made it into the show itself. One of the more tempting aspects to these are the cut characters, specifically Tara – the younger sister of Gwenevere, and Brand – the fourth member of the Pack. For part of the celebration of these forgotten characters, we ran contests to see what fans thought they looked like.

Greg Autore on development changes the show went through from Enchanted Camelot to Jewel Riders

Part of the Kenner process is to always look for new properties or inventions.  When they arrive, Design and Marketing review them and some are picked to go to the next step to make test models and get early consumer feedback.  I was given several scripts and loved “Enchanted Camelot” when I first read it.  So, I pushed for getting it into the tests and was assigned to adapt it into a viable toy line. I was told that the production company was willing to work with us (Kenner) to make it better.  It was not until after the test results came back favorable and we decided to push forward that I met Robert Mandell and really dug into the project.

Incidentally, “Princess Tenko” was in the same round of testing, and I did make the models for that also, but it did not score as high.  Later, Mattel picked up that line but it did not perform well.

The other thing I had going for me was my imagination.  When I mentioned to my supervisor one day about, “Can’t you see there must be a Fair that Gwenevere is going to right over that hill?”  I thought everyone could do that.  My supervisor informed me, “Uh… No… that is not how MOST people think.”

Q: Why were Tara, Fallon’s Sky Dancer and the fourth Pack knight dropped too, and Guinevere, Shawn and Angelene renamed Gwenevere, Drake and Anya? (JRA note: for further information, see the Enchanted Camelot script!) I know names are given early on and change as the storyline evolves. Was this just a routine character development or was there a bigger reason like how Princess Gwenevere was changed to Starla for international adaptation?

GA: About characters dropped – if you compare the storyline of Gwen with almost any other stand alone property, it is amazingly rich. Part of the magic was how full the world was. That was important for Robert to achieve. To do that, there just is not the screen time to keep showing all the characters.

About that names – that is one of the few money influenced things. You cannot sell a toy of something if that name is already a trademark of someone else. So they went through the names they had to see what they could use and many fell out. So Kenner let them use many names they already had trademarked. Starla’s name was already explained in other writing. To clarify this, here is a story that still makes me chortle – there was never a doll of the musician named (or formerly named…) Prince. His agents tried to get the rights to the name for a toy (after all, there was a Micheal Jackson doll…) but Mattel would not release the rights they owned. “Prince” was originally registered as the name of Barbie’s big poodle! I have always wondered if that triggered him to change his name.

Greg was gracious enough to share the original design for Tara as well!

Greg Autore on Tara:

Attached are the two images I have of the Tara design.  

They are the same look but two different drawings. We probably did one one for the look of the character to send to the animation team and one to show more specifically what the doll would be sculpted to look like. I finally remembered why they were different.  The one on black was done by a different artist.  The one on white was done by the illustrator who did most of the work and all the final drawings.

It has been a few years…but if memory serves, I created that character to add into the low price assortment but ended up dropping that toy from the assortment so Robert Mandell saved the time needed to introduce a new character to do something else with.

I wanted to add her so the show would have someone of the same age that was watching the show to be a better link. That is also why I created Stacie – Barbie’s little sister.

You can also check out a few concept designs for Gwen and the other main girls.

Or check out these early designs for the unicorns!

Beyond these, most of the Enchanted Camelot items we have were Prototypes made to either focus-group-test the series or made as concept and design pieces. Check them out at our Enchanted Camelot Prototypes page!

You might think that Enchanted Camelot is a forgotten stepping stone for Jewel Riders, but seeing these documents has inspired fans to delve deep and resurrect forgotten favorites. For a special treat, check out these great Enchanted Camelot fanarts made by @wahmpyre on Twitter and the entries from our design contests!