Time Bandits: Cast, Release Date, and Everything We Know So Far About the Apple TV+ Series


We’re nearing the halfway point of 2024, and Apple is still doing its best to mimic Pinky and the Brain with world domination in mind, at least on the streaming front.

Credit where credit is due. Apple is nothing if not on-brand when it comes to quality over quantity.

There’s little doubt that some programs popping up on Apple TV + over the years have been duds, but quality duds indeed.

What Is Time Bandits About?

Apple has announced its next assault on our streaming lives by turning back the clocks to an oldie but goodie known as Time Bandits.

For the uninitiated, Time Bandits is a 1981 film by Terry Gilliam. It is a dark comedy filled with Gilliam’s bizarre filmmaking aesthetic.

Taika Waititi, Iain Morris, and Jemaine Clement lead the way as co-creators and co-showrunners.

With Lisa Kudrow (Friends and The Comeback) on board in a leading role, prepare for some serious buffoonery.

After all, Lisa is known for her goofball antics in Friends, while Taika, Iain, and Jemaine helmed What We Do In The Shadows, a hilarious take on the vampire genre.

In the original, the companions were dwarves serving “the Creator” (God).

Together, they steal a map that allows them to travel through time. They use it to enrich themselves while dragging the boy (Kevin) along with them.

Like many of Gilliam’s seminal works, Time Bandits combines surreal imagination, chaotic scenes, dark humor, morally questionable characters, perception, allegories on the absurdities of bloated bureaucracies, and crony capitalism.

Now, that’s entertainment with a message.

If you were a child the last time you watched Time Bandits, give it another go to catch some of the more subtle intricacies layered within the story.

Who Is Terry Gilliam?

Terry Gilliam is one of a kind — a rare human being with a bizarre sense of humor, a strange and ethereal imagination, and a preference for odd and extraordinary plots.

He got his start in the 1960s as an animator for a children’s show. 

Monty Python is where he truly made his name, working on cartoons and eventually live-action and comedy sketches.

His co-directing experience with Monty Python and the Holy Grail opened the door to full command of the Director’s chair for Time Bandits in 1980.

Where Can You Watch Time Bandits?

The Time Bandits TV Series will be on Apple TV+.

Will Apple TV + Follow The Original Time Bandits Story?

Time Bandits is a classic in every sense, especially if you grew up in the ’80s and enjoyed the strange, surreal, and slightly off-kilter British comedies of the time, such as the aforementioned Monty Python movies.

Judging by the press release and the lone picture of Lisa Kudrow and her fellow cast members, the storyline of the series will likely follow its predecessor, at least to a degree. 

Most people only remember Time Bandits, while Terry Gilliam’s other ’80s work, Brazil and Baron Munchausen, fly under the radar.

According to Gilliam, the latter two are combined with Time Bandits to form an “imagination” trilogy.

While that’s an interesting take on three seemingly unrelated movies, it potentially lays some groundwork.

If the first season is a success, it’s not hard to imagine a Brazil and Baron Munchausen follow-up.

However, of the two, Munchausen is probably more thematically and aesthetically related to Time Bandits. 

There’s no such thing as perfect symmetry when it comes to remakes, but Apple should have learned a lesson or two from previous failures that wandered too far away from the source.

How Many Episodes Will Time Bandits Have?

According to Apple’s press release, the storyline for Time Bandits will take place over a ten-episode run. Given that the claim is directly from the source, there’s little reason to doubt its veracity.

Succeeding seasons may be shorter, especially if the budget is as high as expected.

Apple is no stranger to spending a lot of cold, hard cash on its streaming projects. How much is on hand depends on the success of the first season. 

Apple’s official synopsis sounds like more than enough content to justify ten episodes. 

The Time Bandits witness the creation of Stonehenge, see the Trojan Horse in action, escape dinosaurs in the prehistoric ages, experience the ice age, ancient civilizations, the Harlem Renaissance, and much more along the way.

When Does Time Bandits Premiere?

We don’t have to wait, as the series debuts on July 24.

Who Stars in Time Bandits?

Lisa Kudrow will play Penelope, the leader of the ragtag group of Time Bandits.

Kudrow hardly needs an introduction.

Though she played small roles throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, she cemented her name in TV Lexicon with Friends

Friends was a gravy train on biscuit wheels until 2004, when the show finally ended. She later starred in the ironically titled The Comeback.

She now owns her own production company and is the executive producer of the TV series Who Do You Think You Are? 

Depending on how well Apple plays its hand, Time Bandits could be the biggest thing in her career since the end of Friends. 

Roger Jean Nsengiyumva will play Widgit.

Nsengiyumva is the most interesting of the bunch, considering his history.

On April 6, 1994, Nsengiyumva was an infant living in Rwanda when surface-to-air rockets were launched at the aircraft carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi.

Both were killed, resulting in a wave of chaos and death throughout the country.

A combination of presidential guardsmen, paramilitary police, the Interahamwe militia, and the Hutu militia unleashed mass genocide on the population, sweeping across the country and forcing many residents, including Nsengiyumva, strapped to his mother’s back, to flee. 

The complex political nature of the bloody conflict and the resulting genocide is better left to historians, but Nsengiyumva emerged from the storm, leaving behind his dead father as a casualty of the violence.

Fortunately, the ghosts of his homeland didn’t stop him from starring in Africa United, Informer, Tomb Raider, and You Don’t Know Me before landing the role of Widget in the upcoming Time Bandits.

Rune Temte is better known for his role as Ubba in The Last Kingdom. In Time Bandits, he’ll play Bittelig.

If you’ve seen The Last Kingdom, you probably remember Ubba, one of the less savory characters to cross paths with Uhtred Ragnarson. If nothing else, Rune Temte can play a villain. 

Born in Norway, Temte has also played in Eddie the Eagle, Captain Marvel, and A Boy Called Christmas.

He played several lesser-known roles throughout the years leading up to his casting with Time Bandits. 

He’s also had an interesting career as a Norwegian Professional Football player (soccer to American audiences).

Rachel House has a long history of collaboration with Taika Waititi.

House is a New Zealand director and actress who has worked alongside Taika Waititi in his first, second, and third feature films. 

Her director resume mainly revolves around theatrical productions, though she has a single feature film to her credit. 

Just about everything she touches turns to gold, earning the Chapman Tripp Theater Award, an Outstanding Performance Award, the New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate Award, WIFT, Best Supporting Actress, and several more. 

She’s starred in scores of film and television projects over the years and brings a wealth of knowledge, including experience as an acting coach, to some of the younger cast members on Time Bandits. 

While Kudrow is the biggest name on the project, Time Bandits will onboard several young, up-and-coming actors and actresses.

Zoe Ventoura and George Houvardas come from Prime’s series Packed to the Rafters. 

Charlyne Yi will play Judy in Apple’s Time Bandits. Kal-El Tuck will star as Kevin, the primary protagonist of the original 1981 film.

Kal-El, other than carrying Superman’s moniker around with him, is relatively unknown, having previous experience in Andy and the Band and Unseeing Evil. 

Charlyne Ying is another young actress starring in Time Bandits, though she has a more extensive portfolio than Kal-El, Zoe, and George.

Yi’s previous film credits include This is 40, Knocked Up, Cabinet of Curiosities, Lucifer, and Summer Camp Island, to name a few. 

Controversy Surrounding Time Bandits TV Series

The original Time Bandits featured little people as the time-hopping band of thieves.

The new series doesn’t feature a single person of short stature in the cast.

Recently, Abby Purvis, daughter of Jack Purvis (Wally in the original), slammed the showrunners’ casting decisions.

It’s not the best scenario to be helming an up-and-coming comedy on a major streaming platform in an industry that has suffered from similar decisions in the past.

It’s possible that Time Bandits will use forced perspective techniques to make the actors and actresses look smaller, but judging from the ‘first-look’ picture associated with Apple’s press release, it doesn’t seem likely.

Besides, forced perspective changes nothing in terms of representation.

Disney’s live-action adaptation of Snow White recently waded through a ton of controversy over the same issue.

The lack of little people in Prime Video’s Rings of Power, the 2012 Snow White and The Huntsman, and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy did not go unnoticed either.

It remains to be seen whether this will become a much bigger problem for Apple and the showrunners in the future.

That wraps up what we know about Time Bandits so far.

With a July 24th release date set, however, we’ll likely know much more soon!

Well, don’t be shy!

What do you think about the upcoming Time Bandits on Apple TV +?

Are you tired of seeing classics resurrected or disappointed in Apple’s decision to eliminate little people?

Your comments are always welcome, and someone, somewhere, at some point in time, will read them. We promise! Maybe.

As the saying goes, “Click it or crickets!” 

Thomas Godwin is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow him on X

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