Over the years, J.J. Abrams has taken us to New York City, mysterious Pacific islands, post-apocalyptic Chicago, and outer space. And he’s still not done widening his horizons. In fact, his next project may be his biggest departure yet.

Abrams is making his first foray into animation with the acquisition of Beastlies, with the intention of creating a movie and TV series based on them. But wait — what exactly are Beastlies? Hit the jump to find out.

Beastlies, it turns out, are a line of colorful little monster figurines hand-sculpted by artist Leslie Levings and sold through her Etsy store. That’s it — that’s all there is to them, as far as I can tell. There doesn’t seem to be any much of a backstory or mythology in place, unless Levings has some ideas she just hasn’t gotten around to revealing. Which means your guess is as good as ours when it comes to what their on-screen iterations will be like.

Levings confirmed her plans with Bad Robot via Twitter. According to a spy for Latino Review, the idea is to turn the Beastlies into “the modern day equivalent of the Smurfs,” so it’s likely that whatever comes of them will be family-friendly. Both an animated series and a movie are in the works. Let’s hope he means the Smurfs we used to like back in the day and not the grating CG/live-action hybrid film released last year.

One thing we do know for sure is the Beastlies are really, really, really cute. Flip through the gallery to get a taste, or see many more at Levings’ Flickr page.

Etsy is certainly an unexpected place for Hollywood to look for inspiration, but I’m just glad we’re not dealing with another Hasbro boardgame or ’80s sitcom or what have you. The fact that the Beastlies are so obscure and have so little background could actually turn out to be a net positive, since it gives the Bad Robot team more leeway in deciding what they want to do with the characters.

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