Magic Bloom (partially found early Winx Club pilot; 1999)
Winx Club is an animated franchise created by the Italian comic artist Iginio Straffi. It debuted in 2004 and quickly became an international hit, eventually attracting the interest of the American giant Viacom, which now co-owns the show's animation studio (Rainbow S.p.A.) along with Straffi. Before it became the success it is today, however, Rainbow spent several years developing the show. These testing stages resulted in the production of an unaired pilot episode, of which only small pieces have seen the light of day.
Magic Bloom (1999-2001)
The first incarnation of the series was titled Magic Bloom and was in development from 1999 to 2001. Here, the main characters were younger teenagers and the character designs resembled those of classic European fairies. 20 seconds of footage were released as part of a video interview with Iginio Straffi, in which he briefly discusses the circumstances surrounding the pilot's production.
Sometime around early 2002, Rainbow held a test screening of the pilot in order to gauge audience reactions. According to a 2003 article, the test viewers "loved the series' concept, but found its look less than enchanting." Iginio Straffi himself was unsatisfied with the pilot, recalling in 2016 that the end product "looked like just another Japanese-style cartoon ... nothing like [the modern] Winx." Despite already gaining the support of broadcasters and investing over €100,000 in the pilot, Straffi scrapped it and started retooling the series from the ground up. He hired an array of new designers to change the pilot's "dull" designs and color palette.
The original character design sheets from Magic Bloom (source unidentified) have been uploaded to the Internet.
At the 2018 Lucca Comics & Games convention, the transformation scenes from the Magic Bloom pilot were shown as part of an exhibition commemorating the 15th anniversary of Winx Club. At around 33 seconds, this is the most footage from the pilot that has been released so far. The exhibition also revealed that Stella's original name was Sasha (see here for the video).
Winx: Just Fairies! (2003)
A small poster with a logo reading Winx: Just Fairies! was on Rainbow SpA's website in early 2003, before the show's premiere. The image shows the finished designs of the three characters who appear on it (Bloom, Sky, and Icy). While this image is the only known material that uses this title, fans have identified footage from early promotional material (early Italian DVDs and pre-release teasers from the 4Kids Entertainment dub of the show) that shows early footage that is absent in the finished show, indicating that Winx: Just Fairies! may have been the intermediate "draft" of the series between its progression from Magic Bloom to the final Winx Club series.
- 2013 interview with Iginio Straffi. Retrieved 12 Mar '19.
- Rainbow, Scholastic Ent. turn to style specialists for design innovations. Retrieved 12 Mar '19.
- 2016 MoviePlayer interview with Iginio Straffi. Retrieved 12 Mar '19.