Thunderbirds: IR was to be a new series of Thunderbirds, produced in Hypermarionation. Mixed with CGI elements, the show would have had its characters animated using various styles of puppetry. The show would have also coincided with the original series 40th anniversary but as of 2005 however, it was cancelled. The cancellation was largely due to the merger of Granada with Carlton, but might also have been partly due to the criticism received by the trailer.
According to director Steve Clarke, IR was going to feature 10 Thunderbird craft (including returning craft FAB 1, FAB 2 and the Mole). Another concept was that the cockpits in the Thunderbird craft would be interchangeable with other Thunderbirds.
Asylum were commissioned to make a pilot by Carlton Television for an updated version of the classic Thunderbirds series. Kate McConnell and David Warren from Asylum designed the characters costumes and vehicles that were used in the pilot as well as the other Thunderbird craft designs. The characters were made in silicone and had animatronic heads and hands. Rigs were built to allow the puppets to walk when connected to the puppeteers, all the models in the pilot were built in house at Asylum, including the oil tanker, lighthouse and Thunderbird 1.
In 2005 a QuickTime trailer emerged of the Thunderbirds reboot. The trailer started with clips of the classic TV show of Thunderbirds 1, 2, 3 and 4 Launching from Tracy Island and from pod 4 of Thunderbird 2. Each launch clip had a text title featuring "In 1965" "The world witnessed" "The Launch of a Legend" "And now..." and then it cuts to a stormy weather to reveal the Lighthouse keeper in so much trouble as he struggles to hold on to the lighthouse that is preventing him from falling. The lighthouse is leaning after a ship collides into the smaller cliffs and then 'Kaboom!' one of the containers in the ship explodes as it was struck by Lightning. The Lighthouse keeper lost his grip and starts to fall from the lighthouse, was it all too late? When suddenly two missiles were launched and grabbed on to the side of the lighthouse and then it creates a safety net to catch the lighthouse keeper saving him from death. Then it moved on to revealing the new look of Thunderbird 1 saving the lighthouse keeper from falling to his death. The lighthouse keeper looked up and with a relief he calls out "Thunderbirds!". After that Thunderbird 1 flies off after a successful rescue mission. The text title returns featuring "Thunderbirds are back!" to reveal the Hood using his powers featuring 'The wrong hands' logo behind him. Another scene appears with Scott on a dangerous mission running away from the rotating spikes chasing him. The next title appears 'Thunderbirds are bigger!' to reveal a gigantic futuristic mechanical machine making it's way forward through the desert while the person runs for his life out of the way in time before getting crushed. The third title shows 'Thunderbirds are wilder': Scott is on a dangerous mission to get to the core in time before it blows up possibly something to do with a volcano mission as Thunderbird 1 races through it. Scott calls out "Almost to the core now, just a little bit closer!" next voice we hear is either Jeff or Virgil calling out "Scott, Pull up it's too risky! The whole place is going to blow up in 10 seconds" then Scott finishes the conversation with "Good I only need 9". It cuts out to show the final text revealing 'Thunderbirds are go!'. The logo appears and then within a few seconds it blows up, revealing that the series would be coming out in 2005 and finally we see Thunderbird 1 as it 'zooms' through the blue sky. It ends with Scott dogging lasers in the Hood's temple landed safely and then he says "Look, no strings!".
These shots of the Thunderbird 1 model from the trailer footage shows of how Thunderbird 1 would have looked like for the series.
This model shows how the design of Thunderbird 2 would have looked like for the Series. The model also included an Illuminating Cockpit that also features a miniature figurine of Virgil Tracy, Navigational beacons and Spinning Turbines air intakes housed within the model.
This is a concept drawing of the Pod version of Thunderbird 6 that would be launched from Thunderbird 1 and then the pod would split to reveal Thunderbird 6 (also known as 'The Thunderbike').
This is one of the Tracy Island concept Drawings that features the Swimming Pool Area that Thunderbird 1 will be launched.
Behind the Scenes
Portfolio and Plans
Making the Puppets
The show was shelved until further notice.
In August 2008 The Sun reported that Gerry Anderson was planning to make a CGI Thunderbirds (unknown if it's still called IR) and was in talks with ITV (who own the rights to Thunderbirds). But when Anderson expressed his desire to be involved with the project ITV stopped talks.
Eleven months later ITV would still not release the rights...
In 2015, ITV released a successful CGI remake: Thunderbirds Are Go!