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“Two engines are much better than one, you know.”

Big World! Big Adventures! is the 2018 Thomas & Friends special.



Big World! Big Adventures!, alongside the twenty-second series, marks as the third major reboot of the franchise, following the introduction of the Steam Team in the eighth series and the show switching over to full CGI in Hero of the Rails. Both productions were the masterminded concepts of Ian McCue and Micaela Winter and the result of the market research Mattel conducted with audiences around the globe.

It was about how Mattel could keep Thomas & Friends relevant in a competitive market, as well as reversing declining toy sales. The one suggestion Mattel was intrigued with came from a child declaring that "Thomas is a train but he never really goes anywhere." This evolved into Thomas travelling around the globe and learning about different cultures.


When a mischievous little racing car called Ace passes through Sodor on his way around the world, Thomas is inspired to embark on his own ambitious trip. Travelling full steam ahead across five continents, Thomas discovers magnificent new sights and experiences exciting places and cultures. Along the way, he makes friends with an inspiring and fun Kenyan engine called Nia. With so much for Thomas to learn about the world, will Nia be successful in teaching him a lesson about the true meaning of friendship? Featuring a world of wonder, curiosity and amazing animal friends, join Thomas on an epic adventure, fulfilling his dream of seeing the world!


Characters Introduced


Voice Cast

UK, AUS and NZ

US and CAN


Bonus Features



  • This film ties in with the twenty-second series.
  • From this film-onward the lighting changes brighter.
  • This special takes place between Journey Beyond Sodor and the twenty-second series; as a result this is the first production under the new rebrand.
  • This is the third musical special the first being The Great Race and the second being Journey Beyond Sodor.
  • This is the longest direct-to-DVD film to date at a total runtime of eighty minutes. It is also the second-longest Thomas production after Thomas and the Magic Railroad at 85 minutes (110 minutes if left uncut).
  • The spine on the DVD release of this special reuses an image of Thomas from the previous film, Journey Beyond Sodor.
  • Yvonne Grundy, Patricia Kihoro, Peter Andre, Dan Li, Gabriel Porras, Su-Lin Looi, Rachael Miller, Abubakar Salim, Richie Campbell, Akiya Henry, Chipo Chung and Dona Adwera join the voice cast.
  • This special is the first of several things:
    • The first special in the US not to get released on DVD until a year after.
    • The first film fully animated by Jam Filled Toronto.
    • The first Thomas & Friends production not to have Mark Moraghan involved since he was cast as the narrator in 2013.
    • The first time a new Steam Team member is introduced since the seventh series episode, Emily's New Coaches.
    • The first time where engines numbered 1-12 speak since Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, as well as being the first time since said special to introduce a new engine to work on Sodor.
    • The first special in which Rasmus Hardiker and Matt Wilkinson voice Bill and Ben since Jonathan Broadbent's departure from the series at some point in 2017 or 2018.
    • The first special in which the Sodor Steamworks does not appear since its introduction in Hero of the Rails. However, it was present in the background of a portrait of Victor from the thirteenth series episode, Percy's Parcel inside Sir Topham Hatt's office. A portrait of Thomas from the thirteenth series episode, Creaky Cranky is also seen there.
    • Yong Bao, Carlos, Vinnie and Rajiv's first appearances since their debuts in The Great Race.
    • Yong Bao, Big Mickey and the Thin Clergyman's first speaking roles in a special. It also marks Yong Bao's first speaking role in the main franchise.
    • Sam's first appearance in the series rather than an online promotional video.
    • The first DVD released in the US since Christmas on Sodor.
    • This is the first US DVD since Calling All Engines! not to have Spanish.
    • This is the first US DVD since Rusty to the Rescue not to have language selection menu.
    • The first DVD released in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland since Wobbly Wheels and Whistles.
    • The first special dubbed in Danish, Finnish and Swedish since Tale of the Brave.
    • The first special dubbed in Norwegian since Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
  • This special was also the first time for many crew members:
  • This special also marks the only occurrences of a few things:
    • The only appearances of Kwaku, the Brazilian Tank Engine, Beau, Natalie, the American Diesels, Angelique, Tony, the Other Rally Cars, Kobe, Carter, Ace's Driver and the Cowboys and Cowgirls to date.
    • The only film to date in which Samson, Bert, Rex and Mike do not appear since their introductions in the eighteenth series and Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
    • The only film to date where Connor appears, but without Caitlin.
    • The only film to have Micaela Winter as producer, as well as the last special written by Andrew Brenner, prior to their departures from Mattel in 2018.
    • The only film to date to not have any narration.
  • This special marks the last of a few things:
    • Donald, Douglas, Timothy, Sam, Vinnie, Mavis, Stafford, the Sodor Brass Band, the Fat Clergyman, the Male Puppet Show Entertainer, the Ffarquhar Stationmaster and his Family's last appearances to date, although Stafford is only mentioned in the twenty-fourth series episode, Kenji on the Rails Again as well as Timothy was only indirectly mentioned in the twenty-second series episode, Hunt the Truck.
    • Connor's last appearance until the twenty-fourth series episode, Thomas and the Royal Engine.
    • Mr. Percival, the Small Controller, and Oliver's last appearances until the twenty fourth series episode, The Great Little Railway Show, as well as Oliver's last speaking role to date.
    • The final Thomas film and feature-length special to date, as the only future "specials" are double-length episodes, starting with Steam Team to the Rescue.
    • The final DVD release and therefore the final physical home media release in the US.
  • This special aired on TV:
    • On Nickelodeon USA on 7th September 2018 and aired on Treehouse TV on 13th October 2018. The special later re-aired on Nick Jr. on 19th April 2019.
    • On ABC Kids in Australia on Christmas Eve 2018.
    • On Milkshake! in the UK on New Year's Day 2019.
  • A CGI recreation of a scene of the second series episode, Thomas Comes to Breakfast is used during the song, "Where in the World is Thomas?" as references to said episode, the first series episode, Down the Mine, the second series episode, Percy Takes the Plunge, the fourth series episode, Thomas and the Special Letter, the seventh series episodes Percy Gets it Right and Something Fishy, the seventeenth series episode, Thomas' Shortcut, the nineteenth series episode, Who's Geoffrey? and the specials, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Blue Mountain Mystery and Journey Beyond Sodor are made.
  • A reference to the special, The Great Race is made.
  • A reused voice clip of Rob Rackstraw from the Meet the Contenders videos is used for the Senegal Race Announcer.
  • Pictures of Arlesburgh from the third series and of Donald and Douglas with the pirate ship from Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, along with an edited picture of Skiff and Sailor John from the latter, with John made to look like another sailor and Skiff being recoloured red with his face removed, appear inside the Sailor's Cafe in San Francisco.
  • Reskins/colours of Edward, Henry, Oliver, Ryan, Raul, Dart, Ivan, The Mainland Diesels, Frankie, Bert, Judy/Jerome, Beresford, Carly and Big Mickey appear.
  • Bertie is heard singing Somebody Has to be the Favourite before Ace races past him.
  • The scrap engine that Beau was talking about was a reskin of Bert's model.
  • Ace breaks the fourth wall at the beginning of the film by winking at the camera and saying "G'day!" to the audience.
  • Sailor John's model is reused for one of the patrons in the Sailor's Cafe at San Francisco.
  • The special was nominated for the 2019 Kidscreen Awards for the Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie.
  • This special aired in a private cinema on the NSW/VIC border of Australia.
  • A deleted scene shows that Carlos mistook Ace for a sun worshipper and shows him what their faces look like once he deploys the Aztec calendar around his face. The view made Ace wait anxiously for the green signal. It is unknown why it was cut.
  • According to The Fan Carpet, the film took twenty-one months to produce, nine months to animate and took over 9,500 hours of animation to complete. As such, this production took the longest time out of any Thomas & Friends production to date, to which possibly started in mid-2016 and ended in February 2018.
  • The US DVD is the last released under the name of Mattel Creations before being renamed to Mattel Television.
  • During "Wake Up," Thomas could be seen with grey smoke forming a cloud above him, a reference to the gloom cloud of many cartoons.
  • Ajim's Owner can be heard singing a verse of "This is the Way the Ladies Ride" during the Sahara Desert scene.
  • In prototype biographies of Beau, it is said that Thomas saved him after he was abandoned. However, this is sort of swapped, as Beau saves Thomas after his crash.
  • An official Thomas & Friends magazine incorrectly states that Thomas meets Rebecca on the Mainland in the film. This idea was most likely dropped during production.


  • When Ace jumps over the fence near Flying Scotsman, his front bumper clips through the rails as he lands. When he lands, his wheels stop moving.
  • When Thomas derails the tankers, his side rod does not move, resulting in both it and his wheels being out of place.
  • In one shot at Knapford, the brakevan behind Gordon's fish trucks disappears.
  • A workman uncouples Thomas from the tankers when they are rerailed, but in the next scene, he is still coupled to them.
  • When at Knapford Station, the fish trucks are shown to have no faces, but at Vicarstown Station they have gained faces.
  • At Vicarstown Station, Connor does not have pupils.
  • When Thomas enters Knapford Station, the town's road is lopsided.
  • "Where in the World is Thomas?" has a few animation errors:
    • When Percy enters the yard at the beginning of the song, a loading bay can be seen beside him but in the next shot, it is gone.
    • In the overhead shot of Knapford Yards, Norman, Stanley and Stafford's eyes are not animated and appear closed.
    • During Toby's line in the song, Henrietta is grey instead of orange.
    • Ben's body has been raised noticeably higher compared to his chassis so his buffers are touching the ones on the truck he was pushing.
  • After Nia says "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings," Thomas' train disappears before the scene changes. Thomas' very long train in this scene has a brake van at the end of the train, but for the rest of the time it is on screen, it is absent.
  • In one of the ending scenes of the song ,"Wake Up!", you can see an Oil Tanker's wheel go through its own buffer beam when Nia gets a close-up.
  • When Kwaku speaks to Thomas, the paint on Thomas' right tank is chipped.
  • In the wide shot of Guanabara Bay upon Thomas and Nia's arrival, the train pulled by the grey tender engine has a narrow gauge brake van.
  • In the wide shot of Thomas looking at all the coffee trucks, a lamp in the background is floating.
  • Ace clips through a bush when he is racing in the Amazon.
  • When Carlos whistled, no steam emits.
  • Kobe tells Sir Topham Hatt that he loaded Thomas onto the ship to Brazil, when earlier in the special, the faceless grey crane near him was shown to actually be the one loading the engines.
  • In some scenes in Colombia in "Free and Easy," Thomas' footplate is blue instead of white.
  • When Beau says "Happy trails", there is no whistle sound.
  • In the wide shot of Sir Topham Hatt talking to Fernando at Guanabara Bay, Cassia and the pink hammerhead crane are missing.
  • When Yong Bao saves Thomas and Nia, the chain between the latter two clips through his snowplough.
  • In the UK dub when James and Emily say, "Welcome to Sodor!" they have their US voices.
  • The audio for the US DVD is in a lower pitch.
  • The US DVD subtitles credit the line "He wouldn't last an hour!" to Annie as opposed to Dowager Hatt.
  • In the German audiobook, the narrator refers to the Flying Scotsman as "the Flying Kipper" and Tidmouth Sheds is called a "garage."
  • When Thomas returns to Knapford with Nia, he passes the switching tracks repeatedly.
  • When Beau arrives to rescue Thomas and Ace, his flatbed is in front of him. But when Thomas is preparing to leave, Beau's flatbed now is behind his tender.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Um Grande Mundo de Aventuras
Chinese 湯馬仕大電影之世界大冒險
Croatian U Novoj Avanturi
Czech Velká dobrodružství ve velkém světě
Danish Stor Verden! Store Eventyr!
Dutch Grote Avonturen In De Grote Wereld
Finnish Suuri Maailma! Suuret Seikkailut!
French À la découverte du monde!
German Große Welt! Große Abenteuer!
Hebrew !הרפתקאות מסביב לעולם
Hungarian Nagy világ, nagy kalandok!
Italian Grandi Avventure!
Japanese Go!Go!地球まるごとアドベンチャー
Norwegian Stor Verden! Store Eventyr!
Polish Wielki Świat! Wielkie Przygody!
Romanian O Lume Mare! Aventuri Mari!
Russian Кругосветное путешествие!
Serbian Veliki svet! Velike pustolovine!
Spanish Un Gran Mundo de Aventuras (LA)
Un Mundo Lleno de Aventuras (SPN)
Swedish Stor Värld! Stora Äventyr!


View content



  • Nia
  • Yong Bao
  • Beau
  • Ace


  • Thomas and Ace the Racer
  • Nia


  • Thomas and Ace the Racer
  • Nia and the Elephant
  • Yong Bao the Hero
  • Boat and Sea Set
  • Turbo Jungle Set
  • Around the World 3-Pack

Motor Road and Rail

  • Yong Bao
  • Thomas and Nia and Ace Go! Go! Adventure Set


  • Nia
  • Yong Bao

Motorized Railway

  • Nia
  • Raul
  • Railway Rainbow Mountain Set
  • Raul's Busy Day

Railway Pals

  • Nia
  • Yong Bao

Mega Bloks

  • Nia
  • Travel Sticker Thomas


  • Nia
  • Ace

Capsule Plarail

  • Leaf Funnel Thomas
  • Nia
  • Yong Bao
  • Racing Thomas
  • Grass Painting Thomas
  • Ace
  • Coffee Bean Truck

DVD Boxsets


Trailers and Featurettes

External links

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