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Niko & The Way to the Stars (Finnish: Niko – Lentäjän poika) is a 2008 computer animated Christmas film directed by Michael Hegner and Kari Juusonen. It revolves around a young reindeer named Niko who must overcome his fear of flying by heading to Santa Claus' fell to save him and his fleet of flying reindeer from a pack of wolves. The film was a Finnish production with co-producers in Denmark, Germany and Ireland. It was produced by Anima Vitae, Animaker Oy, A. Film A/S, Ulysses Films, and Magma Films.[1] The animation was produced in Finland, Germany and Denmark, with post-production carried out in Ireland.[2] A 45-minute television edit in American English, was produced in the United States for CBS under the title The Flight Before Christmas. A sequel, Little Brother, Big Trouble: A Christmas Adventure was released in October 2012 in Finland. It is one of the most expensive Finnish films.


The animation took place in three countries; initial animation production and effects were produced in Finland, Germany and Denmark. Rendering and Lighting took place in Finland, and much of the post-production was carried out in Ireland. The American version of the film re-casts Norm Macdonald as Julius and Emma Roberts as Wilma.


Character Dub Actor American Release Original Actor
Niko Andrew McMahon Olli Jantunen
Julius Morgan Jones Norm Macdonald Hannu-Pekka Björkman
Black Wolf Alan Stanford Vesa Vierikko
Essie Susan Zelouf Minttu Mustakallio
Wilma Aileen Mythen Emma Roberts Vuokko Hovatta
Smiley Gavin Morgan ?
Saga Carly Baker Juulia Rönkkö
Prancer Paul Tylak ?
Leader Patrick Fitzsymons Tommi Korpela
Grandpa Patrick Fitzsymons Aarre Karén
Santa's Flying Forces Morgan Jones, Paul Tylak and Patrick Fitzsymons ?
Oona Susan Slott Elina Knihtilä
Lockdown Frank Welker ?