Tale of the Brave is an upcoming Thomas & Friends special slated to be released 2nd September 2014.
A bridge on Thomas' Branch Line is closed, so Thomas and Toby have to go and work at the Clay Pits. When they first arrive, they can see no one, but after catching sight of one of the twins, they chase them to the other side of the quarry. However, Bill and Ben are in the mood for pranks. They trick Thomas and Toby into being coupled to a line of trucks, which are already coupled to a new oil-burning engine named Timothy from the other direction. Thomas and Toby pull the trucks forward, jerking Timothy backwards suddenly. As the twins run off laughing, Timothy warns Thomas and Toby to be careful as a storm closes in and the rain makes the clay cliffs unstable.
As Thomas and Toby are going along, a flash of lightning reveals what looks like giant footprints on the slope above, but a landslide has begun and Thomas and Toby cannot stay to investigate. Bill and Ben push Thomas and Toby to safety just in time.
The next morning, the Fat Controller gathers a few of his engines at the shunting yard for a very important meeting. They pay tribute to Bill and Ben, who rescued Thomas and Toby from the landslide at the clay pits; while he is praising them, Gordon and James mumble with disapproval. As the rest of the engines leave, Thomas, Toby and Percy are the only two left in the yard. Thomas and Toby explain the footprints to a curious Percy. The Fat Controller tells Thomas and Toby to go to the docks, but they are worried about the footprints.
Before Thomas and Toby go to the docks, they return to the Clay Pits to investigate the footprints, but are interrupted by a new steam shovel named Marion. She tells them not to go past the danger sign indicating the fallen clay walls, and they cannot investigate.
Thomas and Toby go to the docks, where they meets Percy. Percy is still curious about the footprints, but Thomas and Toby still don't know what made them. Percy begins to worry that there may be a monster on Sodor. He leaves with a goods train as a fog rolls in, but while he is rolling along he sees a mysterious sloping object, which he believes to be a monster, approaching him. Percy is so scared that he reverses all the way back to the docks. He yells that there is a monster, startling Cranky, who drops a load of sandbags onto Thomas and Toby. The "monster" appears out of the fog, revealing himself to be a steam engine named Gerald, who has earned the nickname "Gator" due to his sloping water tank.
Percy is still paranoid that night when he is taking the mail, and he mistakes almost everything around him for a monster. He ends up staying all night keeping a lookout for monsters. The next morning, at the Clay Pits, Thomas and Toby are scared by Bill and Ben.
At the docks, Percy is extremely drowsy as he backs down onto a train of trucks. As they are coupled to him, he mistakes the impact of his buffers against those of the trucks for a monster trying to grab him and runs off without his train, dragging the shunter's pole behind him. Gator stops Percy, who almost lets the secret about the footprints slip.
Thomas and Toby are at the Clay Pits and begin to wonder if the footprints were a prank by Bill and Ben. They ask them if this is the case and, offended that they are apparently ungrateful that they risked their lives for them, they puff away.
Percy tells Thomas and Toby about his paranoia, prompting James to make fun of Percy. Percy is still afraid of the dark, and asks Thomas and Toby to take the mail for him that night.
The next morning, the bridge on Thomas' Branch Line is repaired, and he goes to collect a very excited Annie and Clarabel. James rolls in at the same time, complaining that he has been sent for scrap, quickly correcting himself as having to collect trucks from the Scrapyard on Edward's Branch Line.
On the way to the Scrapyard, Percy rolls up beside James, who continues to tease him. Percy explains about the footprints, leaving James with his doubts. Not paying attention to where he is going, he suddenly swerves into the Scrapyard, where he sees what he believes to be a monster, which he quickly finds out is a pile of scrap loaded onto a truck by Reg, the new scrapyard crane. James, embarrassed, puffs away with the truck.
At the docks, Percy finds Gator, who has missed his ship, and has to help out while he waits for another one. To pass the time, he is to collect Oliver's trucks from Duck's Branch Line. Percy thinks Gator will be afraid of monsters, but Gator explains the story of how he became so brave:
He was working in the mountains delivering supplies to a village. This required him to cross a bridge, but he was (and still is) afraid of heights, and realizing that the villagers needed those supplies, crossed the bridge. Percy is in awe. Inspired by Gator, he decides to take the mail that night.
Meanwhile, James has to take the "Flying Kipper" to fill in for Henry, who is staying overnight on the mainland after taking a heavy goods train. He is annoyed to be working in the dark, and gets more annoyed when teased by Emily and Porter.
On the way to Oliver, Gator is so pleased to have a job, that he doesn't notice his lamp flicker off. Gator pulls up in front of Oliver, who shouts out in surprise. Oliver explains that he couldn't see what Gator was as he didn't have a lamp on. Gator realises that his lamp has turned off and his driver turns it back on again. Gator goes to turn around on the loop and meets Toad at the end of the train. Toad introduces himself and soon they set off.
Gator and Toad have not gotten very far, when Gator's lamp turns off again. Toad explains that travelling at night without a lamp is very dangerous and it needs to be turned back on. Gator stops to have his lamp turned back on near a junction. Then, James approaches the junction with "The Flying Kipper". He cannot see Gator properly and, because of Gator's unusual shape, mistakes him for a monster, causing him to run off as fast as he can while Gator's driver walks up to him and turns on his lamp. James continues speeding across the island, missing a red signal, which leads to him hitting a set of points which are set against him, coming off the rails, and crashing into the pond on the Fenland Track. Percy and Gator then pull up, and cannot help but laugh.
Later as Gator and Toad trundle along the line, the lamp suddenly goes out again. Gator decides not tell Toad as he doesn't want to stop and make himself late. However, Percy puffs past with the mail train and asks Gator where his lamp is. Toad tells Gator that the lamp needs to be turned back on, but Gator is sure it doesn't matter; he has to be back at the docks by morning. Gator approaches a junction which worries Toad. The junction leads to the gravel pits and Toad thinks there might be gravel on the tracks. Toad sternly tells Gator to slow down, but Gator ignores the brakevan. Toad has had enough and applies his brakes. Gator has to stop otherwise he'll give Toad a wheel flat. Once they've stopped, Toad stubbornly says that he refuses to go any further until Gator's lamp is turned back on. Gator looses his temper and decides to leave Toad behind. Toad knows it is dangerous to travel without a brakevan and so does Gator, but that doesn't stop him leaving Toad at the junction.
As Gator goes through the junction, there is gravel on the tracks, just like Toad had said. Gator grinds to a halt and realises that Toad had been right all along. Gator reverses back to Toad who is still fuming. Gator apologises to Toad who says he had only been doing his job. Gator is upset; he now knows he can't travel without a working lamp so he won't make it back to the docks on time. Toad suddenly has a brainwave and offers to lend Gator one of his lamps. Gator is pleased. The lamp's lens is changed from red to white and put on Gator's bufferbeam. Gator is able to take the train all the way to Brendam Docks without any more incidents.
At the docks, the dock manager is relieved to see Gator who arrives just in time. Gator explains that he'd had trouble with his lamp until Toad lent him one. The dock manager is pleased with Toad and praises him. Toad says he will be sad to see Gator leave when his ship comes in, but Gator says that it won't be for a while yet. Gator then apologises to Toad again and explains that he was in a bad mood due to everyone thinking he's a monster. Gator then realises that Toad had been the only engine on the island who hadn't mistaken him for a monster at first sight. Toad admits that he had been a little startled by Gator, but he is not easily scared. Then, a loud ship's horn makes them both jump. This causes Gator's original lamp to start up again which they both find rather humourous.
Later that morning, Percy is glad to realise that Gator must now be a member of the North Western Railway. James, on the other hand, is still miserable from the night before. At the station, Henry thanks him for taking the "Kipper" for him, but cannot help but remark that James is supposed to deliver the fish, not throw them back into the water, something everyone finds hilarious. Seeking revenge on Percy, James makes a plan.
As Percy is making his mail run, he is unaware that James is pushing the Scrap Monster toward him from the opposite direction. He sees the pile of scrap as it leans towards him, and knowing it is not Gator, runs away in fear. He returns to the sheds, still pulling his mail trucks, as he yells that he saw a monster, and is teased by all of the big engines except for Emily, who tries to tell them to stop. Percy begs Thomas to tell them about the footprints, but Thomas, still unaware of what made them, stays silent, leaving Percy and Toby extremely hurt.
The next morning, the Fat Controller asks James to investigate a truck of scrap left on the main line; he is unaware that this is the "monster" that had scared Percy. Meanwhile, Percy is delivering the previous night's mail due to bringing it back to the sheds with him, when he sees Gator. The two engines pull their trains side by side. When they reach the Suspension Bridge, Gator is too scared to cross, but is able to pluck up courage when Percy crosses the bridge. Just then, Thomas passes, but Percy is still mad at him; Annie and Clarabel tell Thomas to give Percy time to feel better. Percy expresses his happiness for Gator not going away, but Gator tells him that he is, in fact, leaving by ship that night. Meanwhile, Thomas and Toby see James pushing the Scrap Monster and realise that James had used Reg's "monster" to scare Percy. Thomas and Toby urges James to apologise, leaving the big red engine feeling guilty.
At Knapford Station, the Fat Controller speaks severely to Percy for abandoning his mail duties the night before. Suddenly, he is wanted on the telephone and walks off to take the call, telling Percy to stay where he is. Just then, Thomas and Toby pulls up on the other platform. Percy is still furious at Thomas for not believing him about the monster, promising that he will soon be as brave as Gator and working in a faraway land, and puffs away just as the Fat Controller returns.
As Percy is finishing with the mail train, James tries to apologise to him, but the little saddletank does not forgive him, vowing to prove his bravery. That evening, Percy is missing and his mail trucks are still waiting on a siding, and James explains to Thomas and Toby that he had attempted to apologise. The Fat Controller tells Thomas and Toby to look for Percy and take his train. Thomas and Toby are worrying about their closest friend when they sees Gator, who explains that he had wanted to say goodbye to Percy, as he is leaving Sodor.
At the docks, Percy is being loaded onto Gator's ship as well by a very doubtful Cranky. Percy explains that he wants to run away from his fears and work in a faraway land with Gator, who does not think this would be brave, leaving Percy to ponder his decision.
Thomas and Toby return to the sheds to find that Percy is still missing. James jokes that Percy is probably hunting for monsters, prompting Thomas and Toby to trick James to go to the clay pits with him to find Percy. Just then, Gator's ship's horn honks, and Thomas and Toby remember what Percy had said about being as brave as Gator and going away with him, and decides to go to the docks. As he rushes into the docks, the ship is already leaving, so Thomas and Toby urge Cranky to stop the ship with his hook. He manages to do so, but several of his bolts come loose and he is leaning over. Salty warns Cranky that he will be pulled overboard. Cranky, holding on for dear life, hears the ship's alarm as it turns around to free him. Hearing that stopping the ship was because of Percy, he and Gator explain that Cranky had unloaded Percy a half hour ago, leaving Thomas and Toby to wonder where he is now.
Percy has gone to the clay pits. His puffing wakes up Bill, who accuses Ben of making puffing noises in his sleep. Just then, Thomas comes in yelling for Percy. The twins both believe that they can even hear what Timothy is dreaming now.
James, who had left Thomas and Toby behind as the latter had gone to the docks, puffs up next to Percy, who is about to pass the danger sign at the site of the landslide where the footprints had been found, wanting to face the monster himself. James tries once again to apologise, and realising that Percy is not going to forgive him, decides to prove how much more brave than Percy he is. He slowly moves into the danger zone, blowing his whistle loudly in an attempt to provoke the monster, only to cause a footprint to fall near Percy, making the little green engine realise that what Thomas and Toby said about the mysterious footprints was true. However, worst was to come when the vibration of James' whistle also causes another landslide. As Thomas and Toby try to get the two engines' attention, several rocks fall, forming a barrier between him and the two engines. Suddenly, James sees a dinosaur skull, which he believes to be the head of a monster. Frightened, he tries to reverse, but gets stuck. Percy urges James to go forward, and after James is hesitant to do so, Percy decides that he must be brave as he buffers up to James to get him to safety. The landslide is out of control by this point, destroying most of the quarry. As James escapes, Percy is swept up by the landslide. The dinosaur skull from earlier begins to fall towards him, but it is caught by Marion, saving the little tank engine's life. Marion explains that the skull is a fossilized skull of a Megalosaurus. She explains the concept of fossils to a very intrigued Bill and Ben before digging Percy out.
Percy has to go to the Steamworks to be fixed and is done being repaired when Thomas, Toby and James roll up and apologise. Percy is happy to see his three best friends as they go to the Town Hall for the unveiling of the dinosaur. Emily then rushes in and tells the three engines that Gator is leaving. Percy is confused as Gator was supposed to have already left. Thomas tells him that there was a "holdup" as the engines rush to the docks. Percy and Toby are just in time to say farewell to Gator as his ship leaves, remarking that it takes courage to say goodbye to a friend. Gator's ship disappears on the horizon and the four friends puff away into the distance as the credits roll.
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Sir Robert Norramby
- The Dock Manager
- Some Workmen
- Wellsworth Station Speaker
- Duck (does not speak)
- Rosie (cameo)
- Stanley (cameo)
- Stafford (cameo)
- Rocky (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- The Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Blond-haired Boy (cameo)
- Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- The Great Railway Show Judge (cameo)
A Knapford station worker, possibly the stationmaster, also speaks.
- Shunting Yards
- Sodor China Clay Company
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Brendam Docks
- Sodor Shipping Company
- Crocks Scrap Yard
- Tidmouth Tunnel
- M.C. BUNN
- Sodor Steamworks
- Fenland Fields
- The Fenland Track
- Gordon's Hill
- Town Square
- Duck's Branch Line
- Sodor Suspension Bridge
- Crosby Lake
- Gator's Railway
- Animal Park (mentioned)
- Great Waterton (mentioned)
- Vicarstown (mentioned)
- Sir Topham Hatt's Office (mentioned)
- Thomas' Branch Line (mentioned)
- The Mainland (mentioned)
UK and AUS
- Mark Moraghan as the narrator
- Ben Small as Thomas, Toby and Troublesome Trucks
- Jonathan Broadbent as Bill and Ben
- Steven Kynman as Duck and Porter
- Joe Mills as Oliver and Toad
- Teresa Gallagher as Emily, Annie and Clarabel and Rosie
- Clive Mantle as Gator
- Olivia Colman as Marion
- Tim Whitnall as Timothy and Reg
- Mike Grady as Sir Robert Norramby
- Keith Wickham as Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy, Salty, Stafford and The Fat Controller
- Matt Wilkinson as Stanley, Kevin and Cranky
- Mark Moraghan as the narrator
- Martin Sherman as Thomas and Percy
- Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon, James Kevin and Sir Topham Hatt
- William Hope as Edward and Toby
- Jules de Jongh as Emily and Rosie
- Ben Small as Stanley and Troublesome Trucks
- Teresa Gallagher as Annie and Clarabel
- Steven Kynman as Duck
- Olivia Colman as Marion
- Keith Wickham as Salty and Stafford
- Joe Mills as Oliver and Toad
- Mike Grady as Sir Robert Norramby
- Jonathan Broadbent as Bill and Ben
- David Menkin as Porter
- Tim Whitnall as Timothy and Reg
- Glenn Wrage as Cranky
- This movie was originally called Monster of Sodor.
- This special went through several title changes until it is settled with the final title. The working titles of the special were called "Tracks to Bravery" and "The Monster of Sodor".
- This special marks the first of several things:
- The first time Duck's Branch Line has been mentioned since the third season.
- The Sodor China Clay Company, Tidmouth Tunnel and Crock's Scrap Yard's first appearance in full CGI.
- The first time Great Waterton has been mentioned since the twelfth season.
- Oliver's first appearance since the twelfth season episode Gordon Takes a Shortcut and his first appearance in full CGI.
- The first Australian DVD to feature Mr. Perkins.
- The first special to feature a member of the Steam Team as the main antagonist.
- The first special in which the credits show who voiced each character.
- The first special since Thomas and the Magic Railroad where Diesel does not appear at all.
- The first special in which Victor does not appear since his debut in Hero of the Rails.
- The first special to have Clive Mantle and Olivia Colman in the voice cast. Tim Whitnall also officially joins the voice cast having been in the eighteenth season beforehand.
- This special marks the last of a few things:
- The last special where Ben Small and Martin Sherman are part of the voice cast. John Hasler took over the role of Thomas in the UK while Joseph May took over the role of Thomas in the US. Christopher Ragland took over the roles of Percy in the US and the Troublesome Trucks in both the UK and the US.
- The last special to date in which Kerry Shale voices James and Sir Topham Hatt in the US. Rob Rackstraw took over the role of James in The Adventure Begins and the role of Toby in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure while Keith Wickham took over the role of Sir Topham Hatt in the same special.
- The last special to feature Marion Edwards as the executive producer.
- The last special narrated by Kalle Øby in Norway.
- The special was shown in Hoyts cinemas in Australia and New Zealand during July 2014, and in British Vue cinemas in late August 2014.
- This special was shown on PBS in the US on November 3rd, 2014 and on ABC4Kids in Australia on November 16th, 2014, January 11th and July 5th, 2015. In the PBS version, several scenes were edited or cut out to fit the time slot.
- This special aired on the Mexican TV channel "Canal 5" on November 23rd 2014, and December 21st, 2014, and on the channel "Discovery Kids" on November 30th, 2014.
- This special was broadcast in UK televisions on Channel 5's Milkshake! on both New Years Day and Easter Sunday, 2015.
- Several references are made in this special:
- The scene of the Fat Controller's silhouette walking on-screen in the intro is similar to that of the intro from classic anthology television series, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".
- The angle of James rushing through Wellsworth with the Flying Kipper is the same as when James rushed through Maron in Dirty Objects.
- The opening premise of the film, where Thomas' Branch Line is closed due to bridgework and Thomas is sent to work with Bill and Ben is very similar to the Railway Series book, Thomas and the Twins.
- When Sir Topham Hatt talks to Percy, he is called away with the exact same line ("Excuse me, sir, you are wanted on the telephone".) as his butler says in Thomas in Trouble, and his response ("Bother that telephone!") is also the same.
- When James has his accident with The Flying Kipper it is similar to Henry's accident from Something in the Air. Henry even remarks that James was "supposed to deliver the fish, not throw them back in the water" which is similar to what Sir Topham Hatt told Henry in the same episode.
- When Percy tells Thomas "Guess what!" he says, "Umm... let's see... have you been asked to deliver a giant balloon on a flatbed?". This is a reference to Up, Up and Away!
- When Percy stops at the sign warning engines about landslides, the narrator says that Percy had trouble with going past danger signs before. This is a reference to Percy Takes the Plunge.
- Marion makes a reference to William Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet" when she catches the fossil of the dinosaur skull in her bucket and exclaims "Alas, poor dinosaur", similar to what Hamlet said as he held a human skull in his hand and said, "Alas poor Yorick, I knew thy well".
- This marks the only time to date in the CGI series in which the trucks have British accents.
- The US release is slowed down to 24 frames a second and adds an extra two minutes to the special's length. As a result, the audio is distorted. Only the iTunes version is presented with pitch adjustment.
- The eighteenth season episode, Toad's Bright Idea takes place in this special.
- Reused voice clips from The Afternoon Tea Express are used, as Stephen's voice can be heard saying "Careful!" at one point.
- In the Dutch version of the film, the "The End" text at the end is white instead of yellow.
- Like King of the Railway, the first trailer had some different footage from the final film, such as:
- In the movie, it is foggy when Gator is first introduced, however in the trailer, no fog effects are used. Likewise, the scene where Percy mistakes Gator for a monster has reduced fog effects.
- In the movie, it is stormy when Thomas finds the footprints at the Clay Pits, but in the trailer, it is nighttime and no rain effects are used.
- When Timothy is first introduced in the movie, the sky is dark and cloudy, but in the trailer, it is sunny and little to no clouds are seen. Also in the first trailer, there are no trees on the cliff behind Timothy, and his trucks are red.
- In the movie, Thomas and Percy had their lamps on when the second landslide at the Clay Pits happens, but in the trailer, their lamps are off.
- Alternative angles are used for when Marion and Reg are shown in the trailers, and for one of the scenes where Cranky swings his hook out to the ship.
- In the first trailer, Marion lacks her protective corners, which were later added in the final movie. Because of this, her lamp was slightly moved.
- In the first trailer, Gator has thin, white lining on his front end and has coloured rivets on his filler cap, but in the final movie, the lining becomes gold and thicker and the rivets are painted black.
- The scenes where Percy says "Wow, you're brave Gator" and when Gator says "You might be braver then you think" are different in the final film.
- In the second trailer, Reg can be heard saying, "Now there's a surprise!" in a different tone than he did in the actual film.
- During the special announcements at Knapford station, it says "Would the parents of a small boy named Christopher, please come to the stationmaster's office and collect him". This may be a reference to Christopher Awdry.
- In Finland, this special was released before the seventeenth season premiered, this means that the audience may have not known who Porter was.
- A few characters are not listed in the credits with the voice actors who voice them, such as:
- Edward is not shown in the UK end credits with the characters voiced by Keith Wickham.
- Gordon is not shown in the US credits with the characters voiced by Kerry Shale.
- The Troublesome Trucks are not shown in the UK credits with the characters voiced by Ben Small.
- Also, two character pictures show different pictures instead of pictures of the actual characters, such as:
- William Hope's list has a picture of a dinosaur footprint instead of Edward in the US credits.
- Mike Grady has a picture of the dinosaur skeleton instead of Sir Robert Norramby in the US credits, this is corrected in the UK credits.
- During the prologue, the bridge that James crosses over is actually a road bridge.
- In the scene of Thomas arriving at the Clay Pits, Timothy can be seen in the background with his trucks. However in the next scene, the trucks have disappeared. They later reappear when Thomas comes to pull them.
- In the Norwegian dub, Timothy is incorrectly described as a diesel engine, despite the fact that he is a steam engine.
- When Thomas puffs away from Marion, his trucks are red, but in the next shot they are green.
- Gator uses the US term "cars" when he discusses his new job with Percy in the UK dub.
- In Gator's flashback:
- The bottom half of Gator's bufferbeam is black instead of red.
- Gator's middle lamp-iron and brakepipe are missing.
- During the beginning of the flashback, Gator has three trucks, but when he crosses the bridge, he gains a fourth truck.
- When James falls into the lake, Gator and Percy are shown to have turned around.
- When Percy leaves Tidmouth Sheds with the mail train his brake van is grey, but when he is out on the tracks his brake van is orange.
- Percy's eyes spread apart when he's backing down on his train at Brendam Docks.
- When the Fat Controller arrives at Tidmouth Sheds, the image reflecting in the bumper of his car does not match up with its surroundings.
- On the UK DVD, the subtitles for Tale of the Brave read "On Tale of the Brave," when it should say "Our Tale of the Brave."
- When James screeches to a stop at the clay pits, his leading wheels spark, but these are not fitted with brakes.
- The way in which Gator is lifted at the end is impossible, as there is no way the winch could be positioned between his wheels.
- When Timothy says to Thomas "See you met Marion then," he is shunting flatbeds, but in the next scene he is shunting normal trucks.
- When Duck and Oliver whistle in the shot where they pass each other, no steam is emitted.
- When Sir Topham Hatt gets out of his car at Tidmouth Sheds, he gets out the passenger's side door, but no one is seen in the driver's seat.
- In the opening shot after the title card, when the engines are gathered, Bill and Ben's wheel sets are not rendered on their chassis' properly, as their cylinders appear to be protruding through their buffer beams. Also in this scene, Stanley seems animated too low, making it seem like his wheels are inside the rails.
- When Percy is at Knapford, his piston appears to be protruding through his cylinders.
- When James is pushing the Scrap Monster, he is not coupled to the flatbed.
- When Percy rushes back into the docks, Porter comes through warning everyone about the runaway trucks, and he's on the track next to Thomas. But then when Gator arrives, Salty pulls up next to Thomas on the same track Porter was on, but facing the other direction.
- When Bill and Ben push Thomas clear of the avalanche, neither of them are puffing steam.
- When Gator chuffs past Percy, the seventh truck in his train is not on the rails.
- It's never explained why Gator was on Sodor to begin with.