Monday, April 09, 2012

Marvel Animated Feature at Disney?

Speculation, always speculation.

When it was announced in 2009 that Disney had purchased Marvel, many wondered if the mouse house would adapt any of the superhero stories into animated features. When the deal was announced, CEO Bob Iger mentioned that they “talked about this internally” and that Pixar head John Lasseter had already “talked to the Marvel guys” about possibilities ...

[quoting Blue Sky:] The projects competing for 2014/2015 are the uber-secret film from Don Hall, which will be a marvelously unexpected project if it ever gets the green light, and Nathan Greno and Byron Howard’s films which are deep in development. ...

There are multiple fairy tales in development at Diz, and a person told me that Hall is developing some action thingie. But tied to a Marvel property? If memory serves, no. (But maybe this is later news. I get around so little.)

I know the fan-person crowd is always chomping to know every little bit of news that comes out of Disney, but honest to God, it isn't that exciting.

Really.

The reason it's not? Because at any given point in time, directors and story artists are developing projects. And a lot of those projects never get past the early gestation stage. (King of the Elves has been up and down the May pole multiple times. Frozen has been in and out of work four or five years at least. It was killed as a hand-drawn project, then resurrected as a c.g. fairy tale after Tangled's success. Plus, J.L. liked one of Frozen's later scripts so it moved up in line.)

The way development of animated features works: Creators dream up multiple projects and storylines. Mr. Lasseter looks at same, selects one of the projects/storylines for further development, and off everyone goes. Writers come aboard, scripts are written, and table reads of those scripts (with Mr. Lasseter in attendance) take place. Then, if Mr. Lasseter's reaction is "thumbs up," further development happens (sequence boards, story reels, more character designs, etc.) And the reels either lead to a production greenlight or not.

Before that, most everything is a candidate for a quick death. (And possible later resurrection.)

None of the above is news. The process has been pretty much the same since Hyperion/Snow White days. One difference now is that outside writers get hired on for script work, which was mostly done with in-house staff prior to the middle 1980s.

If I were more energetic, I could probably nose around and find out who's doing what and which projects are "looking good" and which not. But it's not something that is, at the end of the day, all that interesting. Projects fall on and off the tote board all the freaking time. (Tangled was in development for over a decade, with all kinds of different approaches. The only one that actually counts, when all the storyboards and script drafts and box office grosses are tallied up, is the approach that gets made.)

Disney now has more projects in different phases of development than previously. This is a good thing. But many of the incubating features won't be made anytime soon because that's the nature of development work. There are always many ideas. But only so many features can get onto a release slate.

16 comments:

Inside the Hat said...

Yep.

Anonymous said...

This isn't new news. It was even discussed here on this site previously. As usual, the fan site blue sky disney is behind the curve.

Wallie Boeaghe said...

The Blue Sky site first reported about this over a year ago, so no, they weren't behind the curve. And yes, it is true, but not what fans are thinking of character-wise. And as Steve says, it's in development, which is a long way from being made.

Steve Hulett said...

Point is, stuff goes in and out of development a lot.

"Lady and the Tramp" was in development in 1939.

"Little Mermaid" was in development in the late thirties.

"Peter Pan" was in development in 1940.

"Beauty and the Beast" was in development in 1984. For like two weeks.

Anonymous said...

Actually, blue sky disney did not report this over a year ago. It was first reported many other places, and the blue sky fan site just reiterated that. But it was mentioned here first. The project has been in active development for even longer, as Steve Hulett suggests many projects are.

Animated Response said...

Sorry Anonymous, but it has regular reports about Disney animation and it was reported in a report near the beginning of last year. Then another one that mentioned Don was directing in July of last year, an the one the other day.

So, unless you follow that blog weekly (I do, as well as several other animation sites), then you're just making assumptions. And you're wrong.

Anonymous said...

It's easy - "Big Hero 6"

They mentioned it at one of the paperman presentations

meh! said...

Not a superhero fan. I hope Disney does not do a Marvel comic thing, Marvel can do it themselves. Doesn't Marvel have their own animation studio? besides, with the whole avengers geek-wet-dream coming soon...this might be late in coming if it happens at all. Reminds me of the whole "Dinosaur" debacle. "Dinosaur" came way late when the whole "Jurassic Park" thing was over and done...

Anonymous said...

Marvel projects should never be included in the Disney Animation Canon. I also don't think Marvel should ever be in the Disney Parks but that's a whole other issue

Anonymous said...

if it is so un-interesting, why post on it ? and effectively fuel the fire. i for one like following Disney development, but at the same time i don't cry every time something bad goes down, thats how the business works, but for what it is it can be interesting an fun to observe. But PLEASE don't stone me this is just my opinion !

Anonymous said...

it's easy - power pack.

kids are going to eat it up.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Disney is doing something different and action-oriented.

Anonymous said...

Disney tried animated action films already Atlantis and Treasure Planet and we all know how those turned out

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:52 nailed it. Power Pack gets my vote too. Think of all those Disney teen stars that will do the voices so they can promote the shit out of it.

Anonymous said...

Haters gonna hate

Anonymous said...

We need more diversity in WDAS' projects. Both story-wise and style-wise.

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