Once Upon a Studio debuts Sunday, October 15, at 8 p.m. ET/PT as part of
ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney: Disney’s 100th Anniversary Celebration!
The all-new original short Once Upon a Studio takes place at the end of the work day at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California, just after the artists, technologists, and storytellers head home. Disney Legend Burny Mattinson—who worked at The Walt Disney Company for 70 years, longer than any other employee—is the last person to leave. When the coast is clear, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse step out of a picture on the wall and ask their animated friends to take an official 100th anniversary portrait. Hand-drawn characters, such as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Merlin, intermingle with CG characters, such as Baymax and Rapunzel, as they comically scramble to assemble for the group photo.
If that sounds like an ambitious endeavor… that’s because it is…
Controversially, though, one of those cartoon characters is the Genie from Aladdin, complete with “new” (never-before-heard) dialogue from Robin Williams.
This is controversial for a couple of reasons, the obvious one being that Williams died in 2015 and therefore couldn’t consent to this himself, but also that Williams supposedly put a line in his will specifically preventing Disney from reusing outtakes from his Aladdin recording sessions for new movies featuring the Genie. As it turns out, that’s exactly what Disney did in this situation, though the studio seems eager to confirm that it got permission from Williams’ estate in order to do it.