Disney’s Once Upon A Studio Premiers Tonight, But Not Without Controversy

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!

From the Walt Disney Company:

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…

© Disney

But AV Club reports that there is controversy.

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.

7 thoughts on “Disney’s Once Upon A Studio Premiers Tonight, But Not Without Controversy

    1. Could Disney should have used Robin Williams’ Aladdin genie replacement – Dan Castellina (Homer Simpson voice) – to voice the genie in this short? This short even used archival voice footage from several deceased Disney voice people in this.

  1. (suggestion: an alternate version of this “Once Upon a Studio” without any voice for any animated character (note: an alternate version of this kind could be described as more timeless than the one broadcast this past Sunday (the fifteenth day of this October))

    1. (note: pardon the end of the message directly above this one being without an additional parenthesis)

  2. On another subject, I was watching for various older characters (especially Horace Horsecollar, who made it), but did not see, Bre’r Rabbit, Br’er Bear or Bre’r Fox, though, given the multitudes in the crowd shots at the end, they very well could have been there. Inasmuch as they exist outside of the banned feature they come from (having starred in their own Sunday strip for well over three decades–1945-72), and there’s nothing inherently racist about their adventures, I doubt that anyone would have objected. I hope someone runs a key taken from a viewing of the cartoon in an IMAX showing.

    I also was gladdened to see that no Pixar characters were included, since that would have clouded the reasons for excluding the Marvel (except for Baymax,, for whatever reason), Lucas, Henson and other non-Disney animation creations like Davy Crockett, Zorro and the Shaggy Dog. That crowd was already more than huge. without including another massive group of recent characters, some of which debuted well before Disney bought them.

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