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Released back in 1988, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of the most influential films of the last 30 years, as it ushered in a new interest and a renaissance in the animated genre, which still flourishes to this day. Since sequels have been just as popular as animated films in Hollywood for many years, you might have thought that Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 would currently be high on the list of priorities over at Disney. But director Robert Zemeckis has quashed these hopes, instead admitting that there's little to no chance of Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2, even though he insists he has the perfect script for it.
Robert Zemeckis made this revelation to the Telegraph (via Comicbook.com) while out promoting his latest directorial effort Allied, the World War II spy thriller starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. After teasing what Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 would entail, Robert Zemeckis then candidly confessed that Disney owned the rights to the project, and they have no interest in it. Robert Zemeckis explained:
It's easy to see why Disney might have an issue with Jessica Rabbit, who straddled the line between anthropomorphic bunny and sex icon a little too closely for the famously family friendly studio's comfort. In fact, over the years, the latter trait of Jessica Rabbit has easily come to eclipse the former, which is understandable when you take just one glance at the picture below.
But what would Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 have included? Well, according to Robert Zemeckis, the "magnificent" script for the follow-up moves on from the world of film noir in 1947 to the "next few years of period films," specifically the 1950s. "More a continuation than a sequel," Robert Zemeckis also insisted that Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 would include a digital version of Bob Hoskins, rather than recasting the legendary actor, who died in 2014, while all of the other toons would return, too.
There have been various incarnations of a follow-up to Who Framed Roger Rabbit ever since the original was released to a stream of critical plaudits back in 1988, as well as grossing $329.8 million at the box office. J.J Abrams worked on a version, while a prequel written by Nat Maudlin would have seen Roger Rabbit traveling to Nazi Germany to both fight in the war and to try and save his kidnapped future wife Jessica, which he eventually does with the help of his fellow Toon platoon.
But executive producer Steven Spielberg left the project to focus on his own animated company Dreamworks, while Sherri Stoner and Deanne Oliver's rewrite focused on the sub-plot from the original draft of Roger Rabbit searching for his mother, but this time the film would have revolved around Roger Rabbit's inadvertent rise on Broadway and in Hollywood. The script was entitled Who Discovered Roger Rabbit.
However, a spiraling all-CGI budget and the insistence that audiences' tastes had changed soon led to the film being cancelled by Disney CEO Michael Eisner around 2000. Over the last 16 years, there have been numerous utterances from cast and crew about their hopes for a prequel or sequel for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but Robert Zemeckis' comments suggest it's just never going to happen.