Disney+ Cancelled A Project That Would Have Paid Tribute To Walt And The Company's Early Roots

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Disney+ is the home of a wide variety of shows that can't be found elsewhere thanks to the company’s claim on some of the biggest franchises in entertainment history, but a show that would have paid tribute to its early roots and Walt Disney himself has been cancelled. A project that would have shed light on Mickey Mouse’s predecessor isn’t moving forward, so streaming fans won’t get to see this particular take on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. 

For any who haven’t heard of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, he was a character created by Walt Disney back in the 1920s and made his animated short debut in 1927, a year before Mickey Mouse debuted in the Steamboat Willie short film. While Mickey Mouse is an icon in pop culture, Oswald isn’t nearly as well known, and his lack of recognition could have changed if a developing project hadn’t gotten the axe. 

Emmy-winning director, screenwriter, animator, producer, and voice actor Matt Danner took to Twitter to confirm that the Oswald series is no longer in development, and dropped some details about how far along the project was before getting cancelled, including support from former Disney Chairman of the Board Bob Iger. Danner wrote: 

Iger was very serious about it. The Legend of the Three Caballeros team was going to follow up with an Oswald show for steaming. Scripts written, designs done, animation test in hand, and a pilot in production. It was beautiful! Then we got broken up and scattered to the wind.

Based on Matt Danner's comments, the team that brought Legend of the Three Caballeros (based on the 1944 animated movie featuring Donald Duck called The Three Caballeros) to Disney+ was pretty far along in the process of bringing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to streaming. The series would have been a fitting tribute to Walt Disney by bringing his early character – which only became a Disney property in 2005 after a trade with Universal – to a prominent platform. 

According to What’s On Disney Plus, Matt Danner’s mention of the team getting “broken up” is in reference to the Legend of the Three Caballeros team separating after Disney dismantled the Disney Interactive video game division, resulting in the people working on the Oswald project going in different directions. So, the “beautiful” Oswald show that far enough along in production that an animated pilot was in the works isn’t happening. 

Matt Danner continued his message on social media to clarify that he wanted to “share how serious” the love for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is within Disney, and his confidence that a project featuring the character will be “coming your way.” His messages were intended to confirm that his team’s project “has not been in development for a few years” and simply intended to explain “how passionate and serious myself and the folks at Disney are about Oswald.”

Only time will tell if and when another Oswald project makes its way to Disney+ now that Disney owns the character again. Bob Iger’s support was seemingly a key part of Matt Danner’s series moving forward when it was still in production, but Iger is stepping down as Disney Chairman of the Board as of the end of 2021. Longtime Disney Board member Susan Arnold will fill that role heading into 2022. Even though this Oswald series isn’t moving forward and Disney+ has been cancelling more shows toward the end of the year, there’s still a lot to look forward to coming to the Disney+ streamer in 2022 and beyond

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).