Fans Accuse Disney of Using AI in Promo Image Amid Studio Backlash

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Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger in front of Cinderella Castle

Credit: Inside the Magic

The use of artificial intelligence in film and television has become such a source of contention in the last year alone that it was the driving force behind the recent Hollywood strikes.

The strike started in May as the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) failed to come to an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group representing the major Hollywood and streaming studios like Disney, Paramount, Netflix, Amazon, and more. It grew when the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined them in July and the strikes are just now starting to come to a conclusion.

Bob Iger in front of the Disney logo
Credit: Disney

The WGA has just reached an agreement with the AMPTP while SAG continues its negotiations. The main fighting points behind the strikes were increased wages and streaming residuals as well as guarantees that the use of AI technology would not be allowed to infiltrate the film industry.

In the middle of these negotiations, it was revealed that the latest Marvel/Disney+ series, Secret Invasion, had created its opening sequence using all AI art. This reveal outraged fans and industry professionals, but it appears as though Disney might not have learned its lesson.

Recently, the second season of the hit show Loki released its first episode on Disney+ to great reviews and high expectations. However, a promo image of the show was accused of featuring AI art, leading fans to argue that Disney seems to have no issues continuing to use the controversial technology despite the months-long strikes against it.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki Laufeyson in 'Loki'
Credit: Marvel Studios

In a now-deleted post on X/Twitter from @DisneyAPromos, a promo image was shared for the upcoming Disney animated film Wish. Starring Ariana Dubose as Asha and Chris Pine as King Magnifico, Wish is being released as part of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary and will feature a mix of 2D and 3D animated elements.

The full trailer for the film was recently released to mixed responses, with many claiming that the animation looked half-rendered and undeserving of being the celebratory film for Disney100. With emotions already running high among Disney fans for the upcoming release, the image recently shared was quickly deleted due to backlash.

The image featured Asha and her group of friends with a darkened silhouette of their kingdom, Rosas, in the background. X users were quick to point out that several parts of the background image seemed to be AI created, including branches that grew out of leaves and other weird elements.

Asha being surrounded by butterflies and purple light in Wish
Credit: Disney

The Disney Animation Promos account states in its bio that it is not affiliated with The Walt Disney Company, although it does share updates and promo images from Disney and upcoming Disney projects. Apparently, the image in the now-deleted post wasn’t an official Disney image and was edited by another user on X.

“guys, the image wasnt AI generated. it was enhanced using AI by whatever twitter user posted it. this is the original picture from disney’s website lol you can see a lot more detail that was wiped by “AI” trying to make it more high quality,” revealed @ROADWRECKS.

“i definitely do not blame people for thinking disney would do that though (especially since they have with marvel, specifically with secret invasion’s intro),” they continued. While the image has been proven to be fake, people are still upset, given Disney’s recent track record with AI art.

Erm Disney has been using a lot of ai art for their shit lately, first with the secret invasion intro, then the Loki 2 poster and now the wish promo poster?? Just how many more jobs are they gonna take from artist….” asked @Maddsaic.

Disney 'Wish' featuring Asha and friends
Credit: @ROADWRECKS on Twitter

“It isn’t unreasonable to immediately think that AI was used in a promo image for a Disney project, especially considering what they did with Secret Invasion & Loki S2. Different content, but same company. I want Wish to succeed and do good! For the artists and their legacy!” stated @krunchykobold.

Thankfully, it seems as though Disney isn’t to blame this time, although general responses imply that it wouldn’t be unexpected of the studio to try. With Disney being such a studio giant, especially one that was at the forefront of negotiations, it’s disheartening to see them leaning into AI art and artificial technology for any reason.

What do you think of Disney’s recent use of AI art? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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