Disney Deletes Classic Character From Film to “Protect” Kids, Updates Revealed

in Disney, Entertainment

Bob Iger with Disney+ in the background

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney has been making some big movies in the world of entertainment as of late. While some of these decisions are seemingly doing well for the company, Bob Iger, the returning Disney CEO, and the ABC man himself, the man who is meant to know how to make entertainment successful (and did during his first tenure — before Bob Chapek) has been ultimately failing as box office numbers dwindle, and profitability on these latest projects are nearly non-existent.

DIsney CEO Bob Iger MasterClass Business Strategy and Leadership
Photo: Masterclass

Originally, when Disney entered their live action “era”, where they decided to bring back older animated films in live action form, many were excited. We were able to see classic tales like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Cinderella, and more reimagined in a new way. Not only did this reignite the nostalgia that adults once felt while watching these films as a kid in their animated, but it refreshed each story in a new way so that today’s younger generation could continue to understand these classic stories.

We also have seen Disney move in a much more diverse direction within their live action films, and even with some of their newer animated movies.

The ongoing discourse surrounding inclusion and diversity within The Walt Disney Company remains a prominent and evolving subject.

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as Belle and Beast in 'Beauty and the Beast'
Credit: Disney

A few years ago, Disney launched the Reimagine Tomorrow initiative, acknowledging past shortcomings with the statement, “We haven’t always got it right.” This shift was visibly demonstrated as the cast member dress code transitioned from the traditional “Disney Look” to afford greater self-expression at work.

In the realm of theme parks, significant changes have been set in motion, such as the re-theming of Splash Mountain to Princess and the Frog at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.

While discussions about implementing this change globally within Disney Parks have surfaced, no official confirmation has been issued. The decision stems from the need to address the undertones and themes of Song of the South, the film on which Splash Mountain was originally based.

It’s important to note that not all Disney fans have embraced this change, highlighting the ongoing challenges in reaching a consensus on such matters.

john boyega star wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

Prominent figures, including Star Wars actor John Boyega, have criticized Disney for their treatment of diverse actors in the franchise. Boyega expressed concerns about the underdevelopment of his character, Finn, in comparison to Caucasian characters in the Star Wars series.

Although this issue may not be directly linked to theme parks, the representation of Finn as an animatronic character in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge raises questions about diversity within The Walt Disney Company.

We then saw Disney take their first big leap with Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid. Disney made the somewhat bold decision to cast a Black actor in the role of Ariel, a predominately Caucasian character from her animated form (and theme park representation). While some were thrilled to see this change, others laid indifferent, others were upset, and others wondered why Disney did not just focus on actually creating more characters of color as an original instead of deriving their color from an already “white” character.

Similar issues were brought up with the casting of Rachel Zegler in the upcoming Snow White film, which has now been pushed back to a 2025 debut. Zegler is a Latina actress, and Snow White, as we know, has skin as white as snow, as she is the “fairest” of them all. While these changes are not negative, the live action films have taken a financial plummet in terms of box office revenue.

Rachel Zegler, The Hunger Games
Credit: Rachel Zegler, via Twitter

Now, with Disney’s most recent animated movie Wish, we can see that the company listened to those asking Disney to just create original characters of color with Asha, the titular character who is an Afro-Hispanic teenager. 

Disney has still been accused of “pandering” to too many of their audiences, which appeals to everyone, and no one, all at the same time. One of their recent live action announcements that has stirred the pot yet again was the news of Bambi being reimagined. The 1942 will be one of Disney’s next live action films, bringing another original story to the current century. Bambi is certainly one of the lesser-known stories for children, so this is a great way for Disney to share it once again.

Bambi exploring the woods with friends
Credit: Disney

However, Disney did announce one major change. 

The story of Bambi is propelled by the tragedy of his mom’s death. At the beginning of the film, we see his mom hunted, which is a harrowing image, but gives Bambi the push he needs to become independent at a young age and go off on the adventure that we see unfold. While sad, this death is essential to the plot.

Disney has decided to remove the mother character from the film in order to protect children watching, which essentially destroys the plot and character arc of Bambi. 

Recently, Collider shared more updates on the film. The publication spoke on the debut date, noting, “The film likely won’t be arriving until 2025 or 2026 at the earliest, and a Spring release would probably be the most appropriate. Disney does have dates already set for March 7 and May 23 in 2025 as well as March 27 and April 17 in 2026, so the film could land on one of those dates.”

Bambi talking to his friend
Credit: Disney

The also shared that Bambi would likely be a Disney+ release, “The Bambi remake will almost certainly be coming to Disney+ eventually, but the question of when still remains. It’s honestly fairly difficult to say if Bambi will be getting a theatrical release or skip theatres entirely to go to Disney+. Bambi is certainly a recognizable brand, but it may not be relevant enough today for a big theater debut.” They compared it to the Lady and the Tramp live action, which did not make it to theaters.

We also saw more information on who is involved in the project. Disney announced in June 2023 that “the live-action Bambi remake would be directed by Sarah Polley, who had just recently won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay thanks to her work on Women Talking.

In the writing department are “Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Captain Marvel), Micah Fizerman-Blue (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), and Noah Harpster (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil).”

Bambi with her friend
Credit: Disney

Lindsey Anderson Beer (Pet Sematary: Bloodlines) was previously attached to write the script and provided some insight into a lighter approach for the updated film in an interview:

“I do think there is a way to update Bambi and our take on it was… did give a little bit more of a scope to it. And I just think that to be able to bring it to life for kids these days in a way that maybe they relate to a little bit more would be of service to the original.”

While this idea may have some merit, the “lighter” note also removes the depth of the film. Beer is no longer attached to the project, however, which could mean Disney will rethink their choice to remove the mother role.

Kacey Musgraves will be composing some of the music, and Chris Weitz (known for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Paul Weitz (notable for Fatherhood), and Andrew Miano (recognized for The Farewell) will produce the film under their production company Depth of Field.

Funny enough, this “tamer” Bambi is being created, all while a horror version of the classic tale titled Bambi: The Reckoning is being made (not by Disney, of course), which will surely be gruesome.

Overall, fans are not thrilled to see Disney make such a big character change to the film and for now, it appears that they are still on track to do so following this latest update.

Do you think that Disney is making a mistake removing Bambi’s mother storyline from the film?

 

in Disney, Entertainment

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