Disney Villain Legend Leads All-New Movie

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Andreas Deja with Scar

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

Andreas Deja is responsible for some of the most unforgettable Disney characters, and now the animation legend is releasing an original film, Mushka (2023), inspired by Disney’s early years.

Mushka and their owner in Deja's new film.
Credit: Andreas Deja

Andreas Deja, the designer behind famous Disney villains like Jafar, Scar, and Gaston, should be a name most animation buffs know. An official Disney Legend, Deja’s skilled hand was responsible for creating several iconic faces in the studio’s backlog of animated features. Now, he leads the charge in Mushka.

Related: Disney Displays New Immersive Experiences

Described on the film’s official site as,

“The story of the Ukrainian girl Sarah who raises a Siberian tiger during the 1970s. She calls him Mushka, when she discovers an “M” shaped birthmark on the tiger cub’s forehead. The word Mushka is a Russian term of endearment, like sweetheart.”

“As the tiger grows into adulthood, Sarah finds out that a few shady people in the village plan to kill and sell him for profit. In an effort to save him, she takes Mushka deep into the forest to the same spot where she found him as an orphaned cub. Sarah hopes that her tiger will stay in the forest and learn how to be a wild animal, far away from any humans.”

Related: Disney Animation Enters Oscar Race After Multiple Flops

At first glance, the film looks like a classic Disney production, displaying the studio’s influence on Deja’s work and artistic styles. For fans begging Disney to adopt their traditional techniques againMushka feels like an answered prayer.

sherman brothers with walt disney
Credit: D23

Deja isn’t the only Disney Legend involved in the production, as the site also announces Richard Sherman of the Sherman Brothers, responsible for dozens of Disney songs, composed a new musical theme for Mushka. A video interview between Deja and Sherman can be found here.

Related: Disney’s Beloved Mickey Mouse Officially Replaced, New Version Debuts

Taken at face value, Mushka has a Disney Legend leading the animation and the story, a style inspired by the works of Walt Disney like 101 Dalmatians (1961), and it features an original song by one of the Sherman Brothers. Long story short, it’s a Disney movie without the Walt Disney Company.

Inside the Magic reached out to Andreas Deja for comment, and the Disney Legend had this to say about the project.

“As excited as I was at the beginning of the film’s production, I was also scared because I had not done anything like this before. At Disney so much creative work is already done for the animators. The storyboards, the layouts, voice recordings etc. But here I found myself being involved in all aspects of animated film making. I worked with the composer Fabrizio Mancinelli, songwriter Richard M. Sherman, background painter Natalie Franscioni Karp, a symphony orchestra in Vienna and Skywalker Sound. These were all amazing experiences. I just had to learn how to make the leap from animator to film maker. What an incredible journey this has been!”

As of now, Mushka is slated to premiere in 2023, but little is known about an official release date at this time. That said, animation and Disney fans undoubtedly have a treasure to look forward to from some of the studio’s most famous creators.

Inside the Magic reached out to Andreas Deja for comment, but no response was received at the time of publishing.

Do you think Deja could give Disney some severe competition? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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