Beloved Disney Legend Sadly Found Dead Moment Before Major Premiere

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Credit: Disney

The man behind one of Disney’s latest and greatest stories has tragically passed away.

If you own Disney+, you are privvy to the hundreds of stories that The Walt Disney Company has created over the past 100 years. Not only are all of the classics from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Peter Pan and beyond available for subscribers to enjoy, but additionally, new creations and stories have been developed for the streaming service at it continues to compete with Netflix.

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Credit: Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

When Disney CEO Bob Iger created Disney+, his acquisitions of Marvel and Star Wars laid the groundwork for the company to expand into stories that were not necessarily headed to the silver screen. Then, out came shows like The Mandalorian, Loki, Ahsoka, Hawkeye, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and more.

Disney also started developing shows based on novels like Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

One of the most recent creations that will debut in 2024 is Shardlake. The series will come out on May 1, 2024 and is set in the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century. The show is based off of the hugely popular Tudor murder mystery novels by C.J. Sansom.

Sadly, Sansom passed away days before the show’s debut.

As noted by Deadline, Sanson “passed away on April 27 after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2012.”

Sansom’s publisher, Pan Macmillan, announced his death yesterday on X and its website.

“I shall miss him hugely, not only as a wonderfully talented writer who gave joy to millions, but as a dear friend of enormous compassion and integrity,” said his longtime editor Maria Rejt. Rejt called Sansom an “intensely private person” who always wished to be published “quietly and without fanfare”. “He worked tirelessly on each book, never wanting to disappoint a single reader,” she continued.”

The Disney+ UK X account also shared a post acknowledging the passing of Sansom shortly after.

RIP C.J. Sansom (1952 – 2024) Bestselling author of the beloved SHARDLAKE series of novels.

Responses to the post are filled with fans who are gutted that Sansom has passed away just as the world was beginning to learn of his incredible work.

C.J. Sansom’s Shardlake series consists of seven historical mystery novels featuring Matthew Shardlake (played by Arthur Hughes). Shardlake, a hunchbacked barrister, tackles crimes amidst the treacherous political climate and religious upheaval of King Henry VIII’s reign.

Sansom’s legal background as a lawyer for the underprivileged in Sussex, inspired by his history PhD, informs the series’ themes. The first book, Dissolution, published in 2003, was adapted for BBC Radio 4. Sansom was reportedly working on an eighth novel, Ratcliff, at the time of his passing.

Sansom is also the author of Dominion, a novel that presents an alternate history scenario in Britain following a hypothetical Axis victory in World War II, and Winter in Madrid, a thriller set in 1940 against the backdrop of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

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Credit: Disney+

C.J. sold the rights to his books 20 years ago, and now, reviews are in for his Disney+ series; one review states, “Fortunately for fans of the books, and for historical drama shows in general, Shardlake the show proves worth the wait. This is a tightly-plotted, gorgeously atmospheric piece of television: one that delivers a welcome change of pace from the platform’s previous whimsical jollies of Renegade Nell and The Artful Dodger.”

The show is said to have strong performances across the board, with palpable tension that can be felt on screen. While Sansom will not see the premiere officially, he certainly saw the show prior to its debut and can rest knowing his story is about to be told in such a large way.

All of the different Disney+ titles surrounding the logo
Credit: Disney

During the last quarter of 2023, Disney+ experienced a decline of 1.3 million subscribers following a substantial price increase implemented the previous autumn. However, the streaming service was able to reduce its losses by $300 million in the October-December period.

“Just one year ago, we outlined an ambitious plan to return The Walt Disney Company to a period of sustained growth and shareholder value creation,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a letter to shareholders.

“Our strong performance this past quarter demonstrates we have turned the corner and entered a new era for our Company, focused on fortifying ESPN for the future, building streaming into a profitable growth business, reinvigorating our film studios, and turbocharging growth in our parks and experiences.

“As we build for the future, the steps we are taking today lend themselves to solidifying Disney’s place as the preeminent creator of global content. Looking at the renewed strength of all of our businesses this quarter – from Sports, to Entertainment, to Experiences – we believe the stage is now set for significant growth and success, including ample opportunity to increase shareholder returns as our earnings and free cash flow continue to grow.”

With numbers returning to normal, Shardlake will be another series to help Disney+ remain on its financial track.

All of us at Inside the Magic send our condolences to C.J. Sansom’s friends and family at this time. 

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