New Mickey Mouse Revealed, Disney Fans Horrified

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Illustration of a classic mickey mouse, looking sad with droopy ears, against a pink striped background. he is depicted in black and white with red shorts.

Credit: Disney

A new actor has been cast to play Mickey Mouse, the face, heart, and soul of The Walt Disney Company, and longtime fans will be horrified.

A person in a Mickey Mouse costume is standing outdoors in front of a pastel-colored building with blue trim, extending their right arm. Mickey is dressed in his signature red shorts with white buttons, yellow bow tie, and black jacket.
Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

As a cartoon character, Mickey Mouse has been portrayed by numerous voice actors over the years. The Mouse was originally voiced by Carl W. Stalling, but Walt Disney himself is the most famous individual to voice the character over the decades; currently, he is voiced by Bret Iwan and Chris Diamantopoulos in various shows, shorts, Kingdom Hearts games, and Disney Parks attractions.

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However, Disney lost exclusive rights to the character at the beginning of 2024, when Steamboat Willie (1928), Mickey Mouse’s original short film appearance, entered the public domain in the United States. After decades of intense lobbying by Magic Kingdom lawyers to keep their white-gloved hands on Mickey, the “Steamboat Willie” variant of the character is now legally free for anyone to use in any project.

Of course, there are a few stipulations. Many of Mickey Mouse’s most iconic aspects, like his red shorts and high-pitched voice, were added post-Steamboat Willie, which means that Disney could still take legal action against anyone who incorporates them. In fact, Disney has all but promised that it will indeed sue anyone who takes a single step out of line.

Steamboat Willie
Credit: Disney

That is not stopping the producers of Screamboat, an upcoming horror comedy film riffing on Steamboat Willie. The official description reads:

“Screamboat follows a group of New Yorkers on a late-night ferry ride that turns deadly when a mischievous mouse begins a rampage, targeting unsuspecting passengers. The unlikely crew must band together to thwart the murderous menace before their relaxing commute turns into a nightmare.”

Variety has announced that the “mischievous mouse” in question will be portrayed by veteran horror actor David Howard Thornton, best known for portraying Art the Clown in the Terrifer film franchise.

As Terrifier‘s Art the Clown, David Howard Thornton (who took on the role after the retirement of Mike Giannelli) has become a modern slasher icon. Given that character’s clown-like black-and-white appearance and eerie silence, it sounds like he will be a natural to play Steamboat Willie as a killer.

 

A menacing figure dressed as a clown, with a white face, black eyes, and a sinister grin, stands in a dimly lit, blood-splattered room. The clown's outfit is smeared with blood, and it wears a small black hat tilted to one side.
Credit: Cinedigm

Related: Mickey Mouse Horror Projects Shot Down By ‘Winnie The Pooh’ Slasher Director

Screamboat will also star Allison Pittel,  Amy Schumacher, Jesse Posey, Jesse Kove, Rumi C Jean-Louis, Jarlath Conroy, and Charles Edwin Powell. Director Steven LaMorte says, “David Howard Thornton is bringing our mischievous and murderous take on Steamboat Willie to life like never before. I can’t wait for audiences to laugh and scream with us onboard Screamboat!”

Since the arrival of Steamboat Willie in the public domain, horror enthusiasts have been working overtime to make movies and video games featuring Mickey Mouse in the most gruesome and terrifying ways possible. Sounds like Screamboat managed to nab a big name for the Mouse this time around.

Will you see a Mickey Mouse horror film? Tell us in the comments below!

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