Friday, January 11, 2019

A Roger Rabbit Sequel Is Sitting At Disney

Rumors and talk are back again. Will there ever be any new projects for Roger Rabbit? Talk of a sequel started right after the movie saw a successful release in 1988, with a target set for around the early 90's. Then, due to a possible feud between Roger Rabbit's co-owners (Disney's Michael Eisner and Amblin's Steven Spielberg) Roger almost vanished from the face of Disney entirely. It's not something that was ever fully explained. Here's a timeline to take a look back at all the talk, serious or rumor, about the Roger Rabbit sequel.

Back in 2007, Roger Rabbit producer Frank Marshall discussed the possibility of a sequel coming to be. Serious talk of the sequel began in 2009 when Robert Zemeckis talked to MTV News about his interest in the project.

"Well, I'll tell you what is buzzing around in my head now that we have the ability, the digital tools, and performance capture, is I'm starting to think about Roger Rabbit."

The next year in 2010, Empire Magazine spoke with Roger Rabbit producer Don Hahn, who couldn't comment but suggested something may be in the works. Later that same year, Bob Hoskins (Eddie Valiant) suggested the possibility of a mo-cap version of himself in the sequel, “I don’t know how it’s going to work out. The format they want to do is the same as we did for A Christmas Carol. The thing is, it looks like a cartoon, so how do you put a cartoon in the middle of a cartoon? I can’t figure out how they are going to do it."

What Bob Hoskins is referring to is the use of computer generated humans - such as in Zemeckis' movies Beowulf, The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol. Since then this method has greatly improved and we have seen live action movies use digital techniques, such as de-aging Robert Downey Jr. for Captian America: Civil War or bringing back actor Peter Cushing for Star Wars: Rogue One.

Then in 2011, Kathleen Kennedy stated that the movie had stalled. “We’ve attempted a script, but it’s not really moving forward right now,” said Kennedy. “That’s not to say it won’t in the future, but there’s no spotlight on it now.” It's worth mention that Disney acquired Lucasfilm the following year with Kennedy at the helm.

By the end of 2012, with things looking grim, Robert Zemeckis allegedly told Showbiz411 he was still interested in the Roger Rabbit sequel, even with the news of Bob Hoskins retirement from acting.

Around that time, rumors spread around the internet that there was a rerelease of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 3D planned. However, those rumors did not pan out, and Disney's 3D films started to be cancelled. All this news prompted Indiewire to inquire about the long-rumored sequel, to which Zemeckis stated, “I'm not planning any sequel. All I know is there a draft for a sequel sitting at Disney [written by Peter S. Seaman and Jeffrey Price]. It's good, but I don't know what's going on, it's just a great script sitting.”

Sadly, in 2014, Bob Hoskins passed away. It seemed there wouldn't be much of a chance, or a point, for a Roger Sequel without him.

With no news on a sequal afterward, in 2016 J.J. Abrams (now off of a new Disney Star Wars movie) revealed how he almost worked on a Roger Rabbit movie of some kind. "It was a whole thing. I actually have some storyboards for a Roger Rabbit short." he stated during an interview on the Nerdist Podcast.

Then came the ax! Later that year Robert Zemeckis gave us a dose of reality. “The current corporate Disney culture has no interest in Roger, and they certainly don’t like Jessica at all.” He did reveal what the concept would have been for Roger Rabbit 2 - moving out of 1940's film noir into a more 50's style movie and acting as a continuation rather than a sequel.

Much more recently, with the release of Zemeckis' Welcome to Marwen, Yahoo Movies asked if there would be any possibility for Roger Rabbit in Disney's upcoming streaming service:
It’s the 30th anniversary of Who Framed Roger Rabbit this year. You’ve said Disney isn’t keen on a sequel, but surely in this era of streaming content, there must be room for it now?
I don’t think so. I don’t know where it fits in in their universe. There’s no princess in it, so I don’t know where that would be. There’s a wonderful script sitting at Disney that is really good, but I don’t think it’s on their radar."

It is very unfortunate to know that a great script for a Roger Rabbit sequel sits at Disney Headquarters at this moment, still after all this time. The news seems to be hitting every movie website and blog. Surely there is still public interest in Roger and Jessica Rabbit! There was talk of a possible feud between Michael Eisner and Steven Spielberg putting a stop to all Roger projects, though time has changed and Spielberg has worked with Disney again recently. It's been too many years now, though with finally getting Star Wars Episode 7, I suppose nothing is ever impossible. If you want to see this sequel, you should certainly (and kindly) tweet, post, and voice your opinion to anyone who'll listen. We are left with one small example of what could have been. In 2008 singer Kerry Butler released Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust which included a song that was to be in some version of a Roger sequel - This Only Happens in the Movies.