Oswald is back! That’s right, Mickey Mouse’s predecessor is back at his signature early Disney antics after a nearly century-long reprieve. Walt Disney Animation Studios has just created a new short featuring the cartoon bunny, which is currently available to watch on the animation studio’s YouTube channel.
The one-minute-long short shows Oswald going to an old-fashioned movie theater and features an animation style in keeping with the original’s 1920s feel. Oswald enters the movie theater and sits back for a lovely show, only for him to see his love Ortensia the cat up on the screen. Oswald fights his way into the screen with some hilarious antics, until he is finally able to close the short with a kiss shared with Ortensia.
The short comes 94 years after Oswald retired from Disney and is titled “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit”. The short was released, in part, to celebrate the company’s 100-year anniversary. And what better way to celebrate than by bringing back one of the company’s original batch of characters? Additionally, the short pays homage to the studio’s early animation style and features hand-drawn animation, a style that has gone out of fashion on most new Disney projects, which have tended to favor 3D animation. The new short is directed by the famed animator Eric Goldberg, who previously worked on Pocahontas. The short is produced by Dorothy McKim.
Of the short, McKim made the following statement, “[o]n the eve of Disney’s 100th anniversary, it was such a joy to create the first new Oswald short from our studio since 1928.” McKim continued, “[o]ur hand-drawn animation team – including our hand-drawn legends Mark Henn, Randy Haycock and Eric Goldberg, as well our wonderful team of 2D apprentices, had a ball animating in the style of Oswald’s era.”
Goldberg, the short film’s director said of his newest project, “Oswald is such a plucky scamp. We wanted to bring Oswald back, and in the short, he literally returns to his original home, the movie screen.” He continued, “[w]e wanted to have Oswald do all of the ‘squash-and-stretch,’ ‘rubber hose’-animation style, celebrating that first generation of Walt Disney’s artists.”
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was introduced to moviegoers in 1927 in the short “Trolley Troubles”. Disney created 26 Oswald shorts, and the rabbit is often considered to be Disney’s first breakout character. However, in 1928 Disney lost creative control of the rabbit. However, in 2006, Disney‘s CEO Bob Iger made a deal with NBC/Universal to bring Oswald home. Since then, Oswald has hopped on to merchandise, video games, an animated short, and to Disney theme parks.
Along with the new short, Disney is also releasing an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Snapchat lens globally that allows users to channel the lucky rabbit using AR technology. You can watch the newest Oswald adventure below.