Unless you were born sometime in the early 20th century, many of you may not be terribly familiar with Disney's Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. A forerunner of Mickey Mouse, Oswald first appeared in the 1920s and was an instant hit with viewers — that is, until a contract snag with Universal Studios (who tried to whisk the character away from Disney by stealing their animators) prevented big daddy Walt from making further Oswald animations under another distribution banner or with new artists. Eventually Disney found an enduring symbol with Mickey and the rest, as they say, is history.
It should be noted that Disney did win Oswald back in 2006 after new Disney CEO Bob Iger brokered a fancypants deal with NBC Universal. Oswald made his grand entrance in 2010 — the first since 1928 — in the studio's videogame Epic Mickey. (There were also a few animations released in conjunction with the game featuring the famed rabbit.) Epic Mickey is definitely darker than most mouse house fans are used to and found Oswald as the ruler of the Wasteland — a forgotten realm whose inhabitants have no heart and where jealousy over Mickey's success has gotten the better of the bewildered rabbit. Eventually all is forgiven, but Oswald's appearance was a bit of an unusual reintroduction into an otherwise cheery universe.
Fast forward to this week and Disney's reveal of an Oswald drawing that hasn't seen the light of day in 40 years. Fox10TV.com
reports that the archived artwork — an image from the 1928 animated short film Sky Scrappers
— was exhibited at an unveiling of Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
(available on Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360). Hopefully the game will find the rabbit in better spirits, working alongside his mouse pal. The game's creative director Warren Spector had nothing but good things to say about Oswald's reappearance. "Everybody at Disney is so proud that he's back. I'm no different. It's just so exciting to be a part of bringing that character back into the world and to see people respond so affectionately toward him."
The image and powerful praise brings up questions about the possibility of Oswald's eventual appearance in an animated feature film. The character has found a career in the theme park, comic book, and toy worlds, but apart from several DVD extra animations, films haven't been a thing for the rabbit in quite some time. Do you see room for a new character is the Disney canon? Is the game uniting rabbit and mouse the beginning of a new feature franchise for the studio? Let us know what you make of it all below.