So first Dora the Explorer, then My Little Ponies and then Strawberry Shortcake were given brand new, "grown up," hipper looks for the too cool, tech-obsessed, short attention span of Gen-Y. But the next familiar cartoon character to receive an extreme makeover?
Fearing that the Mouse has transmogrified into something more of a corporate icon than a cartoon character loved and sought after by generations and generations the world over, Disney has chosen to "re-imagine" him for the younger generations.
In this story published by the New York Times, Disney is said to be quietly kicking off the not-so-easy task of reconfiguring Mickey Mouse's image--which, apparently includes the way Mickey talks, the way he walks, his appearance... and even his house at the theme parks.
Messing with something as iconic as Mickey? Probably not the safest idea. But the company seems to think it necessary: Sales of Mickey swag have declined within the United States, consisting of less than 20% of their overall merch intake.
However: Even we'll admit that Epic Mickey--the much hyped video game that has a tentative release date of "not before fall of next year"--featuring a twisted, kind-of-creepy Mickey running around in some sort of post-apocalyptic Disneyland looks like it has tons of potential. The NY Times piece reports it will even feature a "disemboweled, robotic Donald Duck" and a sinister version of "It's a Small World."
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All this news comes on the heels of the major announcement that the Walt Disney Company has finally received the green light from China to open a new theme park... after 20 years of negotiation.
Disney, however, recognizes the high risk of messing with a global icon and plans on treading forward lightly. Personally, we can't wait to for the backlash when they start drawing the Mouse with (giant, mouse-sized) iPod buds and red skinny jeans. Who knows: Maybe Donald will even get some pants next.