There was a recent article in Variety regarding the Disney film about gargoyles that’s in development. Disney has chosen new writers for the project, David Elliot and Paul Lovett. Elliot and Lovett have several writing credits under their belt, but the one that many are sure to make special note of is their work on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
When reading news about this untitled film project the words “gargoyles” and “Disney” are profusely exercised. Now we have a pair of writers who took an animated series and adapted it into a live-action film associated with this Disney project about gargoyles. It should therefore not be unexpected that people believe this new Disney film will be a live-action adaptation of the animated series Gargoyles. The problem is this film has absolutely nothing to do with the animated series. The Variety article explicitly states this, but in a world of messages limited to 160 characters that particular detail gets left out and the news of a Gargoyles live-action film spreads. This confusion bothers me.
The article talks about the story of the film having something to do with gargoyles acting as guardian angels in a big city. That certainly sounds an awful lot like the animated series, but the description is far too broad to get worked up about especially at this early point in development. If the film comes out and it’s a clear rip-of of the animated series then there will be many angry words spewing forth from my fingers, but for now I think it best to reserve judgement.
I hope the buzz around this new film gets people thinking about how awesome the animated series was and they seek out the DVDs and comics. I hope people reminiscing about the show generates a buzz that is picked up by a new generation of fans. But I’m worried people will go to the theaters expecting a live-action Gargoyles film and will come away disappointed and think Disney has killed off whatever there is left of the original series. I’m worried such an experience might tarnish the happy memories of watching the television series.
The biggest worry I have is the talk about turning the film into a franchise with a television series. Disney already has a gargoyles franchise, but they might see it as old and in the way of this new gargoyles franchise. Disney might decide to stuff Gargoyles back into the vault; completely killing off the possibility of ever publishing new comics or releasing the second half of season two.
What I don’t get, and what bugs the crap out of me, is why Disney is trying to create a new universe with gargoyles in it rather than build upon an existing, successful franchise like Gargoyles. Perhaps developing a new story within a new universe is easier than having to work within the constraints of preexisting canon. I’m also willing to bet that there’s a desire by the producers to create their own franchise rather than repackaging someone else’s work; an ego thing. But then I see examples where new life is breathed into an old franchise and it becomes hugely successful and I wonder why can’t Disney do that as well.
So it goes.