This article in Variety talks about a new movie that Disney is looking to produce about gargoyles.
However it’s not about our Gargoyles.
Back in the late 1990s there was a Gargoyles movie being developed that would have been based on the cartoon series. There were at least a few different scripts written that were passed around. The movie would have probably revolved around just Goliath and Elisa with the other gargoyles probably not being in the movie. That project was ultimately left to die.
Now word of a new movie. But the Variety article states up front that it’s not based on the animated series, but is an entirely new and original project. The article goes on to say
Instead, it centers around a world and mythology of the menacing stone statues that the studio was keen to explore
And that’s the only information that’s publicly available about this movie; there’s not much there. Phrases like “world and mythology” seem, in my mind, to fit exactly with the original animated series. “[M]enacing stone statues” certainly fits as well. One of the strongest points of the original series was that as you watched it you learned that the “menacing” tag applied to gargoyles was a misconception on the part of the humans; that the gargoyles were actually protectors. That gave the animated series a very deep message about understanding and respecting different cultures and race. A message more meaningful now than ever before.
I want to be flippant and say that this new movie probably won’t hold the same depth. It won’t even be skin deep. That this will probably be some shallow “Twilight” wannabe film where the entire story is simply that some evil beast and some innocent and naive girl fall in love.
Or worse. That it will be a blatant rip-off of the animated show. Would they care if the new movie was a rip-off? After all they’d just be ripping themselves off. That would be incredibly disrespectful to those who worked to develop the original show as well as to its fans.
However I think we need to be careful to not rush to judgement. We simply do not know enough about this project. Can there be more than one show about gargoyles? Of course. Just like there can be more than one show about superheroes, or vampires, or emergency room doctors. Remember that when Gargoyles came out in 1996, Disney had another project with gargoyles in it called The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
But there is strong emotion from the fans coming out against this project. An emotion whose seeds were planted when Disney canceled the original show. Whose seedlings were invigorated by Disney’s unwillingness to release the rest of the show on DVD. Whose buds were strengthened by the increase in license fees that made further production of the comics cost prohibitive for SLG. Whose strong roots now sense they’re getting the shaft again and have started to dig in deeper.
A Facebook group has been set up that calls on Disney to produce a movie based on the show. It’s also an outlet for the dozens of other frustrations thrust upon Gargoyles fans by Disney. It’s becoming something of a lens through which the fans are focusing their feelings.
Will Disney listen to the fans?
I really wish they would. With each show Greg Wesiman has been involved with he has set the bar higher and higher on quality of writing and character development. He was good 15 years ago. He’s masterful now. Bring him in on a project based on a property he helped develop and has an extremely strong interest in and you’re going to get out of him the best work ever put on screen. The “world and mythology” of Gargoyles is already established and very solid. It hasn’t been left to gather dust these last 15 years, it has been maturing and evolving and becoming even more strong through Greg and the fans.
It’s painfully obvious how good it would be. It’s all the more painful that Disney doesn’t see it. They lack the perspective. And I’m not certain they want to see it that way. How do we, the fans, show them?
Disney, take the lens cap off. You’re missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.