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Should Roger Rabbit Get a Sequel? – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Should Roger Rabbit Get a Sequel?



35 years ago, an extraordinary film emerged that brought together real people and animated characters on the big screen. While it wasn’t the first of its kind, it may very well be considered the last great film of its genre. However, with the advancements in technology, is there a possibility that this masterpiece could receive a sequel? There are numerous compelling reasons why Hollywood should explore this idea, yet it appears that they haven’t taken the initiative. So, where do we currently stand, and how did we arrive here?

In 1988, Disney and Amblin Entertainment released a groundbreaking film called “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” This movie was revolutionary for several reasons, particularly because it marked the first time that multiple animation studios collaborated and allowed their beloved characters to coexist within a single production. Within this one film, audiences were introduced to characters from Disney, Warner Bros., and other lesser-known studios, all of whom were instantly recognizable.

The story revolves around Eddie Valiant, a tough private detective portrayed by the talented Bob Hoskins. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film depicts a world where animated cartoons reside alongside humans. Valiant, formerly the top detective in “Toon Town,” distances himself from the toons following the tragic death of his brother. However, when Marvin Acme, the renowned head of the Acme corporation, is mysteriously murdered, all signs point to Roger Rabbit, the equivalent of Mickey Mouse in the fictional Maroon Cartoons. As Valiant’s femme fatale wife, the stunning Jessica Rabbit, implores him to investigate the case, he becomes entangled in a web of deception, corruption, and animated mayhem.

Since 1989, the film industry has made several attempts to recreate the magic of “Roger Rabbit,” albeit with moderate success. The most notable example is “Space Jam,” released in 1996, which introduced basketball legend Michael Jordan to the zany world of Looney Tunes. However, unlike its predecessor, “Space Jam” focused solely on the Looney Tunes universe and did not incorporate characters from other beloved properties. This meant that Michael Jordan had to act against a green screen, rather than seamlessly interacting with animated characters in the real world.

A more recent endeavor, “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” in 2022, featured characters and references from various animated universes. The film embraced diverse animation styles and even ventured into “The Valley,” a realm inhabited by uncanny valley animations. Similar to “Roger Rabbit,” many of the characters in “Rescue Rangers” have had previous careers in the entertainment industry and strive to revitalize their fame. While it captures the essence of “Roger Rabbit,” it is not a true sequel but rather a spiritual successor.

The question arises: why has “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” never received an official sequel? This film not only generated significant buzz but also achieved tremendous box office success, grossing over $350 million with a modest $50 million budget. It even garnered three Academy Awards and secured a place in the Library of Congress for its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance. So, what went wrong? In an industry where sequels and remakes have become commonplace, why was a film of this caliber left untouched?

One possible explanation lies in the complex negotiations between Warner Bros. and Disney. As colossal corporations with their own agendas, both studios had specific requirements. In the case of “Roger Rabbit,” Disney had to ensure that Warner Bros. characters received equal screen time, necessitating an equal number of lines for Mickey and Bugs Bunny. This arrangement may have hindered the potential for a sequel, as it would entail navigating a labyrinth of legalities and negotiations, which neither studio may be willing to undertake. Additionally, the unfortunate passing of Bob Hoskins further complicates the possibility of continuation. Utilizing CGI or introducing a new lead actor, such as Shia LaBeouf portraying Valiant’s long-lost son, would likely detract from the original’s charm.

Perhaps the absence of a sequel is a triumph for the film industry. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” stands as a singular masterpiece that united the top animation studios of its time, leaving an indelible mark. It reigns as the epitome of its niche category, and while there have been scripts floating around Hollywood, they have failed to match the original’s quality and allure. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that a sequel is unnecessary. After 35 years and recognition from the Library of Congress, it is time for audiences to cherish and share this timeless film with future generations. Its timeless setting in a bygone era allows it to transcend any temporal constraints. So, grab a copy of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” indulge in its magic, and introduce your children to the enchanting world where cartoons intertwine with reality, evoking joy, fear, and sheer eccentricity.

35 years ago, a movie came along that put people on film with cartoons. It wasn’t the first, but it may have been the last great film of its kind. But with the new technologies we have, is there a chance it could get a sequel?



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There are so many reasons why Hollywood should be looking into this proposition, but it doesn’t seem like they are. So where are we, and how did we get here?



Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Disney Has a Wonderful Roger Rabbit 2 Script, But We'll Probably Never See It
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

In 1988, the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was released by Disney and Amblin Entertainment. It was revolutionary for many reasons, but mainly because it was the first time multiple animation studios lent their characters to one property.

In one film, there were characters from Disney, Warner Bros, and other lesser-known studios whose characters were nonetheless recognizable.

The story follows private detective Eddie Valiant. He’s a hard-nosed guy played by Bob Hoskins. The film is set in 1950s LA, where cartoons live among humans. Valiant was once the top detective in ‘Toon Town, but after his brother’s tragic death, he no longer associates with them.

After Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), the famous head of the Acme corporation, is murdered, all signs point to Roger Rabbit, the equivalent of Mickey Mouse for the fictional Maroon Cartoons. But when his femme fatale wife, the shapely Jessica Rabbit, arrives to ask Valiant to investigate the case, he is pulled into a web of deceit, corruption, and cartoon violence.

The Illegitimate Children of Roger

Michael Jordan in Space Jam
Warner Bros. Pictures

Since 1989, the film industry has made a few attempts at recreating the magic of Roger Rabbit with middling success.

The most well-known was Space Jam. Released in 1996, it brought Michael Jordan into the world of the Looney Toons. The differences were that it didn’t include other properties and was set largely in the Looney Toons world. That meant Michael Jordan acting on a green screen rather than the toons being incorporated into the real world.

Related: Could Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers’ Success Signal Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2?

A more recent example was 2022’s Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangerswhich featured characters and references from across the animation universe. It also utilized as many types of animation as possible, even taking time to go to “The Valley,” where all the uncanny valley animations live.

The jokes are plentiful, and many of the characters are, much like Roger Rabbit, shown to be involved in entertainment in some way or another. Often, they have been stars of bygone shows and are attempting to reenergize their careers. It has a similar feel to Roger Rabbit and even features Roger at one point. But although it may be a spiritual successor, it is not a true sequel.

Where Is the Sequel?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

The question is why the film never got a sequel, to begin with. It not only had the buzz, but it hit box office gold by earning over $350 million off of a $50 million budget. It won three Academy Awards and is even in the Library of Congress because they have deemed it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” So what happened? Why would a film like this be left on its own in a world where sequels and remakes are not just the norm but are often required when a film does well?

It may be due to a variety of factors. One of these may actually be related to the aforementioned Space Jam. Warner Bros. and Disney are huge corporations with their own wants and needs. In fact, for Disney to use the Warner Bros. characters in Roger Rabbitthey were required to have equal screen time. That meant Mickey and Bugs Bunny needed just as many lines in order for the studios to come to an agreement.

Related: Best Movies That Mix Animation with Live Action, Ranked

Now, Warner Bros. has seen that they can attempt films with their own characters without having to rely on Disney. They did it with Space Jamand they tried it with 2021’s Space Jam: A New Legacy. However, the second did not do half as well, and rather than being much of a sequel, it was a simple retread of the first that swapped out Michael Jordan for LeBron James.

So it seems that a sequel would require a bevy of lawyers, a host of caveats, and a mess that neither studio wants to take ownership of or give to the other, not to mention the fact that Bob Hoskins passed away. We don’t need a CGI version of him or a sequel where Shia Lebouf plays his long-lost son.

Should There Be a Sequel?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

The fact that there hasn’t been a sequel may be a win for Hollywood. They made a one-of-a-kind movie that brought together the top studios at the time, and it worked. It was a film that has yet to be topped in its very niche category, and although there are a few scripts that have bounced around Hollywood, they have been sub-par and undesirable.

So no, there shouldn’t be a sequel. After 35 years and an acknowledgment from the Library of Congress, it is probably time for people to simply take the film they love and show it to their children. It has no real timestamp on it, as it takes place in a bygone era, to begin with. So grab Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, watch it, and teach your kids how cartoons can be fun, scary, and weird all at the same time.

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