By Zach Johnson
You better hop over to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ YouTube channel!
Today’s your lucky day, because Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is returning to the studio that bears his creator’s name—Walt Disney Animation Studios—in an all-new animated short, more than 94 years since Disney’s last Oswald cartoon. Created by Disney Animation’s hand-drawn animation team to help celebrate the start of Disney100 that marks 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company, the Oswald The Lucky Rabbit short is directed by animator Eric Goldberg and produced by Dorothy McKim. And, in conjunction with the animated short, Disney launched a global Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Snapchat lens that allows users to channel Oswald using AR technology!
“On the eve of Disney’s 100th anniversary, it was such a joy to create the first new Oswald short from our studio since 1928,” McKim says. “Our hand-drawn animation team—including our hand-drawn legends Mark Henn, Randy Haycock, and Eric Goldberg, as well our wonderful team of 2D apprentices—had a ball animating in the style of Oswald’s era.”
Goldberg adds, “Oswald is such a plucky scamp. We wanted to bring Oswald back, and in the short, he literally returns to his original home: the movie screen. We wanted to have Oswald do all of the ‘squash-and-stretch,’ ‘rubber hose’-animation style, celebrating that first generation of Walt Disney’s artists.”
Of course, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is considered Walt’s first breakout animated star and is widely considered one of the first characters in animation history to feature a unique personality. Walt introduced Oswald to moviegoers in 1927 with the short Trolley Troubles. Twenty-six Oswald short films were created by Walt and his team, with the final Disney shorts starring the character releasing in 1928, the same year Walt lost creative control over his beloved rabbit. In 2006, Disney CEO Bob Iger made an unprecedented deal with NBCUniversal that allowed sportscaster Al Michaels to contract with NBC in exchange for the return of Oswald to his home. Since then, Oswald has appeared in video games, merchandise, Disney theme parks, and more!