Five Disney-Related Properties I'd Love to Work On

I'm fresh home from an extended Disney vacation with my family, and my head is threfore filled with Disneyish thoughts at the moment -- possibly for the whole week, unless I wind up being too wrapped up in my book. Mostly, I'm thinking about the heady broth of various intellectual properties on display at Walt Disney World, either because they're Disney-owned or Disney-licensed. And I naturally spent a long, long time while I was there thinking about the properties I'd love to work on, and why.

Phineas and Ferb. Have you watched this show? You should watch this show. It is the best thing on TV right now. I very desperately want to help build out a Phineas and Ferb experience where every participating child gets to have the best summer day ever, either as an online experience or as a park attraction. There's nothing to fix here; I think this show gets everything right. I'd just really, really love the chance to work with the creators. (Come on, surely one of you out there can make this happen for me? I would give you a big hug and take you out to a nice dinner!)

The Muppets. As with Phineas and Ferb, I have nothing to fix here. The Muppets have moved into the age of social media smoothly and very obviously know what they're doing. Again, I'd just love to be a part of it. Who doesn't love the Muppets, and who wouldn't want to help introduce them to a whole new generation? (I harbor a secret dream of bringing back the Muppets variety show on TV, complete with the same edge it used to have. I would lobby for this very hard.)

Marvel Comics. It's no secret that Marvel has a big woman problem. Their very best heroines are still B-listers, and they simply have no female characters that rise to the level of Wonder Woman. This breaks my heart, because the Marvel universe can be a lot of fun, because there are so many girls and women who read comics, and because there is simply no need for it to be like this. If I could get my hands on Marvel, I'd make sure their writers were producing strong plotlines and rich inner lives for their heroines (and not just killing them or reducing them to love interests.) Even better, I'd write 'em my own self. And then -- this is the key, here -- I'd put their marketing engine to work promoting their women, not just their men. They are leaving so much money on the table, you guys.

Indiana Jones. OK, this one isn't actually owned by Disney, but humor me here. The transmedia philosophy of sticking to a watertight and objective canon is killing Indiana Jones, and in more ways than one. That's because it necessitates the passage of time; everything that happens has to have a year, which means years pass, which means Indy gets older and falls off his game. This is why people hated Crystal Skull so very much. Indy growing old and passing the torch isn't fundamentally what Indiana Jones is about. If I got my hands on this property, I'd revert him to the same iconic, ageless condition as James Bond (but I will still always love you, Harrison Ford, no worries!) And then I'd build out an experience that lets you be his companion on an adventure. 

Duffy the Disney Bear. This is Figment's replacement as the mascot of Epcot. As it stands, the Duffster has no visible raison d'etre, no character, no story to make him interesting. Oh, sure, the tags say something about Minnie giving Mickey a special bear for a sea voyage and then they had adventures, but they don't say what those adventures are. Because of this story vacuum, Duffy comes across as something invented by soulless marketers -- a bland and bald grab at the cash to be made by selling plushies and pins of some generic teddy bear in various traditional ethnic costumes. Disney can and should do better than this. Needless to say, if I were to be tapped to help fix this, I'd be spelling out what Duffy's adventures with Mickey are. There would be children's books! A cartoon! YouTube shorts! You could even, dare I say, pull the educational angle and use Duffy as a teaching opportunity about the cultures and countries of the world.

So those are five properties I saw at Disney I'd love to work on or fix. Five things in which it is highly unlikely for me to get my way, I might add! But don't you worry about me. I'll find a way to carry on... somehow...


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