It’s been 30 years since the ground-breaking Who Framed Roger Rabbit hit theaters, and it might be 30 more before we ever see a sequel. The blend of live-action and animation was a smash-hit at the box office, but despite several attempts, a follow-up never got off the ground. According to Robert Zemeckis, the latest Roger Rabbit sequel script is done, and pretty darn good. But Disney doesn’t seem interested.
A potential Roger Rabbit sequel has been rumored ever since the original opened in 1988. First there was a script called Roger Rabbit II: The Toon Platoon (which you can read here). The plot involved Roger trying to find his birth mother. Steven Spielberg was not a fan, and nixed it. At one point, J.J. Abrams was going to write a script. Then came a script called Who Discovered Roger Rabbit. This process went on for years, culminating in 2013, when Gary K. Wolf, writer of the original Roger Rabbit novel, said he was working on a prequel script that would be a buddy comedy about Roger Rabbit and Mickey Mouse.
Needless to say, this movie was never made. The prequel idea was then scrapped, and yet another script was penned. In 2016, director Robert Zemeckis said the latest script was “more a continuation than a sequel”, and that it followed Roger Rabbit and his wife Jessica “into the next few years of period film, moving on from film noir to the world of the 1950s.” Oh, and the ghost of Eddie Valiant – the character played by the late Bob Hoskins in the original – figured into the story somewhere. Zemeckis called the script “magnificent”, but added that “the current corporate Disney culture has no interest in Roger, and they certainly don’t like Jessica at all.”
Two years later, that sentiment hasn’t changed. In an interview with Yahoo promoting his terrible new movie Welcome to Marwen, Zemeckis once again sang the praises of this Roger Rabbit sequel script, but bemoaned the fact that Disney had no interest:
“I don’t know where it fits in in their universe. There’s no princess in it, so I don’t know where that would be. There’s a wonderful script sitting at Disney that is really good, but I don’t think it’s on their radar.”
This is a shame, and Zemeckis could certainly use a boost after Marwen. But it feels like the ship has sailed on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The original film is still beloved by people who grew up with it, but does Roger really have the same staying power and nostalgia factor as something like Star Wars or Jurassic Park? Is anyone out there hungry for a sequel at this point?
Still, never say never. Disney is launching their new streaming service Disney+ in 2019, and they’re announcing new content left and right. Maybe they’ll finally relent and give Roger Rabbit a chance.
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