Disney Releases Its First New ‘Oswald’ Short in 95 Years


Before Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse, he created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for Universal Pictures. The character, who became one of Disney’s first big animated hits, starred in a series of shorts beginning in 1927. Within a year, Disney lost control of the character. That’s when he created Mickey. The rest, as they say, was history.

Oswald remained outside the Disney company for decades, until a very peculiar deal in 2006, when then (and now) Disney CEO Bob Iger essentially traded broadcaster Al Michaels to NBCUniversal in exchange for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. In the years since, Oswald has become a walk-around character at Disney Parks, and appeared in video games and on merchandise.

He hasn’t gotten back in the shorts business, though, until now. Today, Disney released its first Oswald short in almost 95 years. Titled “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit,” it was directed by Eric Goldberg, a Disney veteran who also co-director of Pocahontas. The minute-long short is done in the style of cartoons from a century ago: Silent, black-and-white, 2D, with no dialogue. Take a look at it below:

If you want to compare, here is one of Walt Disney’s original Oswald cartoons from the 1920s, “All Wet”:

The new short was created as part of the The Walt Disney Company’s celebration of its 100th anniversary. It’s a rarity not only because of Oswald’s appearance, but because it was hand-drawn — something that has become increasingly rare as computer animation has dominated the industry.

The Disney legends who worked on the short include Mark Henn (who was an animator on Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Belle from Beauty and the Beast) and Randy Haycock (who worked on The Lion KingHerculesTarzan, and more.) The short is fun, but it’s honestly even more exciting to see anything from Disney in 2D. It’s way past time they made another 2D animated feature.

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