Disney Plus has been on a roll since it first launched, releasing tons of series that feature fan-favorite characters. Star Wars fans get The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Marvel fans get Loki, Hawkeye, and much more. And fans of classic Disney were probably looking forward to the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit series that has been in development for a while. Unfortunately, it looks like this series won’t be happening.
If you’re unfamiliar, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is actually one of Disney’s first and oldest characters. Probably part of the reason we haven’t seen Oswald pop up in too many Disney releases before now is the rights issues Disney had with the character. In 1928, Walt Disney actually lost the rights to Oswald to Universal. This led him to create a similar character that would legally belong to him. That character was Mickey Mouse.
In 2006, Bob Iger reacquired the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in a deal with Universal. Since reacquiring the rights, Oswald has made video game appearances in Epic Mickey and Epic Mickey 2. He also appeared in the 2013 short Get a Horse. The Disney+ series would definitely have been the most significant Oswald the Lucky Rabbit content that Disney has released since he first appeared over 90 years ago.
But what caused Disney to pull the plug on the new project? The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit series was supposed to be brought to life by Matt Danner. Matt Danner and his team had created the recent Disney series, Legend of the Three Caballeros which featured characters like Donald Duck, José Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles. Danner updated everyone on the status of the Oswald show on social media. According to his posts, the Disney Plus series had gone as far as having scripts written and test animations, with the pilot being in production before being broken up. Still, he posted that he’s sure there will be an Oswald show at some point.
Although it’s good news that we have the potential to see an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit show on streaming for Disney Plus in the future, it’s certainly a bummer that we won’t see this one come to fruition. It seems like the team had a lot of passion behind it.
As far as the reason the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit show was canceled, it looks like Disney is being a little cagey with the answers. If we’re just speculating, it could be the fact that the character is partially public domain. Some of the earliest Oswald shorts are in the public domain, which technically means that version of the character is public domain. Presumably, redesigns and newer versions would still be trademarked by Disney. Disney is facing similar complications with Mickey. Mickey first appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928. This means that in 2024, this version of the character is public domain. Disney liked to keep a pretty tight hold on their IPs, so they’re undoubtedly not too happy about these developments.
Regardless of the why, the fact remains we won’t be seeing any new Oswald the Lucky Rabbit content right away. Who knows? Maybe Disney Plus has something else up their sleeve for Oswald fans.