Disney’s Tomorrowland has already become one of the most hotly anticipated films of 2014, and the damn thing only began production the other day. For all the hype, details like plot and story have been kept a closely guarded secret. At Disney’s D23 gathering this weekend, director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant) and co-writer Damon Lindelof (Star Trek Into Darkness) revealed a few more details—some legit, some not so much—showed some footage, and the House that Mickey Built also unveiled a new logo for the film.
We know that George Clooney will play a temperamental inventor, Hugh Laurie a dastardly (we assume) villain, newcomer Raffey Cassidy is a robot named Athena who is key to the plot, and Under the Dome’s Britt Robertson has been tapped to play the female lead. It was also reported that Judy Greer (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) will likely join the cast in an unspecified role. Aside from that, there are rumors that the story revolves around the Tomorrowland portion of the Disneyland theme park.
The reveals at D23 didn’t do a lot to clarify any of this, but there are a few more details. Originally, the film was called 1952, after a mythical box of papers, ideas, and memorabilia labeled “1952,” where Walt Disney used to store documents and things like that. This is supposedly one of many such boxes. Lindelof and Bird “revealed” the contents of this box, which we’ve seen pictures of, in an attempt to further the internal mythology of Tomorrowland. This portion of the program featured strange insignias, and hints that the is a wide conspiracy involving the likes of Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Jules Verne all figure into the story.
These, and more, were featured in a short film that apparently screened for folks in attendance. From everything we’ve heard and read, the footage looked like a good time. It has been likened to a 60s throwback, one that contains hints of a utopian, post-Cold War society. This was “found” on a strange, futuristic disc among all the other artifacts.
None of this sheds a ton of light on the narrative, but we have a lot to speculate about. For instance, the box contains a blueprint of It’s a Small World, which shows that there may be something built under the ride. The conspiracy angle is played up, in the form of false photos, and an issue of Amazing Stories that is also a coded message.
All of this serves a larger world building purpose, and while some people are annoyed that Bird, Lindelof, and Disney keep toying with fans, the way they’re creating anticipation around their film is pretty fun. Do we really need to know all of the plot details for a movie that doesn’t come out until December of 2014? No, we don’t, there’s plenty of time for that in the intervening 16 months. For now what they’re doing is creating interest in their movie, and from the look of it, it’s working rather well.
Walking away from D23, there is one concrete thing about Tomorrowland, the logo. The image definitely fits into the time-period feel they’re working to establish. That science-y looking symbol in place of the O is, stylistically, spot on for what they want to evoke. While we may not know much more about Bird’s film, only his second live-action directorial effort—Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol was his first—Disney definitely has our interest.