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Toon Tuesday: Will "The 7D" 's radically redesigned Dwarfs make Disneyana fans Happy or Grumpy?

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Toon Tuesday: Will "The 7D" 's radically redesigned Dwarfs make Disneyana fans Happy or Grumpy?

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It's something that The Walt Disney Company is rather good at. Taking characters that audiences already know and love and reinventing them. Giving them a  bold new look. Just in the past 15 years or so, we've seen Julie Taymor take Mufasa & Simba from "The Lion King" ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... and then reimagine these animated characters in ways that they could be played onstage in an acclaimed Broadway musical.

Photo by Joan Marcus. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Likewise we've seen the Mad Hatter go from a light & silly character in Disney's animated  version of "Alice In Wonderland" ...

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... to a genuinely tragic figure in Disney's 2010 live-action blockbuster, "Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland."

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in "Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland."
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And don't even get me started on what Warren Spector and his crew at Junction Point Studios did to the poor Donald Duck ...

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... and Goofy characters who live in the Cartoon Wasteland in that Disney Epic Mickey video game.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

To their credit, Disneyana fans have basically been pretty flexible when it comes to seeing much-beloved characters from their childhood radically reinvented. They don't seem to have a problem with a character being reintroduced with a bold new look just so long as the finished product that this reimagined character is now appearing in is well-written and generally entertaining.

But that said, I wonder how many Disney traditionalists are (at first, anyway) going to squawk once they see how the Seven Dwarfs ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... have been reimagined for Disney Junior's new animated series, "The 7D" ?

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Now while it is true that -- in this new animated series (Which is due to debut on Disney Junior sometime in 2014) -- that Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy ...

(L to R) Bashful, Sleepy, Dopey and Happy. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... Grumpy, Doc and Dopey don't look quite as they did in that feature-length version of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" that Walt Disney Productions released back in 1937.

(L to R) Grumpy, Doc and Sneezy. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But in much the same way that it's not wise to judge a book by its cover, it's also not smart to prejudge a new animated series by a single piece of concept art. A far wiser way to get a handle on what this new Disney Junior show might possibly be like would be to review this program's production team.

And as it turns out, "The 7D" has an absolutely stellar behind-the-scenes crew.  Tom Ruegger, the Emmy Award-winner behind "Animaniacs" is serving as executive producer on this new Disney Junior series. Alfred Gimeno of "Tiny Toon Adventures" fame has been hired to be this show's director while Disney Television Animation recruited industry vet Sherri Stoner to come be this new animated series' story editor.  Meanwhile Mouse House executives lured Noah Z. Jones  from his "Fish Hooks" duties so that he could come up with a comedic yet contemporary take on Disney's classic Seven Dwarfs characters.

Copyright 1995 Warner Bros. All rights reserved

As for the basic premise of "The 7D," this new animated series (which is designed for viewers 2-7 and their families) is kind of a prequel to Disney's 1937 full-length animated features. In that -- long before Doc and the other dwarfs gave Snow White shelter and then tried to protect her from the Evil Queen -- The 7D live in the whimsical world of Jollywood. Where Queen Delightful is constantly turning to the Seven Dwarfs for help whenever she has trouble keeping her kingdom in order.

Of course, one of the main reasons that Jollywood is always in such a jumble is that this TV series' main villains -- Grim and Hildy Gloom -- are constantly looking for brand-new ways to break into the Seven Dwarfs' mine. Which is where Grim & Hildy believe there are magical jewels hidden away which will give these two laughably evil villains the ability to take over that kingdom.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Anyway ... That's the over-arching storyline for this new Disney Junior series. Which -- much like "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" -- hopes to recruit Mom and Dad to come watch this TV show with their child and then experience the magic, music and heartfelt stories & characters that only The Walt Disney Company can deliver (not to mention incorporating specific learning and development themes that are deliberately designed to appeal to kids age 2-7).

But based on what you've seen and/or read so far, does the very idea of Disney Junior debuting a "7D" animated TV series in 2014 make you Happy or Grumpy?

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Your thoughts?



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  • Uh...no.  This is just wrong.  They don't even come close to looking like their original counterparts.  At least the other examples you provided make a little more sense but this is just contemporizing the dwarfs to the point of being near unrecognizable.

  • Won't kids just get confused between these dwarves and the original ones? And they look more like Gnomes to me.

  • This will only cause confusion if the kids are even familiar with the original seven dwarves. I'd hazard a guess that most aren't.

    My reaction to this is similar to my reaction when I learned about Bugs Bunny & company's transformation into the "Loonatics"... why tie it to Snow White at all? Is the show not good enough to stand on its own? Do people simply not trust new IP anymore?

  • Seems more Gummi Bears/Smurfs than Seven Dwarfs.

  • Dopey looks exactly like another famous mute....Harpo Marx. Hope he has a horn to honk as well!

  • Squawk. Squawk. SQUAWK!

    I do agree that they look more like gnomes then dwarfs. They really seem to be completely different characters.

  • Grumpy, VERY grumpy!  They look terrible!  Don't mess with the classics!!!!

  • I agree with another poster this show should not have been associated with SW at all, both for continuity issues and brand recognition (or lack there of) Why couldn't the show have just been named "Dwarfs" or better still "Gnomes" seeing as that's what they look like - cut to "Grumpy" with a terracotta pot on his head! "Lawn Gnomes" would have been an amazing idea for a TV series! I fail to see the correlation between THIS and Snow White. Sorry Disney I think you "Goofed!"

  • I'm guessing no one here has kids.  Disney Junior's been making some really great shows that are surprisingly watchable.  I trust them.  And, again, give kids a little more credit.  They can tell when something's just a "different version" of the same thing.  ie, my three year old loves his "Super Hero Squad" and "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" Avengers shows equally.

  • I like it. Different enough from the film. And you can't run a company wondering what the dead founder would do.

  • I gotta give Disney credit, that's a really radical design reinvention for such iconic characters. They usually play it safe when it comes to this stuff; It's either madness or genius. Thankfully I'm a fan of Noah Z. Jones' artwork, so I'm leaning towards genius.

    Also, I can't believe Disney Junior of all places is holding a "Tiny Toons"/"Animaniacs" reunion. How the heck did they get Tom Reugger, Alfred Gimeno, and Sherri Stoner?

  • Disney has a different take in ABC's Once upon a time, and it still feels real and relevant to some extent. I've never liked the design on Fish Hooks so I guess his aesthetic is just unappealing to me. It feels like something you'd see on cartoon network. No polish.

  • I don't like them at all. Feels like the first time I heard they were going to make Tinkerbell talk, or when they decided to place Johnny Depp on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Luckily I don't watch the Disney Channel or Disney XD, and hopefully these things won't find their way into the parks.

  • I guess this is why it's titled "7D" and not "The Seven Dwarfs!" I guess even Disney is leery of making fans Grumpy!


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