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Disney just revived a character it lost the rights to in 1928

One of Walt Disney’s first creations returns to the studio’s animation roster after close to a century

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

In celebration of Disney’s 100th anniversary, the studio released a brand-new animated short featuring one of the company’s oldest and most frequently forgotten characters, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

If you’ve heard of Oswald, it might be because the character was featured in the 2010 game Epic Mickey. Walt Disney and animator Ub Iwerks designed the spunky rabbit in 1927 while their fledgling animation studio was under contract to Universal Pictures. Oswald starred in a series of popular shorts, but when Universal asserted that it owned the character and continued producing Oswald shorts without Disney, he retired the rabbit from his own animation character stable, and created Mickey Mouse as a replacement that his company would own.

Oswald returned to the Walt Disney Corporation’s ownership in 2006, and while the character subsequently appeared in games, merchandise, and around the parks, this is his first appearance in an animated short since then.

“Oswald is such a plucky scamp. We wanted to bring Oswald back, and in the short, he literally returns to his original home, the movie screen,” says director Eric Goldberg. “We wanted to have Oswald do all of the ‘squash-and-stretch,’ ‘rubber hose’-animation style, celebrating that first generation of Walt Disney’s artists.”

The short is currently available on YouTube.

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