The Disney Films That Never Were: THE SEARCH FOR MICKEY MOUSE - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Disney Films That Never Were: THE SEARCH FOR MICKEY MOUSE

They seek him here, they seek him there, but we never saw it anywhere...

In 2002, Walt Disney Feature Animations announced that production had begun on a film to mark Mickey Mouse's upcoming 75th anniversary. What they had in mind would've connected the Disney universe in a Avengers: Infinity War type way as characters from across all of their previous full length animated features teamed up in The Search For Mickey Mouse.

At the time the plot was said to involve Mickey Mouse being "mousenapped" by unknown forces, leading Minnie Mouse to enlist the services of Basil of Baker Street (The Great Mouse Detective) to investigate his disappearance. Along with Minnie and Basil, Donald Duck and Goofy travel the wonderful world of Disney to find their mouse friend. On their quest they encounter at least one character from each of Disney's animated films, including; Alice (In Wonderland), Peter Pan, Robin Hood, and Aladdin, to name just four.

After countless shorts, this would be Mickey's first full length movie, and it was rumoured that The Search For Mickey Mouse would arrive in November 2004, in time for the Holiday season. Speculation at the time was that it would be in CGI, marking Mickey's first digital appearance for the company. However, the project suffered script problems. Weaving multiple cameos into the intricate story proved to be a complex task, and so on December 19th 2002 Disney announced a new feature to celebrate Mickey's 7th Anniversary - the direct-to-video Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers.

An adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and José Carioca as the Musketeers, originally began development at Walt Disney Animation Studios back in 1983 with storyboard artists Steve Hulett and Pete Young working on the project.  It fell into development hell and mainly seems to have been revived to fill the void The Search For Mickey Mouse had created. Although the story-line was revamped, much of Hulett and Young's work formed the basis of the 2004 version, although José Carioca was not featured.

In the end Mickey's 75th Anniversary was celebrated with two direct-to-video releases, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, and the CGI-fest Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas.

Many lamented the loss of The Search For Mickey Mouse but with no new information released about the project the assumption was that it had been cancelled.

Then, in 2005 WDW Radio reported that The Search For Mickey Mouse would be released in 2012 as Walt Disney Animation Studio's 50th Animated Feature. Could there be a character more suited than Mickey Mouse to mark such a milestone for Disney? I think not.

Ultimately, the new hope surrounding the project came to nothing. As well as the complexity of the script, it was also said that the extensive cameos were becoming "too gimmicky". In the end, Tangled, another film which spent years in development hell, became Walt Disney Studio's 50th Animated Feature upon its release in 2010.

No footage or screenshots have ever surfaced from The Search For Mickey Mouse. We can assume this is one search that has been called off, but maybe one day Disney will reopen this cold case and, what could've been a truly epic production, might finally be realised.

The 1930s & 40s Live Action Alice In Wonderland 
The 1943 Sequel To Bambi
Where The Wild Things Are
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Two
Dumbo II 

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