Walt Disney Animation might have gotten its start in the world of 2D animation, but for more than a decade now, it's transitioned almost exclusively to 3D animation. It’s a move that made sense at the time, given that the Mouse House has always been at the cornerstone of animation. But as of late, fans have started to feel fatigued at the lack of diversity amongst the style.
As an avid animation and Disney fan, I would definitely love to see the studio return to its roots. There’s just something so magical about those early art styles that seems to be lacking in recent movies. Unfortunately, the studio laid off almost all of the hand-drawn artist department back in 2013. While it seems like fans are going to have to wait a while before we get another fully 2D-animated Disney movie, we shouldn’t give up all hope.
In a recent interview with The Direct, Chris Buck, the co-director of Disney’s Wish, teased the possibility of bringing the animation style back. While Buck didn’t go into detail on how the studios plan to achieve this, he did say that they would “absolutely” look into including more 2D animated movies in the future.
The keyword here is “including.” It doesn’t seem like the Mickey Mouse studio is too keen on abandoning 3D animation altogether, but I’m definitely interested in how the two mediums could blend together. After all, it worked perfectly for the Once Upon A Studio short that was released last month. It brought classic Disney characters together in their traditional art styles, which made many fans emotional, including myself.
Despite the hesitancy, Buck did mention that 2D animation played an early part in Wish. The movie, which is hoping to celebrate the movies Disney's released over the past 100 years, features a star character named, well, Star. While he’s 3D-animated in the film, the animators allegedly considered making him 2D. Buck went on record saying:
This film was inspired, obviously, by the legacy and the 2D animation. And the look has a somewhat 2D look with the lines on the characters. We did early tests with Star as 2D. But yeah, I think we keep exploring.
The upcoming Disney Movie Wish would have been the perfect opportunity for Disney to test out a hybrid 2D/3D animated feature film, but I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that. At least we have Star, who is reminiscent of those beloved hand-drawn characters.
More on Disney's Wish
Disney animated movies might be stuck in the 3D animation style for now, but there’s hope in the TV side of things. The upcoming Tiana series is still going forward as planned. Details are sparse, but one can assume that the series will be 2D animated, just like the original The Princess and the Frog film.
For now, fans can revisit classic Disney animated movies with an active Disney+ subscription and keep sharing their love of the hand-drawn art on social media. In order for original 2D animated movies to return, we have to show support for the movies being released now, so head to your local movie theater website to get tickets to Wish. The movie hits theaters on November 22nd, and based on early screenings, you won’t want to miss it.