Could Disney Soon Develop A Feature-Length Mickey Mouse Film?

Despite the character's locked-in-stone status as an animation icon, Mickey Mouse has forever been a star of shorts, television and comics. While there have been some direct to video films starring Mickey, he's never starred in his own theatrical feature.

Now it looks like one could happen. Not quickly or soon, because that's not the pace of animation. But still: a Mickey feature in theaters would be a pretty big deal.

Speaking to Bleeding Cool about his work on Winnie the Pooh, long-time Disney veteran Burny Mattinson said,

I am working on just an idea of my own which is basically a Mickey, Donald, Goofy feature film idea. We have to present it first to the bosses to get the green light.

We'll watch how this goes. Part of the reason that there has never been a Mickey feature is that the character is a serious cash cow for Disney and, not to put too fine a point on it, the company has been afraid to screw that up. Easier to do lower-profile TV and cartoons than gamble with a big movie that could fall flat.

But that has been changing a bit, in part through the game Epic Mickey. A 2009 New York Times article explains that the game is part of an overall attempt to play with the character a bit: a parallel but separate effort, Disney has quietly embarked on an even larger project to rethink the character's personality, from the way Mickey walks and talks to the way he appears on the Disney Channel and how children interact with him on the Web — even what his house looks like at Disney World.

Epic Mickey didn't quite light the world on fire, so it might have also stalled plans to turn towards a Mickey that is a little more mischievous. I'd like to know what Burny Mattinson's pitch is for the character — which Mickey is he hoping to work with?