Rumor Mill: Is Disney Planning A Marvel Animated Movie?

When it was announced in 2009 that Disney had purchased Marvel, many wondered if the mouse house would adapt any of the superhero stories into animated features. When the deal was announced, CEO Bob Iger mentioned that they "talked about this internally" and that Pixar head John Lasseter had already "talked to the Marvel guys" about possibilities "and they all got excited about it." Nothing was announced, but Iger concluded saying "We think there's ultimately some exciting product that come of that. Sparks will fly!"

There were rumors that Pixar could develop a Doctor Stange film. There were also reports that Edgar Wright was working with Pixar on the long-in-development Ant-Man movie, but Wright called reports premature:

"The news that Pixar is involved is not wholly accurate and a little premature to comment on. I love Pixar's work more than anyone and indeed would love to collaborate with them."

And later Lasseter debunked the possibility of a Marvel/Pixar team-up all together:

"No, not at Pixar. We have The Incredibles, so we've done superheroes here ourselves and so we have that kind of history with Brad Bird doing The Incredibles."

But he didn't say that something couldn't happen at Walt Disney Animation. And when I chatted with Marvel Studios head / Producer Kevin Feige on the set of The Avengers in June 2011,he called the prospect a "no-brainer" while again quashing the possibility of Pixar's involvement:

"Well, I think the notion of an animated movie based off of a Marvel property is a no-brainer and it's something that we've been talking about. You know, Lasseter is now both Pixar and Walt Disney animation. So, you know, I don't where, whatever project would fall where necessarily. And frankly, Pixar is all about original properties and original ideas, but an animated version of one of our characters, one of our 8,000-plus characters would seem to be something that could happen at some point."

And now the rumor mill is back at it, and the chatter centers on Animation filmmaker Don Hall's secret project.

For those of you who don't follow the Animation industry closely, Hall has been a staple at Walt Disney Animation for the last decade. He was a writer and story artist on Disney's Tarzan and The Emperor's New Grove, he worked as a character designer on Chicken Little, a writer on Meet the Robinsons, a writer/story supervisor on The Princess and the Frog, and finally made his directorial debut with the 2011 film Winnie The Pooh (which he also wrote).

In July, Blue Sky Disney was the first to report on his next project:

That project, once announced will generate a lot of buzz in certain geek communities, as it's going to surprise a lot of people for what it is and what it's not. But it's in the very early embryonic stage and it depends on how well the project is received upon the presentation that is being prepared for John [Lasster] and Ed [Catmull].

We didn't connect the dots at the time, but its now rumored that the project might be connected to the Marvel Universe. Last week Blue Sky teased the secret project yet again:

The projects competing for 2014/2015 are the uber-secret film from Don Hall, which will be a marvelously unexpected project if it ever gets the green light, and Nathan Greno and Byron Howard's films which are deep in development.

Notice the phrasing of "marvelously", which isn't a coincidence. Thanks to BleedingCool for bringing this to our attention. It would be easy to write off speculation from a Disney fan site, but Blue Sky has some deep ties in the Disney animation world and has been at the forefront of some big animation scoops in past years.

So what could this project possibly be? We have no idea. Also keep in mind BSD's earlier comment that the project would "surprise a lot of people for what it is and what it's not."