Ice Age: Scrat Tales Trailer: Back In His Parent's Hands

Debuting on Disney+ on April 13, 2022, is "Ice Age: Scrat Tails," a new animated series featuring everyone's favorite mute squirrel rat creature from the "Ice Age" animated film series. 

The series will consist of six short films, each featuring Scrat and Scrat's newfound child. Prior to this, Scrat was featured in six short films, starting in 2002 with "Gone Nutty." The Scrat shorts feature violent slapstick humor wherein the title creature gets horrendously stretched and mutilated in the pursuit of acorns. They are clearly inspired by Chuck Jones' Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner short films from 1949 to 1964. "Scrat Tails," in incorporating Scrat's child, seems to draw more inspiration from Robert McKimson's Sylvester/Sylvester, Jr. shorts from the 1950s.

The trailer for "Scrat Tails" is now available, and you can watch it below. This marks the second release from Blue Sky studios following their shuttering amid the massive Disney/Fox buyout. 

In January of 2022, the sixth installment in the "Ice Age" series, John C. Donkin's "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild," was released on Disney+ with modest fanfare and very little critical enthusiasm, and was marked by one notable omission: No Scrat. It turns out Scrat has been in bitter litigation for 20 years, and "Scrat Tails" marks the first time Scrat has been back in the hands of its original creator.


According to the credits on the "Ice Age" movies, Scrat was created by Chris Wedge and Michael J. Wilson. However, in 1999 an animator named Ivy Supersonic claims that she — after seeing a very bizarre squirrel/rat creature on the campus of Skidmore College in New York — designed a creature called Sqrat and pitched the character to 20th Century Fox, then the holder of Blue Sky Studios. They rejected her pitch, but, curiously, a very similar character also called Sqrat appeared in early drafts of the "Ice Age" script. The spelling was eventually changed to Scrat, and the creature became the mascot of the studio. Although Supersonic attempted to copyright the character in 1999, the process had been abandoned. 

Disney was able to use the Sqrat character because of a bizarre loophole in the way the character was designed. Although Supersonic designed the character, she had hired an artist named Ron Szafarczyk to re-tool the character to be more marketing-friendly. Szafarczyk, instead of retooling the character from scratch, ended up copying and slightly altering an off-the-rack image of a beaver owned by a clip-art company called DAS. Fox negotiated the character with Szafarczyk and with DAS, which were technically the co-owners of Sqrat. Supersonic was shut out.  

Supersonic sued Fox for stealing her character. In 2003, a court ruled that Fox and Supersonic were co-owners of Scrat, after Supersonic bought the Beaver image back from Szafarczyk, with rights stretching back to 1994. Fox offered her a settlement which she refused. After years of legal battles, in 2012, Supersonic was finally awarded the copyright to the Scrat character, finally bringing the 1999 paperwork to a close. It wasn't until the Disney buyout of Fox that Supersonic was asked to renegotiate. After refusing to agree to another joint ownership arrangement, Supersonic was finally awarded full rights to Scrat. A website called Animation Anomaly covers the entire case in greater detail. 

Supersonic's name does not appear in the IMDb credits for "Ice Age: Scrat Tails," but Chris Wedge is not listed as the character's creator, either. The legal drama is finally at an end, and audiences can now enjoy Scrat again.