Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers Wanted Many More Cameos That Didn't Happen

It's genuinely shocking that "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" exists. Every single frame of the film is littered with industry satire and references to some of animation's most iconic characters — and we're not just talking about characters owned by the House of Mouse. The film is a hilarious takedown of the way animation has evolved and been exploited, with the hybrid style of filmmaking feeling reminiscent of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" or Ralph Bakshi's "Cool World." When the first teaser for "Chip 'n Dale" dropped, people were flabbergasted with just how many animated characters the filmmakers managed to get the rights to. The logistics seem mind-boggling.

In an interview with director Akiva Schaffer, /Film learned that if all had been well and good, "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" would have featured even more memorable faces. Obviously, there were plenty that wanted no part in a movie that was skewering the mistreatment of animation, but that wasn't always the case. Schaffer told us:

"Sometimes it would be surprisingly easy to get a third party. My Little Pony, for whatever reason, were just like... I asked about it one day and a few days later the lawyers came back and went, 'Oh yeah, so My Little Pony, they're cool with it.'" 

Schaffer said some properties took a bit more convincing, but they eventually got the rights. However, in a lot of instances, it was difficult to figure out who even owned the rights to a character.

No Mickey mocking allowed

During the 1980s and 1990s, American broadcasting networks scooped up a lot of internationally made cartoons, which complicates the intellectual property rights. Schaffer said:

 "The rights are so hard to even track down, especially if it's like an '80s or '90s cartoon that maybe originated in a different country. Say Fox made the cartoon, but it was financed by a European company, but the toy rights were in Japan, and you're like, 'Which version of it are you trying to use? Who even owns it?'" 

Knowing these difficulties exist only makes the final product of "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" even more impressive. It's a marvel that Schaffer was able to pull off a film like this.

Of course, there are some very noticeable omissions from Disney, as they stood firm on not including the Disney Fab Five of ​​Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald Duck. Despite the limitations, there are still a plethora of Disney characters that were given the go-ahead to appear in the film, some of which are in less-than-flattering lights. Schaffer did see the denial experience from some rights holders as a learning opportunity saying, "I'm hoping that if we ever get to do more, I'm going to re-approach them and try to get it again." 

Here's hoping that "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" performs well enough that other animation greats will want to join in on the fun.