With recent news from Robert Zemeckis that a new "Roger Rabbit" script has been submitted to Disney for a possible follow-up to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", it's likely not an easy decision to give it a green light. Other than three "Roger Rabbit" shorts released in the few years following the 1988 film, the battle to create a sequel is nearly ripe for its own documentary. What made the complications behind it all the more telling is that the initial follow-up idea was going to be a prequel rather than a usual sequel.
Why it had to be a prequel tells us much in how the initial story stands so alone in the annals of animation history. The original prequel intention was an origin film of the Roger Rabbit and Jessica Rabbit characters and how they ended up in show business. Titled "Roger Rabbit II: Toon Platoon", we were also going to see Roger Rabbit and Jessica (along with myriad other toons) involved in World War II.
Evidence is all around the Internet describing how this prequel could have played. And with continual evidence that Bugs Bunny would have had a cameo as Roger Rabbit's lost father, you can see one of the crucial elements of the original film. Let's even enhance the argument that without all the cameos of Warner Brothers and Disney characters in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", would it have been as successful as it was?
Outside of Jessica Rabbit making every human male's tongue and other assorted organs wag, the character of Roger Rabbit alone wasn't up to the intelligence and appeal of every other prior, classic animated character. A much more rambunctious anthropomorphic sort, Roger could have easily annoyed parents and kids in 1988 if not for the then awe-inspiring coalescing of human beings with animated figures. As well, let's give credit to one of the other solid anchors of the original film: Bob Hoskins.
Hoskins' Eddie Valiant character had myriad possibilities, with plenty of troubled mystery and comedy to go on. He wouldn't have been in the above-mentioned prequel either, which was going by the assumption that the toon characters interacting with other humans (and Nazis) could hold the entire film. But since Bob Hoskins has recently retired from acting due to Parkinson's disease, there isn't a chance he'll be in a newly produced sequel or prequel.
Also, the chances of having more extensive cameos from Disney, Warner Brothers, and Walter Lantz characters look more complicated in the age of rights battles. No mention has been made that any cameos would take place in the newly proposed sequel. Even so, "Wreck-It Ralph" has shown us it can still be done in limited capacity.
With none of the above being available or plentiful, what more can be added to a "Roger Rabbit" sequel that would bring back the familiar? If it stays as a prequel, it's more than possible to bring back Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom to show how he went from a toon to a human judge of Toontown. You also can't be without Baby Herman before (or maybe still during) his foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping era.
Most of all, the film needs a human actor who will have palpable chemistry with the (presumably old school 2D) animated characters to help anchor the film. Without Bob Hoskins, it may require an actor or actress audition quite unlike any other done in film history.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Roger Rabbit
- Bob Hoskins