Disney and Mickey Mouse. There’s not a more iconic duo than that… well PB&J might be a close second.
In all seriousness, Mickey has been the face of the Walt Disney Company for well over 90 years, but recently, there have been rumors swirling about Disney “retiring” Mickey in 2024. So let’s dive into these rumors, debunk the misinformation, and shed light on the real story. Let’s go!
The Mickey Mouse Retirement Rumor
Let’s start by saying that Disney will NOT be retiring Mickey Mouse in 2024. There is no credible information to suggest that Disney will be doing anything of the sort, and all the rumors suggesting it are fake.
As you know, we live in a world where information basically travels at light speed through social media, which is why it’s good to read articles on the internet with a healthy dose of caution (and skepticism). This particular rumor about Mickey Mouse retiring is a prime example of the internet being a breeding ground for rumors and misinformation. So what happened?
What started all this hulabaloo is that the original design of Mickey Mouse will lose copyright protection in 2024 (it will be entering the public domain). It’s important to note that NOT ALL of Mickey Mouse will be hitting the public domain in 2024.
Copyright Issues and “Steamboat Willie”
Just so we’re on the same page, know that Copyright law provides individuals (or companies) with exclusive rights over creative works — this includes fictional characters that are original and fixed in a tangible medium. As long as the copyright protection lasts, the owner has the exclusive ability to use and distribute their work. Once the copyright expires, the work goes into the public domain. At that point, anyone can use that work however they want to.
2024 will specifically put “Steamboat Willie, “The Barn Dance,” and that original design of Mickey Mouse into the public domain in terms of copyright law. (As each year passes, more films starring Mickey will enter the public domain.)
Once 2024 comes, Disney won’t have any copyright protection for those original films and Mickey’s original version, but will still own later designs and trademarks. For example, Mickey doesn’t actually wear white gloves until 1929. So, while you might be able to create a Mickey toy (featuring that original version of Mickey) on your own without any approval or authorization from Disney in 2024 when Mickey hits the public domain, your toy couldn’t feature Mickey’s signature white gloves until 2025. But rest easy knowing that Modern Mickey looks very different from Steamboat Mickey.
Mickey Isn’t Going Anywhere
As we said, Mickey Mouse has been the face of Disney for nearly a century, so while the copyright for the original “Steamboat Willie” version might change in 2024, it doesn’t threaten Mickey’s existence.
Disney owns the rights to multiple versions of Mickey, each with its unique characteristics and stories, and these versions are still under copyright protection. From the cheerful and animated mouse we all know today to his early black-and-white incarnation, they all contribute to the rich Disney history.
We can rest assured knowing that Mickey isn’t going anywhere.
Debunking the Movie Production Rumor
Just like the Mickey Mouse retirement rumor, there has been a false claim that Disney is ending its movie production. This rumor was in response to a short animated film called “Once Upon a Studio” released on Disney+.
What happened was that someone on TikTok posted a video of them misinterpreting this short as Disney’s farewell to making movies. That TikTok got more than a million views and set the rumor ablaze with tons of Disney fans voicing concern, but don’t worry. This is a totally false rumor.
“Once Upon a Studio” was created as a part of Disney’s 100th-anniversary celebration, and serve as a heartfelt tribute to the company’s rich history and cinema it has created over the years. It was NOT a signal of the end of Disney’s cinematic journey.
These rumors about both Mickey Mouse’s retirement and the end of Disney’s movie production show us that we need to fact-check and relying on credible sources. If there’s anything we can be absolutely sure of it’s that these won’t be the last rumors we’ll be hearing about. Until then, stay tuned for all the latest Disney updates!
What do you think of these rumors? Tell us in the comments!