Over the years, many people have been called “Rednecks.” “Disney Legends,”They are often chosen because they live close to the company, or have worked on several projects together. But starting in the late 1980s, becoming a Disney Legend was something that would actually happen – you’d get a statue and a golden, lifetime ticket to all of the Disney Parks and your handprints would soon be immortalized in Legends Plaza, an area on the Disney Lot in Burbank (formerly the reflection pool for the masterful Team Disney Burbank building designed by postmodern architect Michael Graves). A lavish ceremony was added to the D23 Expo in Anaheim, which is the all-Disney version Comic-Con. It takes place every other year.
While this year’s inductees have yet to be announced, we have some ideas about who should be honored this year:
Robert A.M. Stern
Like Graves, Stern is one of the country’s leading postmodern architects and his contributions to Disney are vast – he designed the casting office in Orlando, several resorts (including the Yacht & Beach Club and Boardwalk) and gave whimsical shape to the Disney Animation building in Burbank. The masterplan for Celebration in Florida, where Disney used to live, was also his. Stern is still living, unlike Graves, who passed away in 2015. The company’s current state of affairs can be described as indifferent to architectural aesthetics. However, it is important to recognize how deeply Stern has shaped Disney’s modern image.
People, it’s time for you to get rid of the hatchet! When Michael Eisner, Disney’s former chairman and CEO, who took Disney from a small family company to a global media juggernaut, appeared recently on a prime-time television special honoring The 50thAnniversary of Walt Disney World. It appeared that the animosity between current and past management had softened. Among the foundations of Eisner’s legacy: the Disneyland Paris resort, Pleasure Island and Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World, Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios), a pair of Walt Disney World water parks, Hollywood Pictures, the renaissance in Disney Animation, the purchase of ABC, founding the relationship with Pixar, the Celebration experiment and much, much more. Although Eisner’s tenure ended amid upheaval, some creative stagnation and turmoil, it is not hard to see how much the company under his leadership experienced a major shift and how many of his passion projects and initiatives continue to amaze guests and viewers all over the globe. Eisner was the last true creative leader of the company. This has been felt over the years. Let’s make this happen!
Susan Harris, creator and showrunner for Marvel Cinematic Universe was a long-time presenter of an interconnected universe on prime-time. “The Golden Girls,” “Empty Nest”(which ran almost as long) “The Golden Girls”) and “Nurses.”This is because of the fact that “Golden Girls”-themed immersive experience just opened in Los Angeles is a testament to the power and longevity of Harris’ creations, not to mention how often the show is rerun on basic cable. (You could drive right past the actual). “Golden Girls”House, season 4 and beyond, was part of the Studio Backlot Tour at what was then Disney-MGM Studios, Florida. Harris is also the creator of “Benson”And “Soap,” hasn’t been awarded this yet is insane.
Miranda is only 42. But he certainly fills the requirements to already be considered a Disney Legend: he did the songs for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana”And “Encanto;”Two of his songs were composed by him. “Star Wars”The sequels were briefly featured in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”He co-starred in “Mary Poppins Returns;”He was a voice in the recent reboot of “DuckTales;”The live version “Hamilton”Disney+ streams exclusive content. And, oh yeah, he’s contributed new songs to the “Little Mermaid” live-action adaptation due out next summer. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of his relationship with Disney. Don’t hesitate to give him the award.
Many composers are Disney Legends, and Michael Giacchino should be added to that list. This is a man who has composed for virtually every arm of the Walt Disney Company – Pixar (his Oscar-winning work on “Up,” plus several features and shorts, including this year’s “Lightyear”), Walt Disney Animation Studios (“Zootopia,” “Prep & Landing”), Marvel Studios (“Doctor Strange,”The Tom Holland-led “Spider-Man”Films, among other things), Lucasfilm“Rogue One”), Disney live-action (“Tomorrowland”) and several theme park attractions for various Disney Parks around the world (including the Ratatouille attraction, arranging the new Star Tours music and the music for Space Mountain). And what’s more, he’s directing and scoring a new Marvel Studios Halloween special, “Werewolf by Night,”It will air on Disney+ later in the year. We love the synergy, don’t we folks?
This one could go either direction. Joe Rohde, one of the most famous Imagineers to have ever worked in that division of the company, was involved with things such as “Captain EO”Maelstrom, which was the attraction that used be in EPCOT’s Norway pavilion. He then went on to become one of the most singular and distinctive voices in that division of the company – Animal Kingdom is virtually his park (including the incredible “Avatar”-themed area), in the same way that Disneyland Paris is Tony Baxter’s. And he would continue to hold great influence over projects like Aulani in Hawaii and the Disney Cruise Line’s new private island. But he was forced to leave during mid-pandemic layoffs. He now works for Virgin Galactic, while still consulting on Disney projects. The wounds might still be too fresh but it’s not too early to make him a Disney Legend.
Samuel L. Jackson
Another one that seems obvious. Jackson is the voice of one of the most famous characters in both. “Incredibles”And “Incredibles 2,”One of the greatest Touchstone movies was starring in it (“Unbreakable”) and has a huge role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having put the Avengers together and co-starred in more installments than we can count. Jackson is also set for more, with a Disney+ limited series called “The Jackson Show” coming in the next year. “Secret Invasion”Continuations and sequels “Ant-Man and the Wasp”And “Captain Marvel,”This puts Jackson in prime position to secure his Disney Legend plaque sooner than expected (and the ceremony is always open to star power). Also, while Jackson’s contributions to the “Star Wars” galaxy happened before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, it’s never too late for a Mace Windu spin-off.