Marvel and Walt Disney Imagineering are teaming up to release a five-issue comic book series detailing an origin story of Dreamfinder and Figment.
Older fans of Epcot will remember Dreamfinder as the whimsical scientist who guides riders through the original Journey Into Imagination ride with his purple dragon, Figment. The playful dragon lives on at the attraction, but Dreamfinder is gone.
Disney's Recycling Plan (with Hollywood Not Involved)
It's unusual to see Disney put content-creating muscle behind a character that it already offed, but Figment's popularity and the large numbers of park guests who experienced the original attraction make this a smart bet for Disney. It can bring back Dreamfinder and sell more Figment merchandise while also drawing attention to one of the least-visited attractions at Epcot.
Many Disney attractions are based on movies, and some attractions have inspired movies, including Pirates of the Caribbean, with its four films raking in nearly $1.3 billion in domestic ticket sales alone. Spider-Man, Hulk and Iron Man also started as Marvel comic books before repeatedly striking celluloid gold.
This is different. Dreamfinder and Figment aren't going Hollywood. Disney will likely aim lower, targeting Disney enthusiasts instead of mainstream audiences with the series.
Anna, Elsa and a Pesky Problem With Islands of Adventure
It's hard to beat Disney when it comes to milking the most out of commercial opportunities for successful properties across various mediums. One of the longest lines at Epcot these days is to meet and take a picture with Anna and Elsa -- the two sisters in last year's sleeper hit "Frozen."
The movie's success and its catchy soundtrack would be -- aside from sequels --
There are limitations, of course. It takes years for Disney imagineers to roll out a ride, so it can take a long time after a movie's a hit before it becomes more than just an in-park show, parade float, or meet and greet station. There's also the unique situation with Marvel in Florida: Characters that were made available to rival theme park operator Universal's Islands of Adventure can't make appearances at Disney World.
However, turning a somewhat-obscure character who is no longer featured in an attraction into a comic book property is extreme even by Disney's multimedia standards. The irony of generating an origin backstory for a character that Disney itself snuffed out in 1998 is rich, but it shows that nothing ever truly remains dead at Disney.
Walt Disney himself is not cryogenically frozen. That's a bogus rumor. However, he seems to be about the only thing that Disney can't bring back.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney.