Disney has officially revived its long-planned cartoon feature King of the Elves with a new writer and production team according to Variety. The new iteration of the project will now be penned by Michael Markowitz, best known for writing comedy films including the upcoming Horrible Bosses.
King of the Elves is a Disney animated film that has been in and out of production numerous times. Based on a Phillip K Dick story (the author best known for penning the story that inspired Blade Runner), King of the Elves is a quirky, off-beat fairy tale that early Disney concepts moved from Colorado to the Mississippi delta.
The story revolves around Shadrach Jones, an elderly gas station owner content with his simple, shabby way of life. One night from the comfort of his home, he sees a bedraggled group of elves outside and invites them in, offering his bedroom while he sleeps on the couch. The next morning, he awakes to find that the group of elves was an army with their king; the king has died in the night, and by his dying wish, Shadrach has been made king. Shadrach resists, but ends up helping the elves. And, in the end, when he returns to his gas station, he realizes he no longer belongs in that life and takes his place…as king of the elves.
King of the Elves was originally unveiled in 2008, alongside Wall-E, Tangled, and Brave. Its path to production, however, was a rocky one. The project has had numerous writers and had been shelved. However, ideas at Disney are never completely gone, and it seems that as of July 29, Lassiter has put the film back into the upcoming animation lineup.
King of the Elves is currently planned as a digitally animated feature, like Tangled, though it is unclear whether it would be released under the Walt Disney Classics label or the Walt Disney Studios heading. The film is currently slated for a holiday 2013 release, finishing out the year after the Monsters University summer 2013 release.
King of the Elves is an interesting choice for Disney animation. Although it includes many classic fairy tale elements, its hero is a very atypical one. Like many Disney animated films, it is a coming of age story, but the character finding new meaning in life is far from young. It can be seen as a potential tie-in with Disney’s popular Fairies line, and its plot involves adventure and excitement, but will it play with younger viewers?
What do you think? Will the hiring of a writer with a background in comedy help or hurt King of the Elves? Is it a project you’re interested in?