Crossovers, Reboots, and Bootlegs – Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers Writers Explain It All

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What if I told you that one of the best movies of 2022 is a to restart return of cartoon characters who debuted in the 1940s?

In a world surrounded by reboots, remakes and requels, Disney+’s live-action movie Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers is a refreshing, hilarious, and brilliant film that catches up with former Disney Afternoon television stars in today’s Los Angeles.

Reboot part and crossover part, Rescue Rangers is a celebration of childhood animation and cartoons. Taking no prisoners, it offers commentary on entertainment, studios, and even the dark side of pirate movies.

Created by Lonely Island director Akiva Schaffer (Popstar: never stop, never stop) and how I Met Your Mother writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand created a film that breathes excitement into every moment onscreen while bringing heart and warmth to fictional characters who handle success and fame very differently, even finding themselves in dangerous backlot situations.

Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) and Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) in Disney’s live-action CHIP N’ DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Koalition spoke to the writers of Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers‘ Dan Gregor and Doug Man on how they were able to legally pull off all the cameos and crossovers, what the Rescue Rangers have to say about entertainment culture, bootlegs and more.

“As writers, it was super easy for us to clickity-clack, clickity-clack on a keyboard and say whatever we wanted and imagine everything in the world [that] could be here. The really complicated part was once there was production on the line, and people were really spending money, we had to get everyone [including the team of] producers in Mandeville, director Akiva Shaffer and Disney lawyers [onboard]. They all worked hard to get each of these things [this movie]. Each thing [and character] you see is its own individual negotiation because there is no one or place you can go to ask permission. There were a lot of no’s, it was very fluid.

“Dan and I started writing this movie seven years ago. There are a lot of iterations, a lot of characters that were known for a number of reasons, but again, I would say a lot more yeses than we never could have imagined. You just don’t think they’re actually going to do this and because it’s very rare you just don’t see too many crossovers you definitely don’t see other studios to have their characters in other movies and we’re very grateful for that now.

Big fans of Roger Rabbit, Gregor and Maud pay homage to the character and the universe of Who Framed Roger Rabbit by making stranded actors once-famous animated chipmunks in the real world where anime characters and humans live together. Some characters find continued success while others wait at empty tables hoping someone will notice them at conventions.

(L-R): Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) and Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) in Disney’s live-action CHIP ‘N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

“Roger Rabbit was a big touchstone for us, for this film. [It was] one of our favorite movies of all time and this movie was something you know when you saw Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny in the same location as a Disney and Warner property; it was breathtaking. It’s like ‘how can they even be in the same space for us?’ We felt like this movie wanted to live in that world of Roger Rabbit, but it had to be a modern update.

“In 1990 there’s only a limited amount of animation for a movie set in the 50s and now it’s been 30 years later and there’s a whole new world of animation that’s been created and introduced overseas and different types and styles and even technology and so for us it was the most fun challenge to figure out how many different things can exist here honestly and then who will step in and do most of the heavy lifting of negotiation with all the different parties to get those rights we’re just as shocked that it’s actually in the movie we didn’t really think when we were writing it they would do it but they did and it’s a testimony from everyone who worked so hard on this movie to make it.

Building on the Chip and Dale relationship, the film completely flips the script on our expectations. They were best friends 30 years ago, but their lives are very different and their relationship is fractured. It’s been decades since their hit TV show was canceled, but when a former teammate mysteriously disappears, Chip and Dale must mend their broken friendship and face off against their detective characters Rescue Rangers once again to save their old friend’s life.

Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg), Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) and Bob the Viking Warrior (voiced by Seth Rogen) in Disney’s live-action CHIP N’ DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

“We grew up with big fans of Rescue Rangers [and] all afternoon disney [slate]. We race every day after school to experience the full range of duck tales, Goof Troop and dark duck. It was all super important to us, but now, as adults, many years later, it’s one of the things we’ve found [that] was really only important to us [for] a little bit of time. If you’re a little older, a little younger, it’s never even entered your consciousness and one of the things [that’s] what’s interesting about reboots is that there are things that are sacred and you have to make them perfect. We were really happy to [Rescue Rangers because] it’s beloved but it’s not sacred and you can play with it, you can play with it, you can change it enough that it’s something really different and new than what you just did with your memories are. That was a big part of that.

“Even the Rescue Rangers in all of Disney’s afternoon lineup, it really led to this because chip and dale were originally Donald Duck’s foils, they were stealing his peanuts. baloo is in the jungle book but then it goes downhill and the thing that becomes clear in all of this is that they are just some kind of actors playing in separate shows. So this concept became really fundamental to imagine chip and dale as actors who put on these costumes in the 90s to play their most famous roles and now today [they’re just] ordinary people.”

To learn more about Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers Check out our full interview in the video above.