29 January 2013

Disney’s ‘1952’ now called ‘Tomorrowland’ and is not about aliens... or is it?

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

So, Brad Bird’s hotly-anticipated sci-fi project for Disney – tentatively titled 1952 – now has its official name: Tomorrowland.

Rumors have been swirling online for months that Bird’s film – which will star George Clooney – is to be a Close Encounters-style UFO epic. Bird himself has remained tight-lipped.

In October of last year, Vulture reported on the movie’s mysterious back-story, which goes like this:

last spring, Disney’s head of production, Sean Bailey, arranged for screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Cowboys and Aliens, Prometheus) to be given access to “one of the studio’s odder curiosities: a banker’s box of files and documents that had been left moldering in Walt Disney’s personal development lab, WED Enterprises, which later became the studio’s vaunted Imagineering department.”

According to Vulture’s “spies”, the box was originally labelled with the title of Disney’s 1965 comedy That Darn Cat!, which had been crossed out and in its place was written “1952.” Apparently, inside the box was a “collection of documents and primary source materials that, when looked at all together, indicated that someone had been working on a project (movie? Theme park ride?) about alien contact.”

The identity of this “someone” from Disney’s bygone era working on a project about alien contact was never specified, but I speculated that it might be Ward Kimball – who famously claimed to have worked on an aborted government-sponsored Disney UFO documentary that was supposed to have featured real UFO footage.

However, within hours of publishing his inside scoop on 1952, Vulture’s Claude Brodesser-Akner made a public apology, stating that he had “misunderstood” his source for his story and that Brad Bird’s movie “is not in fact about an alien encounter.”

Now, the movie’s screenwriter Damon Lindelof has chipped in with the following Tweet: “We won't tell you what it's about (yet), but we will tell you what it's NOT about. And that would be ALIENS.”

Teasing us even further, Brad Bird last week Tweeted a picture of the aforementioned “box of files and documents” which is serving as inspiration for this mysterious movie project...
 

This marks the beginning of what will surely be an elaborate marketing campaign for Tomorrowland, with the contents of the box clearly intended to spark further speculation about the film’s plot. So let the speculation continue...

Looking at the box, we are afforded a glimpse of a magazine cover – which is obviously an issue of Amazing Stories. To be precise, it’s the August 1928 issue, which famously laid the foundations for the adventures of Buck Rodgers in the story Armageddon 2419 A.D. However, the cover of the issue is not related to Buck Rodgers, but depicts a scene from the story The Skylark of Space, by E.E. Smith. You can read the full plot for The Skylark of Space here, but suffice to say it deals with the discovery and implications of free energy; interstellar travel; and, yes, aliens.
 

So, basically, what on Earth (or in space) Tomorrowland is about is still anyone’s guess. Care to guess, anyone? Who are the men pictured with Walt Disney in those photographs? What’s in those dusty files? What’s in that brown sleeve? Is that a music record? Is there film in that Technicolor box? If so, what’s on it?? Damn you Brad Bird and Disney!

Tomorrowland is scheduled for release December 19, 2014.

10 comments:

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    1. Nope. It just looks like that on the low res image. If you click the red "Tweeted" link above the picture, you'll see a clearer image. It definitely says '1952'.

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    2. I should add that once you've got the "Tweeted" pic, you then need to click that pic to enlarge it. The '2' is a squiggle, which is why it looks kinda like a 4.

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  2. "... screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Cowboys and Aliens, Prometheus) ..."

    Well then, no worries, it'll suck.

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    1. Yes, the involvement of Lindelof does not bode well. I think Brad Bird has also had a hand in the writing, though, which offers some hope.

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  3. Couldn't this be tied in with Aliens from New Tomorrowland, the strange 1995 Disney TV documentary that basically affirms what we all know before tying it into some ALIEN-themed ride at the last minute?

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    1. I interviwed the writer/director of the 'Alien Encounters from New Tomorrowland' documentary in 2011 and wrote a detailed analysis of it as part of the article linked-to below:

      http://silverscreensaucers.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/ufos-and-disney-behind-magic-kingdom.html

      Or, in the sidebar of this blog, in the 'Articles' section, just click on 'UFOs and Disney: Behind the Magic Kingdom'.

      But in answer to your question, I guess it could be related, but I'm not quite sure how at this stage. I'm still not sure aliens will appear in the film at all. Lindelof may have been speaking the truth when he denied it would be about ETs. We'll see.

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  4. Off topic but the last film War of the Worlds has antecedents with the destruction of sodom and Gomorrah as it has with Revelation 9:16.

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  5. I could not find a duplicate of the top picture of (what looks like) Walt Disney and some other guy. That other guy is probably Roy Disney, his brother. Again, I coudln't confirm it, but it photo seems very similar to other picture of these brothers. Look for yourself:
    http://www.phil-sears.com/Folder%202/Walt_and_Roy_db.jpg

    In that same picture, it seems like they are both holding a model of something. Perhaps a boat. Here is a different picture that is similar to what they are holding:
    http://unsinkablecork.com/jungle/images/walt_model.jpg

    The picture of the Man and woman in front of what looks like a plane, turns out to be Cary Grant and Amelia Earhart. Here is a digital version of it:
    http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2011/06/awesome-people-hanging-out-together-had.html

    Hope this helps.

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