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The Surprisingly Adorable Haunted Mansion TV Show That Never Was

Shannon Tindle, one of the creators behind Kubo and the Two Strings, recently shared some work from a since-scuttled Haunted Mansion show that he was developing at Disney. In the video, Black-ish‘s Marsai Martin voices the protagonist, who’s crawling in and out of paintings in the titular mansion.

“Whenever candle lights flicker,” she narrates, “or the air is deathly still, that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight. Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” Martin’s character then climbs out of a painting of a stormy sea and into a spooky hallway full of other paintings.

This is just such a lovely, lovely intro, and I’m sad that we never got to see this character go on all her magical adventures.

Tindle worked on the Haunted Mansion series with a small group of other creatives last year. He scripted two different pilots, one for a limited series and one for an ongoing, but Disney ultimately didn’t move forward with either. Speaking to Cartoon Brew, Tindle said, “My goal was to take inspiration from all the backstories created by the artists at WED (Disney’s Imagineering division) and stitch it into one, giant narrative. The story would span several years and focus on different characters, but add up to one big, interconnected story.”

In the credits for the video shared at Cartoon Brew, Tindle is credited for the character design, while Sunmin Inn did the backgrounds, Matt Williames handled animation, Daniel Hashimoto oversaw the motion graphics, and Rachelle Reyes did the character color styling.

Tindle initially tweeted a link to the video on Vimeo, but later removed it from Vimeo “in case Disney has issues with it being posted.” He also followed up on coverage of the project to say that he had received “nothing but support” from the team at Disney Television Animation, even though it was eventually scuttled.

Because of the industry’s long lead times, animation projects can often be worked on for years before an audience gets to see anything – or the company may decide to drop the project, and then the work never ends up in front of an audience. So it’s fun when creators can share these undeveloped projects on social media to give us a glimpse of what they’ve been up to, and what could have been.

(Via Screen Rant and Cartoon Brew; image: screengrab)

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