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

What if I told you one of the best movies of 2022 is a reboot comeback of cartoon characters that made their debut in the 1940‘s?

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

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

Created by Lonely Island director Akiva Schaffer (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) and How I Met Your Mother writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand they have created a movie that injects excitement into every moment on screen while bringing heart and warmth to fictional characters who handle success and fame vastly 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 screenwriters of Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers‘ Dan Gregor and Doug Man to learn how they were legally able to pull off all the cameos and crossovers, what the Rescue Rangers has to say about entertainment culture, bootlegs and more.

“As the writers it was super easy for us to just go clickity-clack, clickity-clack on a keyboard and say whatever we wanted and imagine everything in the world [that] could be in 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 at Mandeville, Akiva Shaffer the director and the Disney lawyers [onboard]. They all worked their ass off to get every single one of those things in [this movie]. Every single thing [and character] you see is its own individual negotiation because there’s no one person or place you can go to ask for permission. There was plenty of no’s, it was very fluid.”

“Dan and I started writing this movie seven years ago. There’s a lot of iterations, a lot of characters that were known for any number of reasons but again I’d say far more yeses than we could have ever 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 have their characters in other movies and we’re very grateful for that now.”

As huge fans of Roger Rabbit, Gregor and Maud pays homage to the character and the world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit by making the formerly celebrated animated chipmunks’ washed-up actors in the real world where animated characters and humans live together. Some characters find continued success while other 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 movie. [It was] one of our favorite movies of all time and that movie was something where you know when you saw Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny in the same place together as a Disney and Warner property; it was mind-blowing. 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 so much animation that’s out there for a movie that’s set in the 50s and so 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 that was the most fun challenge of just how many different things can exist in here honestly and then who will step up and do the heavier lifting of negotiating with all the various parties to get those rights. We’re just as shocked more so that it actually is in the movie. We didn’t actually think when we were writing it, they would do it, but they did it and it’s a testament to everyone who worked just worked so hard on this movie to get it done.”

Building off the relationship of Chip and Dale, the movie completely flips the script on our expectations. 30 years ago, they were best friends and, but their lives are vastly different, and their relationship is fractured. It has been decades since their successful television series was cancelled, but when a former castmate mysteriously disappears, Chip and Dale must repair their broken friendship and take on their Rescue Rangers detective personas once again to save their old friend’s life.

Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg), Chip (voiced by John Mulaney), and Bob the Warrior Viking (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 huge fans of Rescue Rangers [and] the whole Disney afternoon [slate]. We’re racing home after school every day to check out the whole lineup of Ducktales, Goof Troop and Darkwing Duck. All that stuff was super important to us but now as adults, many years later, it’s one of the things we found [that] was really only important to us [for] a little chunk of time. If you’re a little bit older, a little bit younger, it never even penetrated your consciousness and one of the things [that’s] interesting about reboots is there’s some things that are sacred and you got to make them perfect. We were really excited about [Rescue Rangers because] it’s beloved but it’s not sacred and you can play with it, you can mess around with it, you can change it around enough that it can be something really different and new than sort of what you’re coming into it with your memories of it are. That was a big part of it.

“Even the Rescue Rangers in that whole Disney afternoon lineup really led to this itself because chip and dale were originally Donald Duck’s foils, they would steal his peanuts. baloo is in the jungle book but then he’s in tailspin and the thing that becomes clear in all of those is that they’re just kind of the actors performing in separate shows. So that concept became really foundational to imagining chip and dale as actors who put on those costumes in the 90s to play their most famous roles and now today [they’re just] regular people.”

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