Mickey Mouse remixed: The cartoon icon returns in new Disney shorts

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

After 85 years in the fame game, the world’s most famous mouse has had a makeover. Laura Davis charts the changing face of Disney’s leading man

Today’s Disney stars grow up in the spotlight – and then leave the House of Mouse to pursue their serious acting/singing/falling-out-of-nightclub careers. Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears are long gone, Lindsay’s in rehab, Miley’s doing a nice line in undercuts and sideboobs, and Selena Gomez recently indulged in armed robbery and drug taking. For her part in the film Spring Breakers, of course. But there’s one Disney name who, in his 85 years, has never fled the Magic Kingdom for the fleshpots of Hollywood. And while he’s been a bit quiet of late, this summer he’s on the comeback trail. Mickey, we’ve missed you.

Next week, Mickey Mouse is set to return to our screens in a series of 2D shorts. But while his wild-child colleagues tend to go for makeovers that are designed to break their ties with all things childish, it’s good to see Walt Disney’s 1928 creation return to his retro roots.

Since his debut in 1928 ’s Steamboat Willie, generations have grown up with Mickey as he’s starred in countless films, television shows, comic books and video games. Now, as well as the cartoon that starts showing on the Disney Channel on 12 July, he’ll be entertaining a new, tech-savvy generation on their iPads, with the launch of Where’s My Mickey? It’s the latest in the puzzle-solving Where’s My...? series, which features animation based on the cartoon shorts.

The original face of Disney was the first cartoon character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in 1978 – but he hasn’t let the success go to his ears. Instead of hanging out on yachts with Leonardo DiCaprio, the latest incarnation of Mickey is all about cultural experiences, with the new cartoons showing his travels around the world. Fortunately, Disney decided against taking the easy route of appealing to children by having Mickey poking Goofy on Facebook, or sending selfies to Minnie. Instead, we’ll see him delivering croissants to a café Minnie works at in Paris, visiting Beijing Zoo, and going to a football match in Brazil – plus Fantasia fans will be relieved to know there’s a musical episode. That’s how you stay classy, Disney kids of 2013.

But maybe he does have something in common with his young colleagues. Back in the heyday of his fame, there were some complaints that Mickey was too naughty, though there will be “no cigarettes, guns or animal cruelty” this time round, says artist and director Paul Rudish. However, we will see cheeky Mickey in the nuddy in the fantastic “No Service” episode by a beachside snack shack.

Having seen exclusive previews of the shorts, it’s clear these are intricately crafted cartoons that hark back to a bygone era, when artwork and slapstick comedy in storytelling was key. Each of the 19 three-and-a-half-minute cartoons has a very different look and feel – drawing on inspiration from former Disney visual highlights, such as artist Mary Blair’s Alice in Wonderland, or Ken Anderson’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Mickey may have spent the best part of a century in the spotlight, but he’s still going strong – and there’s not an edgy video shoot or bad-boy boyfriend in sight. Let’s hope the current Disney starlets are taking note…

Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts premiere on the Disney Channel on Friday

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style