D23: Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof add to the mystery surrounding ‘Tomorrowland”

08.10.13 6 years ago 5 Comments

ANAHEIM – Fans with questions about Disney’s upcoming mystery project “Tomorrowland” didn’t get many answers at day two of the studio’s bi-annual D23 expo, but they were shown plenty of enigmatic items to stoke their interest.

The studio showed a sneak peek at their upcoming live-action slate at the expo, including “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Maleficent,” and “The Muppets Most Wanted,” but it was the brief “Tomorrowland” presentation that seemed to capture the attention of film buffs. 

What began as a tribute to Walt Disney’s ingenuity and futurist vision, led to a look at the mysterious “Tomorrowland,” directed by Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”), written by Damon Lindelof (“Prometheus”) and starring George Clooney.

The film’s plot has been the subject of various rumors since it was first announced a while back, with the original title “1952,” and D23 attendees didn’t get much to work with at today’s presentation. 

Since building the Walt Disney Studios in 1939, Disney has filed away countless documents, drawings, abandoned ideas and other treasure in a massive vault. According to Bird and Lindelof, one of the archived boxes in Disney’s vast vaults is simply labeled “1952” and is allegedly stuffed with some of Disney’s futuristic ideas that were never realized — and much more.

“Tomorrowland” appears to be part speculative fiction and part Disney history lesson based around the contents of that box. Bird and Lindelof appeared onstage with what they called “the dusty old box,” which they haven’t shared with any another audiences. 
The box’s contents included a papers, odd technology, and previously-unseen animation, many of which bear a recurring strange insignias, and all of which point to a “Lost”-style mythology involving Walt Disney, World’s Fairs, the early days of Disneyland, futuristic tech and a cabal of turn-of-the-centuy brains including Edison, Tesla and Jules Verne. All of these elements were featured in a new short film screened at D23.

As “found” on a strange laserdisc-like video recording purported to be unearthed in that “1952” box, the short emulates ’60s-style animation and points the Cold War-era world to a better tomorrow, based on utopian science. 

Among the other items in the box:
– A 1928 issue of the sci-fi magazine “Amazing Stories,” which when decoded reveals that Walt and the imagineers were more ahead of their time than originally thought.
– A “hoax” photo of Walt and doomed pilot Amelia Earhart, allegedly taken after the pioneering aviator’s disappearance. 

– The original plans for the It’s a Small World ride which reveal that there may have been a structure built beneath the ride, also pointing to a far-reaching conspiracy. 

“They want us to pull Clooney out of the box, but it’s not gonna happen,” Lindelof cracked.

The duo stated that the ultimate goal of the film is to ask “what if these mystery clues were real?” 

No, the mystery’s weren’t answered, but audience anticipation seemed to be at a fever pitch. 

The pieces will be part of a “Tomorrowland” exhibit debuting later today. 

HitFix’s Drew McWeeny is also live-blogging the event here

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