roger rabbit j.j. abrams steven Spielberg

J.J. Abrams was hired to write a Roger Rabbit movie set in World War II

Steven Spielberg stepped away from the project because its content didn’t sit well with him after Schindler’s List.

There is no film quite like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the hybrid live action and animated comedy revolves around a cartoon bunny suspected of murdering his boss for “playing patty cake” with his wife. It’s a classic (partly) cartoon crime caper.

In 1989, J.J. Abrams was approached to write a prequel set during World War II. The film would have involved Roger and a partner named Ritchie saving his wife Jessica from being used by the Nazis for propaganda purposes. Yes, you read that correctly.

Steven Spielberg was once attached to the project. However, after directing Schindler’s List, he decided that he couldn’t be involved with a movie depicting Nazis in a satirical light.

The sequel did not get made for a number of reasons. With the rise of CGI animation, Disney executives worried whether the film would be successful. The budget would have also nearly doubled from the original’s $50.6-million to a reported $100-million. Co-producer Don Hahn had this to say in 2003, while promoting the DVD release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

“It was never in the cards, we could never get the planets back into alignment… There was something very special about that time when animation was not as much in the forefront as it is now.”

Robert Zemeckis has since altered the idea into a sequel set in the 1950s. The most recent update on the theoretical second Roger Rabbit film was in 2018, and the director did not seem optimistic.

“I don’t know where it fits in their universe. There’s no princess in it, so I don’t know where that would be. There’s a wonderful script sitting at Disney that is really good, but I don’t think it’s on their radar.”

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