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Jim Hill on the Future of Phineas and Ferb

Mobo85 August 8, 2011 User blog:Mobo85

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The Disney podcast Magical Definition just did a very interesting podcast which is definitely worth a listen in honor of Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension. The podcast is co-hosted by long-time Disney history and gossip reporter Jim Hill and Nathan Rose, founder of movie news and gossip site FlickDirect.com. But the real star of the podcast is Mr. Hill, giving some inside information and gossip on what the future may hold for Phineas and Ferb as a franchise much in the same vein as he gives information about Disney's past, present, and future on his always entertaining website JimHillMedia.com, as well as giving his own thoughts on what the future may hold. It's a very interesting listen. Some of my favorite tidbits and discussion topics:

-Disney already has their Phineas and Ferb promotion for Summer 2012 in line- "The Teal Takeover", a "Who Shot J.R."-esque conspiracy involving Perry disappearing in early summer which will be resolved in late summer. (This seems to show Disney's hopes are getting higher and higher as the series progresses and becomes a franchise: 2010, one-hour special, 2011, made-for-TV-movie, 2012, summer promotion, 2013 or 2014, feature film.)

-At one time, Disney had as high hopes for Kim Possible as they do Phineas and Ferb, even going so far as to have series creators Schooley and McCorkle do a script for a live-action movie. This ended up being scrapped when Schooley and McCorkle were hired to rewrite the script for Sky High, which Disney hoped would launch a franchise since Disney wanted to get into the superhero craze. (Of course, more recently they've been able to do so on a larger scale now that they own Marvel Comics.)

-According to Hill, Disney's idea for the Phineas and Ferb feature is something along the lines of "Across the 2nd Dimension": the film starts and ends in animated form but the middle portion is the characters in the real world. To his understanding, one of the script ideas already floating around is indeed "Phineas and Ferb across the third dimension" Disney is apparently looking for a high-scale name comic actor to play the part of Doofenshmirtz, a la Hank Azaria as Gargamel. The high-hope name on their list: Jim Carrey (Though Hill remarks that one wonders if Carrey would accept, or if Disney could afford him). Hill also points out that it would most likely be a lower-budget late-summer film with one big name to do PR on Letterman, Leno, etc. to get the parents interested (Carrey?) rather than a big-budget summer blockbuster on the lines of, say, a Pixar feature.

-Hill points out that one of his insider friends who works alongside Dan and Swampy once told him that the executives frequently ask for "special episodes" of Phineas and Ferb, such as a Halloween special or a Valentine's special, something that would take Phineas and Ferb out of their summer. They were able to do it for Christmas since there actually is a break from school then, and it's possible they may do it again in the future for a time when there's also not school (another Christmas break, school break, etc.). But for the most part, when they ask for a "special episode", the staffers' response is to pretend that they want a "very special episode", which gets the execs off their backs pretty fast. ("Well, I don't know if we really want the 'Candace bad-touch' episode, but if you insist...") Apparently, the staffers were also adamant that the movie didn't seriously alter the Phineas and Ferb universe and how it works, which is why it ends the way it does.

-Could Phineas and Ferb last as long as, say, The Simpsons? Hill remarks: Possibly, but the "summer vacation" theme has its limits. But Disney will probably try to ride the P&F craze for as long as they can. (Or, as The Simpsons's own Troy McClure put it, "who knows what adventures they'll have between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable?")

-Hill also talks a little bit about the series itself and its writing/characters: in his opinion, Dr. Doofenshmirtz is one of the greatest cartoon characters to be created in the past 25 years. Much like Homer Simpson, he's so well-defined but his personality has limitless comic potential. (I definitely agree on this one.)


Of course, a good number of this is rumors and speculation, though some of it does have a basis in what's already known. (Especially the feature film is just rumors/speculation at this point- as Hill himself points out, it's a project that's literally just started development and may not even be made.) But I've always been interested in Hollywood shop talk and gossip, so this podcast was really fun to listen to, especially when it comes to discussing and speculating as to what the future of Phineas and Ferb may hold as Disney attempts to turn it into a franchise that they hope is, for lack of a better term, Disney's SpongeBob.

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