Mickey Mouse is going back to his papered-over roots as a mischief-maker as Disney reimagines its core property for a new generation, and perhaps a new revenue stream. The first vehicle is “Epic Mickey,” a video game for the Wii console in which players can choose to play Mickey as a gallant hero—or a cantankerous one. “I wanted him to be able to be naughty,” the game’s developer tells the New York Times.
The prerogative goes way back to Mickey’s 1928 debut in “Steamboat Willy,” where he is more of a troublemaker, even making lascivious advances on Minnie. That sort of subtext is precisely what bothers Azaria Jagger about the game. The image of “him as a coyly naughty-but-nice seducer is psychically troubling,” she writes on Gawker. But that’s as far as it goes, the developer swears. “Mickey is never going to be evil or go around killing people.”