Hello, and welcome back to my thoughts and musings. Today I’m opening the door to a debate (screams).
Taking a page from the Disney, Indiana podcast, I’m taking a look at an actor who has played a role in several Disney projects, and then determining if said person is worthy of being named a Disney Legend.
As a reminder, the Disney Legend is given to honor those who had made an impact on Disney during their careers, whether through acting, animating, theme park design, or writing. For today’s discussion, let’s consider one Paul Reubens.
Best known for his non-Disney role of Pee-Wee Herman on television, movies and Broadway, Reubens has also had several roles as a voice actor in the Disney universe, starting with the 1986 film Flight of the Navigator.
Reubens gave voice to Max, the robotic commander of the space ship. in one scene of the film Reubens even gives his famous Pee-Wee laugh at one point in the movie, which was one of my favorite live action films growing up.
Next came Paul Reubens most iconic role for the Disney Company, Captain Rex on Star Tours. On January 9, 1987 Rex took his first “first flight” on a StarSpeeder 3000 to Endor, only to end up in the middle of a intergalactic battle. He remained in this role until the Star Tours ride was refurbished in 2010, with C-3PO unwillingly taking over when the StarSpeeders relaunched in 2011.
The next role Paul Reubens played for the Disney Company came in 1993, when Reubens played the role of Lock in Nightmare Before Christmas. This marked a reunion for Reubens, who worked previously with Tim Burton in the film Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in 1986. This is the highest profile Disney movie Reubens has appeared in, although in a fairly small role. He did reprise this role in the 2004 video game Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge.
In 1993 Reubens played the role of Fife on the direct to video Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. Here he plays an enchanted instrument who appears to be loyal to the movie’s antagonist, but eventually has a change of heart and gives Beast the information to defeat the evil Forte.
In his latest appearance as a Disney voice actor, Reubens has appeared on the recently cancelled Disney 😄 series TRON: Uprising as Pavel, a secondary villain, who is second-in-command to General Tesler.
Looking at the roles Paul Reubens has played for the Disney Company for the past 30 years, the question set before us: Is Paul Reubens a future Disney Legend? With the exception of Rex and Star Tours, many of his roles have been either secondary in nature, or in projects that are mainly forgotten. For that reason alone, not even going into his personal transgressions, I’m leaning towards “not likely”, but I do invite others to respond with your input as well. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
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