The latest news coming from Disney-Pixar is the restructuring and redefinition of an animation unit, more specifically DisneyToon Studios. Guided by Sharon Morrill for many years as producer and overseer of several direct-to-video sequels and one-shots off of then WDFA productions, serving as President since 2004, DisneyToon Studios has been a soft spot in many animation enthusiasts critique of Disney. Although swiftly produced sequels to hit feature films provide quick laughs and occasionally another side of a character one might not ever experience, such productions have often diluted the integrity of a property or a franchise to the point where viewers no longer recall the charisma or originality of the property, but merely its cash-generating facsimile.
Things are about to change for DisneyToon Studios though, for as of this past week, Ms. Morrill has reportedly been forced out of her position as President, in addition to the goals and ambitions of the animation unit being restructured for the greater benefit of Disney-Pixar on the whole; no longer will DisneyToon Studios operate on its own to produce direct-to-video sequels. Assuming the role and function of President as created by this vacancy will be Lasseter and Catmull. Morrill supervised the production and launch of titles such as The Return of Jafar (1994), The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas (1999), 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure (2003), Springtime With Roo (2004) and several others.
Strategically restructuring DisneyToon Studios to make the most of its talent, Lasseter and Catmull have made it clear that DisneyToon Studios will no longer operate exclusively for sequel making in addition to affirming that the animation unit will begin generating original video productions. Considered a meaningful change given that the sequels were once regarded as "embarrassing" by Lasseter and Apple, Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, the move from "cheapquel" to original concept development and production means a lot to both animators eager to show the world their talent as well as to the Disney-Pixar fanbase, equally as eager to see what these animators can really do.