Last week, Disney announced that they would be updating one of their rides to reflect a more contemporary sensibility. And to the surprise of absolutely no one, this week there are angry fans making dramatic declaration and petitions on the internet. The Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin is being updated to remove Jessica Rabbit as a "damsel in distress' and kidnap victim, and instead reintroduce her as a detective in her own right. The character, based on femme fatales from noir novels and the golden age of Hollywood, Jessica's sex appeal was central to her character in the 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and has inspired countless cosplay imitators in the years since.
In a new poster set to hang in the ride's queue line (via writer Scott Gustin's Twitter account), Jessica is seen wearing a trench coat and fedora. The accompanying text sheds some light on the future of the dark ride:
"Citing the recent return of the Toon Patrol Weasels as the main driver behind the recent sharp rise in crime statistics throughout Mickey's Toontown, Jessica Rabbit has determined it is past time for her to throw her fedora into the ring by starting her own private investigations service," says the poster. "While taking inspiration from longtime friend and legendary Toon Detective Eddie Valiant, Jessica shows that she certainly means business."
As with any update that makes a sexy cartoon character a little less sultry, a segment of the fandom is enraged.
A quick look at Twitter right now shows dozens of tweets about the change, with fans complaining that Disney "does not understand the concept of Jessica Rabbit," and decrying "political correctness." Others, both who support and who oppose the ride changes, note that putting a character like Jessica Rabbit in a trench coat seems to do the opposite of preventing people from having sexualized thoughts.
The current Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin is an original story in which Roger tries to stop a group of weasels from causing havoc in Toontown. At one point in the ride, Jessica had been kidnapped and was seen dangling her leg out of their trunk. In the new version, Jessica has been replaced by Dip, the toon-erasing liquid from the movie.
The ride is one of several that has either recently received updates or is due to receive updates in order to bring the themes and scenes of the ride more in line with the times. Disney Parks recently overhauled its Jungle Cruise rides in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in order to remove scenes with outdated cultural depictions. Disney Parks also announced a planned overhaul of Splash Mountain, which will remove animatronics based on scenes from Song of the South and replacing them with the more modern Princess and the Frog.