Why Did Disney Plus Cancel the Owl House? The Inside Story Behind the Shocking Decision

Mar 9, 2023 | 0 comments

Although The Owl House received plaudits for its inventiveness and distinctive storytelling, some Disney execs may have found it to be a touch too unique.

The animated series The Owl House gained almost universal acclaim when it premiered on Disney in January 2020. The Owl House has been acclaimed for its originality and creativity and for including a variety of LGBTQ+ characters in its plot. It featured the primary heroine Luz Noceda, who romances Amity Blight, another of the show’s key characters. Its outstanding reviews and several prizes, nevertheless, could not keep it from being canceled.

Last Season of The Owl House

Last Season of The Owl House

Three 44-minute specials comprise the program’s third and final season, which purportedly tie up all of its loose ends. The first special debuted in October 2022; the next two will follow in 2023. The narrative is not over, though. The Owl House creator Dana Terrace published a short message on Reddit in October 2021, asserting that the show’s cancellation was not due to low ratings or issues related to the COVID-19 epidemic but because certain Disney executives felt it didn’t fit the company’s image. Such a defense is utterly ludicrous, and it sparked an Owl House debate that is still in the news today. If what Terrace claims are accurate.

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The Owl House was canceled. Why?

Disney’s brand is a bigger problem for the corporation than others because so much of its reputation depends on how family-friendly it is thought to be. Once Disney+ acquired 20th Century Fox, there were no R-rated programs or films for a while, and it still needs to be determined how the company plans to create programming geared toward adults, like the Alien and Predator franchises. The Owl House, primarily intended for family audiences and younger viewers, is exempt from all of that. Yet its distinctive material goes outside the apparent comfort zone of its parent corporation, which is a big part of why it has garnered so much praise.

According to Terrace’s statement, the decision to terminate the program was probably not motivated by its LGBTQ+ material. Instead, she mentioned its serialized content—aimed at viewers younger than Disney+ desired—as the justification, contending that it was more a matter of personal preference than anything objective, like ratings. If accurate, the accusations are unquestionably credible. The notion that Disney+ has a younger target audience is ludicrous, given the volume of Disney Junior material available on the platform and the nearly universal serialization of its Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings.

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Another casualty of Disney’s censored formula is The Owl House.

Another casualty of Disney's censored formula is The Owl House.

The Owl House’s material undoubtedly deviates from the norm, and this is done on purpose. According to Terrace, Hieronymus Bosch’s bizarre paintings were a significant source of inspiration. The show’s universe, the Boiling Isles, where demons and monsters are acceptable members of society, was made from the corpse of a dead deity. It explores concerns of individualism and rebellion while parodying the boarding school setting of the Harry Potter books (offering a version of its renowned magical institution remade as conform-laden and moderately scary). It also makes fun of live-action children’s programs from the 1970s, like Lidsville and H.R. Pufnstuf, which featured equally unsettling settings but lacked The Owl House’s knowing smirk.

Most significantly, it’s an incredibly imaginative world-building effort that presents a fantasy setting unlike anything before it and a complex narrative arc that consistently defies expectations. All of this could make boardroom participants uneasy in a business known for consoling. Paradoxically, the creator of the corporation, Walt Disney, made his reputation and business by bucking established traditions of such kind, most notably with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was produced in the face of extreme skepticism and dire predictions.

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Other Canceled Shows

Disney has already dismissed outstanding artists whose vision needed to match their expectations. Tim Burton and animators like Don Bluth famously left the business before beginning their careers as directors. With characters that follow their path in a world defying all assumptions, The Owl House goes very much against the Disney norm. It’s the type of narrative that ought to be promoted at a corporation like Disney, but instead, it’s turned into another regrettable episode in a long pattern. After reading this article, you may want to read our blog on Tek Knight on The Boys, season 4. You’ll find it highly informative.

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