Disney's Dreamfinder, Figment Get Origin Story in Marvel Comic Series

Figment, Dreamfinder origin story comic from Marvel
It's been five years since Disney (DIS) agreed to shell out more than $4 billion for Marvel, and now the family entertainment giant is coming up with a new way to get some extra juice out of the comic book icon.

Marvel and Walt Disney Imagineering are teaming up to release a five-issue comic book series detailing an origin story of Dreamfinder and Figment.

Older fans of Epcot will remember Dreamfinder as the whimsical scientist who guides riders through the original Journey Into Imagination ride with his purple dragon, Figment. The playful dragon lives on at the attraction, but Dreamfinder is gone.

Disney's Recycling Plan (with Hollywood Not Involved)

It's unusual to see Disney put content-creating muscle behind a character that it already offed, but Figment's popularity and the large numbers of park guests who experienced the original attraction make this a smart bet for Disney. It can bring back Dreamfinder and sell more Figment merchandise while also drawing attention to one of the least-visited attractions at Epcot.

Many Disney attractions are based on movies, and some attractions have inspired movies, including Pirates of the Caribbean, with its four films raking in nearly $1.3 billion in domestic ticket sales alone. Spider-Man, Hulk and Iron Man also started as Marvel comic books before repeatedly striking celluloid gold.

This is different. Dreamfinder and Figment aren't going Hollywood. Disney will likely aim lower, targeting Disney enthusiasts instead of mainstream audiences with the series.

Anna, Elsa and a Pesky Problem With Islands of Adventure

It's hard to beat Disney when it comes to milking the most out of commercial opportunities for successful properties across various mediums. One of the longest lines at Epcot these days is to meet and take a picture with Anna and Elsa -- the two sisters in last year's sleeper hit "Frozen."

The movie's success and its catchy soundtrack would be -- aside from sequels -- %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%the end of the line for some studios, but Disney has translated the hit into in-park experiences and figurines for the Disney Infinity video game series.

There are limitations, of course. It takes years for Disney imagineers to roll out a ride, so it can take a long time after a movie's a hit before it becomes more than just an in-park show, parade float, or meet and greet station. There's also the unique situation with Marvel in Florida: Characters that were made available to rival theme park operator Universal's Islands of Adventure can't make appearances at Disney World.

However, turning a somewhat-obscure character who is no longer featured in an attraction into a comic book property is extreme even by Disney's multimedia standards. The irony of generating an origin backstory for a character that Disney itself snuffed out in 1998 is rich, but it shows that nothing ever truly remains dead at Disney.

Walt Disney himself is not cryogenically frozen. That's a bogus rumor. However, he seems to be about the only thing that Disney can't bring back.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney.

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