Ron Gilbert asks Disney to sell Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion IP

Creator continues campaign to regain rights

Ron Gilbert has petitioned Disney to sell him the creative rights to Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, pointing out that the company's exit from creating and publishing games means that it would be unlikely to take advantage of its ownership.

Although Gilbert's Disney-directed tweet is probably not a serious business proposition, the writer has indicated his frustration at a lack of control over his creations before, although he's previously indicated that he doesn't ever expect to have enough money to pay Disney any price they'd ask.

"I would love to get the rights back to Monkey Island and be able to really make the game I want to make," Gilbert said in a Eurogamer interview in 2012. Gilbert also released a rough and 'fanciful' design document for a future Monkey Island game on his personal blog a year later. Could Disney's recent retreat from publishing be the gap he's been hoping for?

Disney acquired the rights when it bought LucasArts along with LucasFilm in late 2012. Just a few months later, Disney announced the closure of the legendary studio, despite previous denials, but retained a tiny staff to deal with licencing.

That approach was mirrored earlier this month, as Disney announced it was exiting publishing entirely, shutting down Avalanche, killing Disney Infinity and operating in games only as a licensee for the foreseeable future.

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Latest comments (7)

Alan Blighe Research Associate 3 years ago
It occurs to me that if life were like a Disney film then Ron would get the rights, presumably after a heartfelt song about the plight of the modern game designer. But reality disappoints, as always...
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Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios3 years ago
It seems Disney has no 'need' for the rights, and thus should give them back.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 3 years ago
Well, he can ask.. but I don't think Disney will sell the IP 'back' to him.. Disney may not be making games themselves anymore, but they do license the IP's they own to other developers..
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Daniel Trezub QA Analyst, Ludia3 years ago
And they can always come up with a Maniac Mansion/Monkey Island movie starring Johnny Depp and some Disney teen actor/actress.
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Hugo Trepanier Game Designer, Behaviour Interactive3 years ago
I really hope the Monkey Island series can continue in some form or other. Monkey Island has no value for Disney so they might as well get rid of it instead of letting it rot. If Ron Gilbert is really serious about it I'm sure he could make a proposal for Disney to license the rights at least for one game.
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Rafael Brown Creative Director/Co-Founder, Digital Myths Studio, Inc3 years ago
And Disney has a long and storied history of giving IP away, of charitable donations of IP, and of respecting creator rights and the auteur notion of film? Give it a rest. Its wishful thinking, but has about as much reality as Disney giving up the rights of Marvel comics they have no current plans of turning into movies.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
Look up the saga of Strikeforce Morituri, property they tried to turn into a television series (which would be fantastic in that format)

Marvel has been screwing the creator ego never sold them the rights to it for decades now, something Disney has allegedly kept up.

At most they'll let him license it. I'm kinda shocked Pixar isn't working on a Monkey Island or Maniac Mansion movie by now. There's a lot of old LucasArts people there I ckuong Steve Purcell.
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