Christopher Robin is Out There in the Woods

As part of a barrel-full of Winnie the Pooh anniversary events, Disney is working on a new animated series that will replace Christopher Robin with a 6-year-old girl.

“We got raised eyebrows even in-house at first, but the feeling was these timeless characters really needed a breath of fresh air that only the introduction of someone new could provide,” says Nancy Kanter of the Disney Channel.

“Christopher Robin is still out there in the woods, playing,” she says.

“One thing I had never noticed before,” said Christopher Robin, “is how very large the Hundred Acre Wood is for such a very small boy.”

Christopher Robin had been walking in the woods for quite some time. On his way to visit Pooh, he had the idea to go a new way. The idea came into his head — plop! – and so with a left where there was usually a right, Christopher Robin walked into the woods he’d known all his life, stepping high like a military drummer on the march.

For a happy time he explored through the woods, climbing trees, meeting squirrels and kicking leaves, all the while walking, or so he thought, toward the House on Pooh Corner. But as the wind took on just a bit of a chill, Christopher Robin stopped.

“What an odd thing,” he said, to no one in particular. “I’ve been walking all this time, but I don’t seem to have gotten closer to Pooh at all!”

Christopher Robin wasn’t worried, of course. The Hundred Acre Wood was big enough for many adventures, and here was another. He recalled many times where Pooh and Piglet would set out on a journey and lose their way, only to find their way home in time for tea and honey. If that silly old bear could find his way home, so could Christopher Robin find his way to his friends.

But as the day wore on, Christopher Robin found that every part of the Hundred Acre Wood looked like a new part he’d never seen before. He went left and found a new stream, filled with frogs who croaked their unconcern for Christopher Robin’s plight. He went right, back the way he came, but the trees seemed to have moved their places when he wasn’t looking. So Christopher Robin went back again, to the stream with the croaking frogs, only to find he’d lost the way.

“This is a puzzle,” Christopher Robin said. “And now I’ve become quite hungry and cold.”

And so Christopher Robin began to run, first one way and then the next, looking for a tree or steam or path he knew, so he could find his way to his friends. He called out to them — “Pooh! Piglet! Tigger! Rabbit! Owl!” — but none answered, or if they did Christopher Robin did not hear them. From time to time, however, it seemed to Christopher Robin that he could hear them, just over a small rise, all his friend’s voices, and a new voice he did not know. But when he ran that way he found nothing, just more trees and more leaves.

It was in a small pile of leaves that Christopher Robin finally lay, covering himself with their little brittle hands to ward off the chill of the night in the Hundred Acre Wood. “It’s a simple thing, really,” he said, bravely. “I’ve been looking for all my friends, and they have been looking for me! If I stay in one place, they will find me. And then we will go to Pooh’s, where I will be warm and have something nice to eat.”

And so Christopher Robin lay down in the leaves and went to sleep, shivering only a little, trusting in the love of his friends to find him and bring him home.

33 thoughts on “Christopher Robin is Out There in the Woods

  1. At first, Christopher Robin wandering the woods left me very, very sad. Then I realized that Disney in no way controls the Reality of original works. In the Universe Where Pooh and Friends Truly Exist, Disney holds no power. Just like Dorothy doesn’t really look like Judy Garland, Willy Wonka acts like neither Gene Wilder nor Johnny Depp, and the entire host of Lord of the Rings movie characters are but sorry shadows of their real selves. :)

  2. I feel a Kenny Loggins song coming on.

    *sniff*

    Pro writers writing satirical fanfiction. It’s the new black. *g*

  3. Heh, nice one.

    My mind wandered in a different direction as soon as Christopher Robin got lost. Let’s just say that in my mind’s story, the last thing Christopher Robin sees is the basement of a ramshackle house, with Pooh standing in the corner.

  4. Perhaps Christopher Robin will find himself a nice attorney who will sue Disney for sex discrimination. After all, he’s basically been fired from his job and been replaced solely on the basis of gender.

    How bad is it in the Disney creative think tank that they can’t come up with new stuff on their own? It sounds like that “breath of fresh air” needs to blow through the company, not Pooh and his pals.

  5. Incidentally, DIsney already has at least two Pooh series: “The Book of Pooh”, which is claymation, hardly ever features Christopher RObin except as a voiceover in the introduction saying “Mom, I’m going off to school”. The other one is a cartoon; it does have CR but doesn’t, I think, have Kanga and Roo. Both series have an occasional character named Kessie, a female bluebird, and the cartoon one also has a Gopher wearing a miner’s hat who whistles his s’s.

  6. That’s just wrong on so many levels (the Disney thing, not your story – although that’s more than a little sad, too). I hope the whole project crashes and burns, costing Disney millions.

    Anyone up for a boycott?

  7. Disney messing with AA Milne’s Universe

    Whatever: Christopher Robin is Out There in the Woods Via John Scalzi (he of those lists of essential movies that generated some talk on this blog), and him via my friend and writer Elizabeth Bear: As part of a barrel-full of Winnie the Pooh anniversar…

  8. Neither does Athena. “Why? Why would they do that? I don’t like it,” she just said, when I told her. And she is a six-year-old girl.

  9. “…but the feeling was these timeless characters really needed a breath of fresh air that only the introduction of someone new could provide.”

    Bah. If something’s timeless, it doesn’t need someone messing about. What they’re really saying is “Look, we’re fresh out of ideas, but if we introduce a new character… Well! Then we can rehash all our old plot lines, which our new character has made fresh again!”

    Pooh might be a bear of very little brain, and his stuffing tends to fall out from time to time, but I bet even he thinks this is ridiculous.

  10. I’ve noticed Disney tweaking a lot of its classic stories and I have to think it has something to do with copyright. Eventually, the US Congress is going to stop extending copyright. Heck, a rising tide of anger over restrictive ip practices may even lead to a dramatic revision of copyright law. So taking a page from the drug companies, they tweak the forumula a bit and start the copyright clock over.

    The point here isn’t the revisioning, so much as it’s to make sure that your children want the Disney version as opposed to the free/public domain version: “I don’t like this vido. Christopher Robin is a boy! I want the girl Pooh.”

  11. “…but the feeling was these timeless characters really needed a breath of fresh air that only the introduction of someone new could provide”

    Look at that again.

    These timeless characters need a breath of fresh air.

    Sometimes, I think George Orwell was too right. People don’t think about what they’re saying.

    You see, they’re TIMELESS, but dated and quaint. *douses self in gasoline*
    “The last thing we want to be is the ones who brought the franchise down.”
    *ignites self*

  12. Eventually, the US Congress is going to stop extending copyright. Heck, a rising tide of anger over restrictive ip practices may even lead to a dramatic revision of copyright law. So taking a page from the drug companies, they tweak the forumula a bit and start the copyright clock over.

    You’re more optimistic than I. In any case, they can’t extend the original copyright by making derivative works, even under current law. If they could, they wouldn’t have to pay Congress to extend every 20 years.

    Maybe you’re thinking of patent (you can’t copyright a drug forumla), which of course has been conflated with copyright and trademark and a few other things under the “intellectual property” banner, which is one reason our current copyright laws have become so distorted.

    Anyway, if Disney didn’t have the copyright on Pooh, then anyone could create derivative works like this anyway. The cure is the same in either case: don’t watch it.

  13. Anyway, if Disney didn’t have the copyright on Pooh, then anyone could create derivative works like this anyway. The cure is the same in either case: don’t watch it.

    The issue is the same for us, as non-copyright holders who disapprove of the change as for copyright holders facing unauthorized derivative work. I don’t mean to drag trademark in, but the problem is dilution. When in 5 years, some kid tells me that he loves Winnie The Pooh, I won’t know if he’s talking about any of the same stuff that I know.

    The only difference is that the copyright holder is legally entitled to dilute their property, but it’s distressing in all the ways except financial loss. (and fwiw, copyright infrigement (unlike trademark infringement and patent infringement) is illegal regardless of whether or not it causes financial loss).

  14. Since there is a dispute currently in the courts over Winnie the Pooh merchandise rights I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t related.

    The more original characters they add, the more merchandise they can claim for themselves. As others have stated, other Disney Pooh-related shows have other original characters. It could end up like the LoTR merchandise where one group has rights over the film characters and the other over the book characters.

  15. The copyright angle is really what gets under my skin about Disney too. They can do whatever they want with charcters and images; the market — and little kids — will accept it or not. I’m not offended by that.

    However, this is a company that made its fortune taking public domain stories and making them magical, and it wants to destroy the public domain. It’s utterly perverse.

  16. Why oh why did Winnie the Pooh of all things have to jump the shark?

    Thanks for that little snippit, you captured some the melancholy in Milne’s stories that I always have liked and have noted is mostly absent from the spinoff movies, tv shows and other crap.

  17. I’m not too fussed really; I’ve always hated the disney Pooh anyhow as being a crass gaudy distortion of Shepard’s wonderful line drawings. And in my mind, the whole cast have a Yorkshire accent, having listened to the Alan Bennett BBC recordings pretty much on loop as a child.

  18. I’m not too fussed really; I’ve always hated the disney Pooh anyhow as being a crass gaudy distortion of Shepard’s wonderful line drawings.

    IMNSHO, it’s not so far away from the original as Disney’s Pinocchio. Reading the original (translated) serial was quite a shock and fun. In any event I’m not to fussed either: if it does suck, I recon’ it won’t be because of the new character, who will be merely a side-effect of the underlying causes of suckedness. And if it does suck we can hopefully point kids to stuff that sucks less, if they don’t figure it out for themselves.

  19. Disney Pooh

    But the Pooh and would like to me than anything else I ever remember since it is provided to rate a big part of Helfflumps and Tigger too. Us…

  20. That’s terrible! Shame on you. (Not the writing, the theme. Now I need to go look at my daughter sleeping and pray I can keep her safe forever.)

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