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Legend, The Three-Legged Dog, Wasn't In The Original Strange World Script

Looper was recently in attendance at a presser for Disney Animation Studios' upcoming family-friendly adventure film "Strange World." It stars Jake Gyllenhaal (who voices Searcher Clade), Jaboukie Young-White (Ethan Clade), and Gabrielle Union (Meridian Clade). The plot revolves around a family who gets recruited by the leader of their people, Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), for an expedition to save the biological power source they depend on for their existence. Along the way, they find Searcher's long-lost father, Jaeger (Dennis Quaid), and together they must brave the wild and dangerous wilderness of the new world they've discovered while also fortifying the bonds that hold them together as a family.

Along the way, they befriend a slime creature native to the strange world, which they nickname Splat. Splat is sentient, cute, mischievous, and a little bit messy — sort of like a cross between Grogu ("Baby Yoda") and Slimer from the "Ghostbusters" movies. In the first version of the original screenplay, Splat was the only animal-esque companion with which the family was supposed to share screen time. But a helpful suggestion from a legendary Disney filmmaker allowed them to include Legend the three-legged dog into the story as well.

Disney legend Burny Mattinson came up with the idea

At the presser, director Don Hall fielded a question from the audience about Legend and gave them more of an answer than they were likely bargaining for. He started by talking about Burny Mattinson, an employee of the Disney company for 69 years with extensive experience storyboarding some of their biggest animated hits. One day, in an early story meeting, Mattinson suggested Hall add a dog.

The director reported that he was initially skeptical, but, as Hall remarked, "the story crew heard that, and they all ganged up on me and said, 'we want a dog, we need a dog, we need a dog! We need a dog!' and then our head of story ... drew a version of Legend as a three-legged dog, and that was it."

The dog is named Legend in honor of Burny because, as Hall said, "[Mattinson] is a Disney legend. A bona fide Disney legend." Hall also added that the dog breed they modeled Legend after is a Bernedoodle (a cross between a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle), but they referred to him as a "Burny-doodle" behind the scenes while making the film.

"Strange World" opens exclusively in theaters on November 23, 2022.