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The Real Reason Scrat Wasn't In The Ice Age Adventures Of Buck Wild

Back in 2002, if you had told someone that the animated comedy "Ice Age" would go on to spawn one of the most successful movie franchises of all time (via Chicago Tribune), they probably wouldn't have believed you. Yet 20 years later, the wildly successful "Ice Age" franchise is still kicking — releasing its sixth film this past month through Disney+.

The new film, a spin-off story titled "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild," heralds the return of the titular Buck Wild (Simon Pegg), a prehistoric weasel with an eyepatch and a penchant for hunting down dinosaurs. Pegg, who had previously appeared in films like "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and "Ice Age: Collision Course," is one of the few voice actors returning to the franchise, series regulars Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary (who voiced Manny, Sid, and Diego, respectively) having all been replaced (via IMDb).

This abrupt change in voice actors is one of the many reasons why the new film doesn't exactly feel the same as its predecessors, though perhaps the biggest change in the new film is the complete absence of Scrat, a character that has otherwise appeared in every "Ice Age" film to date.

Disney lost a trademark dispute over who really created Scrat

Scrat is an anxiety-ridden prehistoric rodent who communicates exclusively in high-pitched yelps and screams. He appears in all five of the previous films, often following his own B story alongside the main plot as he tries (and fails) to find acorns. Though he serves mainly as comic relief, Scrat is an absolutely essential part of the series — so why is he not in the newest film?

His absence has to do with the long-running dispute over who actually created Scrat. Ivy Silberstein (a cartoonist and fashion designer based in New York) claimed to have created "a squirrel-rat hybrid animal" back in 1999. According to Silberstein, Fox took notice of the character and repurposed it for use in the upcoming animated film "Ice Age" (via Queens Ledger). Silberstein spent 18 years battling for the trademark in court and went to various news outlets to try to get the story out about who really created the character. She didn't have any success until 2019, when the Fox-Disney Corporation officially agreed to settle the case.

Silberstein finally received her trademark on July 7, 2020, and on January 28, 2022 (the day the new "Ice Age" film was released), she tweeted a photo holding the trademark with the caption "No #Scrat in #Disney #IceAge 6." Silberstein won her 20-year battle for Scrat to be removed from "Ice Age," resulting in his very notable absence in "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild."