Disney has debuted an interactive companion website, TakeMeToTomorrowland.com, to promote Brad Bird’s upcoming Tomorrowland. The site begins to untangle the film’s complex alternative history-plotline in which four legendary historical figures—Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Gustave Eiffel—join forces to create a secret science society called Plus Ultra.
The site includes two short animated pieces that help tell this backstory. Both videos are narrated by someone (Maurice LaMarche?) who sounds an awful lot like Orson Welles, which is probably who it’s supposed to be since Welles plays a role in the film’s prequel novel Before Tomorrowland. The visual style and tone of the animation purposefully evokes the “Tomorrowland” TV specials that were directed by Ward Kimball in the mid-1950s, as well as some of Disney’s other science projects like the Disneyland episode “Our Friend the Atom.”
Former Cartoon Brewer Jerry Beck reports on his site Animation Scoop that these sequences appeared in the “earliest edits of the feature, inter-cut with live action actors responding to it,” but were cut for timing reasons and instead incorporated into the online narrative. Beck credits the design and animation to Teddy Newton, Dan Jeup, and Andrew Jimenez. [UPDATE: Other artists who worked on it include Ryan Woodward, Lou Romano, and Paul Abadilla. As soon as we have a complete credits list, we will post it.]