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DEEP DIVE

THE HISTORY OF CHIP 'N DALE 📚

The new Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers movie releases next week on Disney+. With an all-star cast including John Mulaney (Chip), Andy Samberg (Dale), Corey Burton (reprising his role as Zipper), Seth Rogen (Bob) and many more, we’re so excited. Join us as we head back in time to do a Deep Dive on the history of the famous detective squad, Rescue Rangers.

FIRST APPEARANCES

MEET CHIP 'N DALE

Chip n' Dale are a pair of anthropomorphic chipmunk brothers who were first created by The Walt Disney Company. Their debut was in the 1943 Disney short ‘Private Pluto’ where they fight with beloved Disney dog Pluto about storing their nuts for the winter in a cannon that Pluto is guarding. In the beginning, the two chipmunks are identical with no difference in behaviors.

Later on, the Chipmunks were given individual personalities and styles: Chip was made more serious and focused with a black nose & teeth together, while Dale was the dim-witted goofball with a red nose and two buck teeth. This contrasting of character personalities leads to lots of great moments with the pair throughout the over 20 Disney shorts they appear in.

THE NEW ORIGINS

WHY THEY CAN SPEAK

Throughout Ducktales (2017), many familiar faces make appearances in the show. Chip and Dale are no exception. In S03E03 of the show, we find out why the Chipmunks are able to walk & talk like the other characters – something I don’t think anyone ever questioned, but still cool to know.

We learn that the duo were regular chipmunks who were used to test an intelligence ray by the evil organization F.O.W.L. which gave them their unique ability to speak. Once they gained this ability, they escaped with two mice and a fly and later formed…

THE RESCUE RANGERS (1989)

METRO MICE

Since Ducktales (1987) was doing so well, Disney wanted to continue creating new animated shows. The show started as a pitch for a spin-off series focused on The Rescuers but was changed as a sequel to the first movie was already in development.

The concept was then changed to a detective show called Metro Mice starring all new characters. The overall concept was approved, but it was decided that swapping the new main character with Chip and Dale would be better received, as it would be using existing Disney characters.

MEET THE CREW

Chip ’n Dale and the Rescue Rangers was announced in 1987. The retitled Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers series premiered in 1989 on The Disney Channel, featuring Chip and Dale leading their new detective agency, Rescue Rangers. The crew featured Chip and Dale, along with two mice named Gadget and Monterey (both repurposed from Metro Mice concepts), as well as a fly named Zipper. They specialized in crimes that were too small for the regular police to investigate (ie. small animal crimes).

With 65 episodes airing over three years, the show (and the rest of the Disney Afternoon shows) was a hit. The show was nominated for Outstanding Animated Program at the 17th Daytime Emmys and in 2009 was selected by IGN as one of the top 100 best animated shows of all time. 

OTHER APPEARANCES

MEET THEM IN REAL LIFE

Aside from Ducktales, their own show and the upcoming movie, Chip and Dale have had a lot of other appearances too. They regularly meet in the Disney Parks as costumed characters & are featured on merchandise throughout the shops. They have a short form series on Disney+ called Chip 'n' Dale: Park Life where they don’t speak. They appeared in both Mickey Mouse Works and Disney’s House of Mouse. They’ve even had their own comic book series (first by Dell Comics, later by Gold Key Comics). There was also a variety of home media releases featuring the chipmunks.

DON’T CALL IT A REBOOT

THE REBOOT... OR NOT?

In 2014, it was announced that Disney was developing a live action/CGI adaptation of the animated show. In 2019, Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island was hired as the director. In November 2020, it was announced that Corey Burton (who voiced Dale & Zipper in the original show) would return to voice Zipper, but not Dale. In December 2020, comedian John Mulaney and The Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg were cast as Chip and Dale, respectively.

The first trailer released on February 16, 2022. It revealed that the actors unaltered voices would be used for the chipmunks. This is a departure from the existing Chip and Dale characters we’ve known who have had their voices digital pitched up. It was also revealed that Chip would be animated in traditional 2D style, though Dale had “the CGI surgery” and would be animated in the new realistic 3D style.

The movie will release on May 20 exclusively on Disney+.