Reforming Borders of the Imagination: Diversity, Adaptation, Transmediation, and Incorporation in the Global Disney Film Landscape
The transmediation involved in recent Walt Disney Company productions including A Wrinkle in Time, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Coco, and Moana engage with a process of visualizing the nonvisual in ways that have heretofore differed from past Disney offerings. These films respond to calls for increased diversity, unlocking the potential of imagined spaces on a global scale. Although it addresses postcolonial identity politics that are both salient and fraught in the current geopolitical climate, such diversity nevertheless serves Disney’s corporate interests, (re)producing a colonizing progression decentralized from the nation-state but rooted in projection of culture. As Disney adapts new narratives, it also engages in a process of incorporation, absorbing these narratives into the larger framework of the overarching corporate structure of the “magic kingdom”—intended to designate a cultural home for childhood, imagination, and reminiscence of how things were and what they might become. I contend that Disney’s incorporation of new narratives extends greater access to imaginary spaces while producing a homogenizing effect on global media culture.