How did Legend’s presence in Strange World come about?
According to an article by film critic Ashley Saunders, including Legend was not guaranteed from the start and evolved. Saunders explains that it was the brainchild of a longtime Disney’s story department member, Burny Mattinson, who did not give up on suggesting to director Don Hall that a dog would make the movie better. Because of newer creatures like Splat, Hall did not see it that way, but his resistance thawed. The chief of the story team penned Legend as being sans one limb, and this vision took hold, the piece further declares.
The same article also divulged Legend’s breed while interviewing Roy Conli, one of the film’s producers; Conli refers to him as a Bernedoodle, a shortened name for a Bernese-Doodle. So, he is a hybrid of the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle. As told by the AKC, the Bernese Mountain Dog gets its name from Bern, the capital of Switzerland and a rural district with thousands of farms. One of the four Swiss mountain dog breeds is known for its longish, smooth coat with black, white, and orange-brown colors. Aside from a good-natured temperament and getting along great with children and other animals, it was historically used to drive livestock over lengthy distances, guard farms, and pull carts and sleds. According to the AKC, poodles are noted for high intellect and ability to swim and retrieve; their coat of curls serves a practical purpose as an added barrier to reducing the elements’ impact.
Why is Legend’s name important?
Saunders also revealed the origin of the character’s name in her talk with Hall about Strange World, who said it was to honor Mattinson, who is considered a kind of Legend in the entertainment company. According to the Internet Movie Database website, Mattinson started with Disney when he was 18 and is their longest-serving employee. There are other relevant reasons for his name, though. Jaeger Clade, with his former wife and son in tow, was renowned for going on perilous journeys, braving hazardous places such as jungles, rapids, and volcanic regions, in his quest to find a way to pass through the mountain walls. Searcher also became a local legend for his botanical contributions. The word legend also is defined as an explanation of what the symbols mean on a chart or map, and one of the first scenes mentions that cartography is one of the subjects that expedition members must study.
Mattison’s instincts were correct about Strange World. The presence of Legend enhances the movie. He is Ethan’s constant companion. This helps contrast the childhoods of Searcher and Ethan. Although Searcher accompanies his father on trips, he is subjected to many dangers, and his passion for plants is discouraged. Thus far, Ethan has lived a life of relative safety, has his own set of friends, has some freedom to make choices, and has Legend as a lovable buddy. He lends humor and a sense of curiosity and wonders to interacting with the landscape, partially Dr. Seuss-like but with a possibility of foreboding at times. The legend shows that beings with disabilities contribute to their families and communities and should be appreciated and loved just like everybody else.