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Metal Men Cover by Dan Jurgen

Legends Ron Clements and John Musker have teamed up with Celeste Ballard, a writer who worked on ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’, to create a Metal Men feature!

The Annie-winning and Oscar-nominated team spent decades at Disney directing movies such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Moana.The new project is with Warner Animation Group (WAG).

Robert Kanigher (Wonder Woman) and Ross Andru (Spider-Man) created the DC Comics heroes in 1962. The concept revolves around a brilliant scientist named William Magnus, and his creations. Namely, six highly advanced robots who have powers and personalities associated with metals — Mercury, Iron, Lead, Tin, Platinum, Gold, and combined into Alloy. Gold is the leader of the liquid metal robots.

The group had its own title in the 1960s and continued to make frequent guest appearances throughout the DC Universe in the ensuing decades. Most recently in 2019. The stories have ranged in tone from comedic to somber, with the group at times being on the run from government agents or even being robot assassins. The team sometimes incorporated a virtual periodic table’s worth of metal elements as new robot characters.

Dr. William Milton Magnus appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series, voiced by Corey Burton. Even without his Metal Men he consults on science, for example in Doom Patrol.

From the Cartoon Network Metal Men shorts in 2013

The heroes made appearances in various animated series in the 1990s and 2000s, with Warners in the 2000s trying to develop live-action adaptations. At various times, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner, writer and executive Geoff Johns, and Men in Black filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld tried to adapt Metal Men.

Ron Clements began working in animation with Disney’s Peter Pan (1953), and wrote and presented a two-page treatment of The Little Mermaid in 1985. John Musker also began at Disney in 1953, and met Ron Clements during the production of The Fox and the Hound in 1981, where he worked as a character animator under Clements. The two teamed up to write the script for The Little Mermaid and went on to direct the hit film, released in 1989.

Their next project was Aladdin (1992), which became the most successful animated film to that date. Their most recent project is Moana (2016) another hit, and the first animated film based on Polynesian mythology.

I’ve meet Ron and John, and found them delightful and charming, with a genuine affection for fans. And a real interest in trying new things and excelling at them. Maybe a superhero musical?

A few of the films directed by “Ron & John”

The involvement of the longtime Disney talent is a coup for WAG, which is still in the early stage of its feature animation output. The Warners unit will be leaning into the DC brand as it grows, and next up has DC League of Super Pets hitting theaters in May 2022.

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David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.

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