There's a bit of a buzz going on in one of the online forums about a change to the storyline in Tomorrowland which eliminated a direct reference to Walt Disney in the film. The scene appeared one minute and twenty six seconds into the Japanese Trailer, which appeared on YouTube April 3, 2015.
In his book Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull observes that almost all projects go thru phases and sometimes things get thrown out because the concept isn't working. That "working" thing can be a very tricky place. It's where the "magic" happens. It's where the guests willingly suspend their disbelief, allowing themselves to become immersed in the show to the point that it becomes reality. That is where Tomorrowland sets a very high bar. Athena's introduction to the website makes it clear; "If you are ready to change the world, and it looks like you are, then all you need to do is turn around."
After having viewed a dozen trailers and exploring the Take Me to Tomorrowland website, I have to admit that it has worked for me so far. I want Tomorrowland to be real. That is the truly unique aspect of this film. It wants to extend your experience beyond the theater. It wants you to believe Tomorrowland's message completely enough that you will actually go out and change the world for the better.
That is a very lofty goal and accomplishing it will require a great deal of sensitivity and finesse. I suspect that's also why Walt ended up on the cutting room floor. Introducing him into the story broke the spell, reminding you that it is "just" a movie - a little bit about Walt - made by the company that still bears his name, but don't tell anybody..."wink-wink".
He's been gone nearly 50 years. Disney's Land has changed in millions of ways, but his untimely death didn't have to be the end of what Walt wanted to accomplish. This is where things start to get really interesting, because now things are moving out of a land of fantasy and entertainment and into the land of faith and belief and action where personal, even global, salvation and redemption becomes part of the conversation.
In a previous post I mentioned how every little girl - including the ones inside grown up women - want to have the experience of wearing Cinderella's dress, looking perfect, and being treated like a princess. Tomorrowland has an even loftier goal. It wants to make everyone care about, and have the courage to try and fix, what's wrong in the world - regardless of their physical condition or circumstances.
In that way, Tomorrowland has the potential to be the most powerful story Disney has ever tried to tell.
Personally, I hope it works.