Disney's Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers cartoon series is getting a live-action movie adaptation directed by The Lonely Island's Akiva Schaffer. The Rescue Rangers animated series premiered on the Disney Channel in 1989, but is far more famous nowadays for being part of the beloved Disney Afternoon lineup in the 1990s. Rescue Rangers, as its title implies, revolved around a detective agency run by the iconic chipmunk duo Chip and Dale, along with a handful of brand-new characters. The team typically took on cases for other animals and battled villains like the literally-named Fat Cat and mad human scientist Norton Nimnul.
A live-action Rescue Rangers film has been in development since as far back as 2014, at a time when commercials director Robert Rugan was attached to oversee the project. However, there's been little to no progress to report since then, and it appears Rugan has turned his attention elsewhere. That doesn't mean Disney's given up on bringing Chip, Dale, Gadget, Monterey Jack, and the various other residents of the Rescue Rangers universe to life on the big screen altogether, though.
According to THR, Schaffer has been set to direct a live-action Rescue Rangers movie based on a script by lesser-known writer Barry Schwarts. Plot details are being kept under-wraps for the time being, but the film is described as being a distinctly meta or self-referential take on the property, as opposed to a straightforward adaptation about Chip and Dale's crime-solving business.
As peculiar as a "meta" take on Rescue Rangers might seem on paper, it's also something firmly in Schaffer's wheelhouse as a director. The filmmaker (as mentioned earlier) makes up one-third of the Lonely Island music parody group along with Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone, and has directed pretty much all of their music videos to date. He's also called the shots on similarly satirical movies developed by the trio, like the cult sports comedy Hot Rod and mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. That's to say, he's long specialized in comedy shorts and films with a distinctly self-reflexive vibe to them, so it only makes sense for him to carry that approach over to something like Rescue Rangers.
Indeed, it's possible Rescue Rangers will bear a resemblance to Disney's The Muppets (2011), which also offered a "meta" take on its respective franchise. The film is even being produced by Muppets veterans David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, which only lends further support to the idea. All the same, it's not entirely clear yet what the plan is for this one, as far as its distribution is concerned. While it's certainly possible the movie will be released in theaters and may wind up snagging one of those live-action movie release dates that Disney recently announced on through to 2027, it could alternatively end up going straight to their upcoming streaming service, Disney+. We will bring you more updates on the matter as they become available.