10 Things Disney’s Live-Action Gargoyles Reboot Needs To Learn From The Animated Show

Summary

  • Gargoyles was a mature and thought-provoking animated series, comparable to titles like Batman. A live-action reboot should maintain this mature tone to resonate with both original fans and new audiences. #MatureStorytelling
  • The original series challenged traditional notions of good versus evil, presenting morally complex characters. A reboot should continue exploring contemporary moral issues, enhancing character depth and narrative complexity. #NuancedAntagonists
  • Gargoyles was known for its strong and diverse characters, including Elisa Maza, who defied the damsel-in-distress trope. A live-action reboot should aim to empower female characters and provide positive representation for women and minority groups. #StrongFemaleProtagonist


In the realm of animated classics, Gargoyles stands as a beacon of storytelling brilliance, and Disney’s live-action reboot can learn from its intricate plotlines, well-defined characters, and mature themes. From Gargoyles‘ delicate portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters like Lexington to the exploration of real-world issues such as prejudice and discrimination, the animated series set a precedent for long-form, socially conscious storytelling. Additionally, the series redefined the roles of antagonists, emphasizing depth and intelligence, while also challenging conventional notions of good versus evil.

Moreover, the show was not only a narrative triumph but a visual spectacle, with its distinct art style and resonant voice acting contributing to Gargoyles‘ immersive experience. Reviving the beloved masterpiece will require a balance between a deep respect for the series’ source material and incorporating a fresh perspective that resonates with modern audiences. As anticipation for Disney’s live-action Gargoyles reboot continues to excite, there’s hope among fans that the essence of the original animated series will be honored.


10 Series Defining Edgy Tone Refused To Pull Punches

Season 1, Episodes 9-12: “City of Stone”

Gargoyles was characterized by a mature and dark narrative tone, extending its appeal beyond children. Gargoyles consistently maintains a mature and thought-provoking tone throughout its run, comparing favorably alongside titles like Batman. The gravitas of the shows’ commitment to long-form, emotionally complex storylines was uniquely impressive–especially for a cartoon in the mid-90s. A live-action reboot could sustain this mature tone, addressing societal issues and moral ambiguity, and aligning with successful contemporary dramas. This is vital for a reboot as a mature tone caters to both original fans and new audiences, ensuring the show retains its distinctive and compelling narrative style.

9 Gargoyles Challenged Expectations Of Good Versus Evil

Season 1, Episode 13: “Reawakening”

Gargoyles - Demona looking down

Gargoyles defined itself by challenging traditional notions of good and evil, portraying characters with intricate motivations and moral dilemmas. The original animated series excelled at presenting morally complex characters, establishing Gargoyles as a standout in animated storytelling. A recurring example is often explored by the villain, Demona, who contends that gargoyles are inherently good and humans are evil. Despite her antagonistic role in the narrative, her story arcs frequently challenge moral assumptions and stereotypes. A reboot could continue exploring contemporary moral issues, depicting characters navigating shades of gray in a nuanced world. This is crucial for a live-action reboot, enhancing character depth and narrative complexity to engage a modern audience.

8 Gargoyles Transformed The Landscape For Animated Antagonists

Season 1, Episodes 1-5: “Awakening”

Goliath and two gargoyle companions look down at a human in Gargoyles.

Gargoyles revolutionized the portrayal of animated antagonists by imbuing them with depth, intelligence, and motivations beyond mere villainy. The original series excelled in this regard, with antagonists standing out and significantly contributing to the show’s success. Despite the majority of animated shows plotting episodes for syndication, Gargoyles‘ serialized storytelling benefited villains by giving them far more space for complexity and development (via Polygon). A contemporary reboot could further humanize antagonists, exploring their motivations and rendering them more relatable, aligning with the trend of nuanced villains in modern storytelling. This is pivotal for a live-action reboot, as well-developed antagonists define Gargoyles’ intricate narrative, with memorable characters that enhance the story’s impact.

Related: 10 Best Villains on Disney’s Gargoyles

7 Protagonist Elisa Maza Defies Damsel-in-Distress Trope

Season 2, Episodes 50-52: “Hunter’s Moon”

Gargoyles - Elisa looking content

Departing from the traditional damsel-in-distress trope, Gargoyles intentionally portrayed Elisa Maza as a resilient and independent character. The original animated series executed this well, with Elisa Maza standing as a groundbreaking character for her time, paving the way for stronger female protagonists in animated series. Aiming to establish Elisa as a strong mixed-race woman of color, series writers included multiple scenes showcasing her ability to rescue Goliath, rather than always needing to be rescued by him. The live-action reboot could aim to further empower female characters, presenting them with dynamic and diverse strengths. This would align with contemporary values, offering a positive representation of both women and minority groups.

6 Gargoyles The Mirror Underscores Goliath And Elisa Romance

Season 2, Episode 5: “The Mirror”

Elisa Maza and Goliath looking forward in Gargoyles.

Gargoyles explores the subtle dynamics between Goliath and Elisa Maza and successfully captures this by making the Goliath and Elisa relationship a central and well-crafted element of the show. The emotional struggles and sacrifices made by both Goliath and Elisa are vividly and heartbreakingly portrayed, as the two struggle to acknowledge their feelings for one another until later in the story. The reboot could flesh their relationship out further, addressing contemporary issues and multicultural challenges faced by couples with nuanced storytelling. Doing so would allow the show to retain its deep character development, adding a layer of emotional depth to the series and broadening its appeal.

5 The Xanatos Gambit Trope Is Named After A Gargoyles Antagonist

Season 2, Episode 2: “Metamorphosis”

Gargoyles - David Xanatos smiling

Gargoyles earned its distinction, in part, by introducing the Xanatos Gambit trope (via TV Tropes), a narrative device where a character’s actions invariably yield personal benefit, regardless of the outcome. This tactical approach was consistently employed by the villain, David Xanatos, becoming a signature element of the series, and contributing immensely to Gargoyles‘ intelligent storytelling. As such, a live-action reboot would benefit greatly by including more intricate and unpredictable plot devices, along with high-intense, cerebral challenges for its heroes. The importance of this for a live-action reboot lies in the added complexity it brings to the narrative, creating suspense and intrigue—engineered by villains who never seem to really lose.

4 Gargoyles Unapologetically Shined A Light On Prejudice

Season 1, Episode 8: “Deadly Force”

Gargoyles - Brooklyn looking confident

The animated Gargoyles TV show, before its cancelation, was unafraid to shine a light on real-world issues, particularly prejudice and discrimination, metaphorically explored through the relationship between humans and gargoyles. The original series skillfully used its fantasy setting to address civil responsibility issues, setting Gargoyles apart as a standout in socially conscious storytelling. In one instance, the consequences of gun violence and irresponsibility prompted discussions on prejudice, racial stereotypes, and misunderstanding. The live-action reboot should confront contemporary challenges like racism or xenophobia, leveraging its supernatural subject matter for insightful commentary. By continuing to examine the consequences of moral ambiguity, the reboot would align with the depth and relevance of the narrative, fostering conversations that resonate with audiences.

3 LGBTQ+ Representation: Lexington is Gay

Season 1, Episode 6: “The Thrill of the Hunt”

Gargoyles - Lexington with a floppy disk

Gargoyles set a precedent for its subtle and respectful LGBTQ+ representation through its notable portrayal of its affable hero, Lexington. Even though Lexington’s orientation was confirmed by series creator, Greg Weisman, the political ecosystem of the time made it a delicate subject to broach–especially in a children’s cartoon. While the original animated series did not provide explicit delineation, Gargoyles‘ approach was progressive for its time, paving the way for more inclusive storytelling in subsequent narratives. With the live-action reboot now in the works, it’s never been a better time for Lexington to get the character development he’s always deserved. Lexington’s meaningful inclusion and accurate portrayal should be a deliberate intention from the start, stemming from his capacity to connect authentically with LGBTQ+ fans.

2 True Friendship And Loyalty Are Transcendent

Season 2, Episode 15: “The Price”

Gargoyles was characterized by the timeless themes of true friendship and loyalty, emphasizing their significance amidst adversity. Consistently portraying the importance of honor and integrity enriches the narrative with emotional depth. The unwavering devotion of the gargoyles toward each other, even in challenging decisions, underscores these enduring themes. In today’s media landscape, a reboot could delve into the complexity of relationships within a more interconnected and technologically advanced world, offering a more robust spin on the value of companionship and cooperation in a modern context. The importance of this for a live-action reboot lies in the enduring appeal of strong interpersonal relationships, providing a solid foundation for character-driven storytelling.

1 Creator Greg Weisman’s Many Shakespeare References

Season 2, Episode 43: “Future Tense”

Titania and Oberon Gargoyles

Gargoyles creator Greg Weisman’s incorporation of numerous references to William Shakespeare’s works infuses the narrative with sophistication and literary depth. Highlighting Weisman’s storytelling sophistication, references to The Bard’s work contributed significantly to Gargoyles‘ uniquely archaic and enduring appeal. The narrative abounds with Shakespearean themes, folded into dialogue, character development, and entire story arcs. The live-action reboot could sustain this by drawing inspiration from classic literature and integrating references that intentionally resonate with a mature and refined viewership. Adding intellectual engagement with literary references appeals to a diverse audience, allowing it to continue to distinguish the series from more straightforward narratives.

  • Gargoyles Temp Logo

    Gargoyles (Live Action)

    Genres:
    Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

    Rating:
    Not Yet Rated

    Seasons:
    1

    Writers:
    Gary Dauberman

    Streaming Service(s):
    Disney Plus

    Franchise(s):
    Gargoyles

    Showrunner:
    Gary Dauberman