The Voice of King Mickey: A Tragic Piece of Disney History
If there’s one thing that bugged me about being in the Kingdom Hearts fandom, it’s the fact that it seems to be the general consensus that the new voice of King Mickey isn’t as good as the old one.
Which I can actually understand because it’s like night and day when listening to King Mickey in Kingdom Hearts 2 compared to Birth By Sleep.
And when asked what’s wrong with the new voice, most of the time people say they’re not really sure… it just sounds off.
But I just learned something. Apparently the new voice (Bret Iwan) was originally hired to just be an understudy to the old voice actor (Wayne Allwine) so essentially Bret was going to learn from the master and essentially have Wayne as a voice mentor.
Unfortunately, this didn’t end up happening as Wayne tragically passed away from complications caused by diabetes a short time later.
Which means that Bret was suddenly hired as the new voice of Mickey Mouse with basically no professional training. Bret could still do the voice, but couldn’t obtain any of the knowledge about Wayne’s experiances that spanned for over 30 years. Any personal tips about inflection, emotion, or even inner character interpretation was lost.
And what was one of Bret’s first gigs as Mickey Mouse? You guessed it, Birth By Sleep.
So imagine. The legendary voice of Mickey Mouse passed away before Bret could really learn anything and now he is suddenly forced to voice a generally happy go lucky character in a serious light that is vastly different from anything else the character has ever been in. That must have been terrifying.
So I’ve always felt bad for Bret. He was given the short end of the stick and did as best he could, again, without any real training from Wayne Allwine before he tragically passed away. It’s a real sad situation for all involved.
And not to mention that Wayne voiced Mickey in Chain of Memories…. but it was around the time when his health really started to decline… he sounds tired and you can really tell he was very ill while voicing that game. So not only do we have an entire game where Wayne was really sick, but this is also the last prominent voice for King Mickey before he passed (excluding non-verbal noises in 358/2 Days).
So essentially the Kingdom Hearts games hold a tragic turning point in Disney History. It captures the slow declining health of the legendary Wayne Allwine right before he passed away (which honestly makes it difficult for me to replay Chain of Memories) and it captures the slow climb for Bret Iwan who didn’t even have the chance to learn before becoming the new voice for King Mickey.
In the end, I’m glad that most people have learned to accept Bret over time. He’s definitely grown into his role and you can tell the difference between Birth By Sleep and the newest instalment, 0.2 A Fragmentary Passage.
It’s just really sad that Bret’s transition to be the new voice of Mickey Mouse happened in this genuinely devastating situation for all involved. They did their best in bringing the voice of King Mickey to life despite the challenges they both faced and I have the highest amount of respect for them.
Thank you Wayne Allwine
and Bret Iwan.
You both are kings to me.