It appears that TOY STORY 4‘s Duke Caboom looks a little too much like Evel Knievel because Disney and Pixar are being sued for supposedly ripping off Evel Knievel’s likeness for the daredevil character in the fourth installment of the popular franchise.
In the film, Duke Caboom is a small plastic action figure based on Canada’s fictional greatest stuntman. He is fully decked out in nationalistic red-and-white, and maple leaves adorn his large cape and matching motorbike. When I first saw the character, I instantly thought of Evel Knievel and assumed that Disney and Pixar got permission to use his likeness and created the character as a bit of an homage.
Well, according to “TMZ‘, K&K Promotions, who manage the late performer’s likeness, have filed a lawsuit against Disney, Pixar, and a number of subsidiaries for the unauthorized homage. They go on to draw comparisons between Duke Caboom and an official Evel Knievel toy released in the 1970s that includes a motorbike much like the one in the film as well as a dock accessory for winding the toy up. K&K Promotions allege that Disney deliberately avoided any reference to Knievel in promotional interviews, similar to how Tony Hale (who voices the spork toy Forky in the film) carefully avoided using the word spork in interviews because of the complicated legal ownership of the term.
Duke Caboom was voiced by Keanu Reeves in the film and from what I could find from any promotional materials for TOY STORY 4, the actor doesn’t mention Knievel being an inspiration for the fictional character. At the end of the day though, K&K claims they own all the rights to Evel Knievel’s likeness, persona, and brand and says Disney did NOT get any type of approval to base one of their characters after Evel.
Going to be interesting if Disney can wiggle out of this one. I’m sure they’ll find some loophole and difference between the character and the real Knievel but we will have to wait and see
Do YOU think Disney and Pixar ripped off Knievel’s likeness for the character of Duke Caboom?