The story of Robin Hood has been an obvious choice for film studios for years, so it’s no surprise Disney put forth their own version of the Crusades-era tale in the mid-1970s. The story centres around Robin Hood, his loyal pal Little John and their pursuits to right the wrongs of the tyrannical Prince John, who had been overtaxing England to the point of abject poverty while big brother King Richard was away fighting in the Crusades. Of course, there’s also romance, as Robin Hood woos his lady love Maid Marian while he’s not being a hero to the people of Nottingham.
In typical Disney fashion, everyone’s favourite outlaw and his companions were anthropomorphized. Originally, studio writer Ken Anderson wanted to adapt the stories of Reynard the Fox, a sly trickster who could smooth talk his way out of any sticky situation, but the idea was vetoed by Walt himself before his death, claiming Reynard wasn’t a suitable hero. However, the notion of drawing animals did stick with Anderson and the Reynard stories’ main species were emulated in this film with Robin Hood and Maid Marian portrayed as foxes and the Sheriff of Nottingham as a wolf.