The Ice Age franchise expanded this week — on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — with the shorts series Ice Age: Scrat Tales, but it’s the swansong for its creator and animation outfit Blue Sky Studios. Less than two years under its new owner Disney as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Blue Sky was shuttered last April with Disney citing effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With Ice Age: Scrat Tales, Blue Sky delivers its final piece in the Ice Age mythology: a series of six shorts starring hapless saber-toothed squirrel Scrat and his adorable, mischievous Baby Scrat as they battle for the Acorn. Speaking of the Acorn, Blue Sky has unveiled a (possibly non-canonical) video on YouTube that features Scrat finally eating what he’s been chasing forever. Yep, it actually happened.
“In the final days of Blue Sky Studios, a small team of artists came together to do one final shot. This shot is a farewell, a send-off on our own terms,” the Connecticut, US-based animation film studio wrote in the description of an unlisted YouTube video titled “The End”. In it, Scrat jumps onto the screen in the background, sniffing for the Acorn. Spotting it in the foreground, the squirrel leaps towards it, grabs it, fondly strokes it, and then lifts it over his head like he’s won a major trophy. Then, looking around himself, Scrat does what he’s never done before. He bites into the Acorn with the full force of his saber teeth — he glances up momentarily to see if anyone’s watching him — and then proceeds to munch through the rest of the Acorn.
“The End” is only 34 seconds long, and doesn’t have the same polish as more recent productions, likely due to the fact that Blue Sky animators worked on this short in their own time. The two-line description, featuring the words “a send-off on our own terms”, feels like a parting shot at Disney, as the entertainment giant will no doubt squeeze everything out of the franchise even though it’s laid off those who were at the heart of it all. Disney might be in the crosshairs these days for its missteps with Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but it has previously been lambasted internally for its dealings too. Pixar employees have expressed their frustration with how their recent releases, including Soul, Luca, and Turning Red, have skipped theatres and been moved to Disney+.
While Blue Sky might be bidding farewell to Ice Age, fans don’t need to. If you want to see more of the unharmed Acorn and Acorn-chasing Scrat, tune into Ice Age: Scrat Tales — on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar wherever available. The six shorts find Baby Scrat seeing the Acorn for the first time (“Nuts About You”), Scrat trying to get Baby Scrat to sleep (“LoFi Scrat Beats to Sleep/Chill to”), Scrat showing Baby Scrat how to plan the Acorn (“X’s and Uh-O’s”), Scrat and Baby Scrat chasing after the Acorn in a dark cave that’s like a creepy funhouse hall of mirrors (“Nutty Reflections”), the duo having adventures with a dodo bird (“Teeter Toddler”), and the Acorn flying off a cliff (“Nut The End”).
The entire Ice Age franchise — including Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Ice Age: Collision Course, and the spin-off movie The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild — is now streaming on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar.