Winnie the Pooh is back! OK, Pooh never really went anywhere to be honest. Since he made his Disney debut in the 1966 theatrical short Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, the silly old bear has appeared in Disney films, shorts, or television shows in every single decade. Now, Pooh is making his live-action film debut in Christopher Robin, and the Christopher Robin voice cast will give you a serious dose of nostalgia.
Although all of the original franchise voice actors like Sterling Holloway (Pooh), John Fiedler (Piglet), Ralph Wright (Eeyore), Paul Winchell (Tigger), Junius Matthews (Rabbit), Hal Smith (Owl), and Barbara Luddy (Kanga) have all long since passed away, there is still a link to the franchise's past. For '90s kids who may not be as familiar with the Disney version of Pooh's 1960s beginnings, their Pooh touchstone is the Saturday morning cartoon series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. That series featured Jim Cummings in the role of Pooh, and he later took over the role of Tigger as well. Cummings has voiced Pooh since 1988, and Tigger since '89, meaning that to multiple generations, he is the voice of these iconic characters. And thankfully, he is voicing both Pooh and Tigger in Christopher Robin.
Cummings' familiar voice will be music to the ears of anyone who grew up watching The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or any of the other Pooh franchise installments that have come out in the last 30 years. But Christopher Robin isn't just about looking toward Pooh's past, as the film also features many newcomers in the film's other iconic roles.
Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond fame lends his deep baritone to Eeyore, taking over from the late Bud Luckey, who voiced the character in the last Pooh film, 2011's Winnie the Pooh. Also new is English actor Toby Jones, who takes over the role of Owl from comedian Craig Ferguson. British actor Nick Mohammed is making his franchise debut as Piglet, replacing Travis Oates, who had voiced the cowardly character since 2005. Rabbit, who was voiced by the late Ken Sansom from 1988 until 2010, was voiced by Tom Kenny in Winnie the Pooh, but he gets yet another new voice actor for Christopher Robin in the form of former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi. Rounding out the voice cast are two more rookies as the kangaroo duo Kanga and Roo. Academy Award nominee Sophie Okonedo becomes the sixth actor to voice Kanga, while young actor Sara Sheen will be the 10th voice of Roo.
Although most of the character voices in Christopher Robin will sound unfamiliar to longtime fans, the presence of Jim Cummings as both Pooh and Tigger ought to be enough to warm the hearts of nostalgic Pooh lovers. After voicing Pooh for 30 years and Tigger for nearly as long, Cummings shows no signs of slowing down, and his familiar voice will no doubt charm a whole new generation as he enters the live-action world in Christopher Robin.