More than a year after Toy Story 4‘s release, Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar are being sued over the character of Duke Caboom introduced in the fourth installment of the movie. Evel Knievel’s family has filed a lawsuit claiming that the Toy Story 4 character is a clear copy of Knievel, who was an iconic American stunt performer of the 1970s.
In the movie, Duke Caboom was a 1970’s toy based on Canada’s greatest stuntman. He wore a white suit and performed tricks on a motorbike. The character was voiced by Keanu Reeves. The lawsuit notes that the Knievel and Caboom wear similar outfits. It further cites the existence of an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle toy released in 1973 and a Duke Caboom Stunt Cycle in the 2019 film.
K&K Promotions, run by late Evel’s son Kelly Knievel, owns the trademarks and copyright for the stunt performer. Knievel’s son said in a statement, “I don’t see a big long line of Disney executives ready to get on a motorcycle and jump 13 buses, nor do I remember any Canadian daredevils from the ’70s. While we note that Disney uses their Mickey Mouse lawyers to aggressively protect Disney intellectual property, they did not seek permission to use Evel Knievel at any time. The seven-claim suit seeks damages exceeding $75,000. Knievel also wants the standard “other and further relief as this Court many deem just and proper.”
According to a Walt Disney spokesperson, “The claims are without merit and we intend to defend against them vigorously in court.”
Evel Knievel passed away in 2007 at the age of 69, around three years before Toy Story 3 came out.