Jason Chandler was an inventor, character affiliated with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and the President of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Chandler originates from the unbuilt Discovery Bay concept proposed for Disneyland and early plans for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad that would have tied into said project.
- 1 History
- 2 Appearances and allusions
- 3 Connections
- 4 Trivia
- 5 References
Jason Chandler was a man alive during the 19th century. He came to be a notable member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers with earliest references being to him having been S.E.A. secretary by 1851. At an unknown point in time, Chandler became president of the Society, having succeeded former president Vitale Robustelli. Chandler is also notable for having been a gifted inventor who was very ahead of the times.
Jason was shown to be considerably close with fellow club-goer Barnabas T. Bullion, having even voyaged with him to the lost city of El Dorado. In 1880, Chandler began aiding Bullion's enterprise of the Big Thunder Mining Company, sending his mining-inventions to Bullion and attempting to aid him with the mountain's paranormal activity. Chandler however consulted with his ally Madame Zarkov, the proprietress of the occult and arcane Museum of the Weird and she advised Bullion cease his activities. Bullion did not desist however and would die at some point between then and 1899.
In 1882, Jason traversed the Elaho River in the province of British Columbia, Canada on a river expedition. However this voyage was complicated due to Jason and his boat having been shot at by an unknown third-party. Jason survived however and had this voyage commemorated. In the early 20th century Chandler was also close with the French aviator Captain Brieux. Following 1907, Brieux was captain of the airship Hyperion which he and Chandler used for cartographical purposes as part of S.E.A. business.
Jason Chandler was created in the 1970s by Tony Baxter as part of a major expansion for Disneyland, linking Discovery Bay and Big Thunder Mountain's storylines.
The Spring 1992 issue of Disney News described this backstory for Thunder Mountain thusly:
"The highly imaginative tale includes the legend of a young inventor, named Jason Chandler, who lived in a town called International Village during the peak gold rush years in the Big Thunder region - circa 1849. According to the chronicles, "...the young inventor devised a drilling machine with the capability of boring into the very heart of Big Thunder Mountain. There, the veins of gold ran so deep, it was rumored they could produce a mother lode that would bring a man enough wealth to last a hundred lifetimes and more.
But a cave-in occurred on Big Thunder, burying 26 miners alive. They would have drawn their last breath then and there, had it not been for the inventor and his laughable drilling machine. He burrowed down into the Earth’s core, rescuing the miners from certain death. It should have been a moment of joy and celebration, but as the men scrambled to the arms of safety, a massive earthquake shook the ground and a cavernous maw opened up, swallowing the inventor and his machine whole.
The miners, as well as the citizens of the village, struggled day and night against the mountain, trying to dig the young man from his living tomb. But they never saw him, or another nugget of gold, again. Big Thunder had taken its vengeance not only on the miners, but on their wealth as well. The mountain had gone bust, and it became just a matter of time before only ghosts resided there."
Chandler as it turned out, survived the incident and knowing how many lives were wasted in pursuit of the gold, chose to use it to better mankind, establishing a scientific outpost in northern California named Discovery Bay and funding research into strange and unusual technologies and salvaging the remains of the Nautilus and continuing Captain Nemo's scientific work with the help of one Ned Land.
The land would also be accompanied by a television miniseries, The Discovery Bay Chronicles, which would tell the story of the area with only a pilot starring Pete Renaday as Chandler being produced. However, everything was canceled in the wake of the failure of the film The Island at the Top of the World, which would have served as the headliner attraction to the expansion. With the loss of Discovery Bay, Jason Chandler and his drilling machine would also be written out of Big Thunder Mountain. Years later, as the Society of Explorers and Adventurers storyline was developed by Imagineering, Jason Chandler would be incorporated into their membership, being described as the leader of the late 1800s-era version of the group.
Appearances and allusions
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
At the Magic Kingdom version of the attraction, Jason Chandler is referenced through correspondence between him and Barnabas T. Bullion, warning him of the supernatural turbulence of the mining site.
Great Caesar’s Ghost, old chap, I haven’t heard from you since our little misadventure in El Dorado! I am indeed sorry to hear of the second disturbance within Big Thunder Mountain, but I did warn you that you were prospecting at your own peril when I sold you the drilling machine. I took the liberty of consulting Madame Zarkov at the Museum of the Weird, and it is her considered opinion that you should abandon the entire operation at once and find a less volatile site. I wish I had better news for you, old boy, but some forces simply are not to be trifled with.
On behalf of your compatriots of SEA, I do hope to see you around the club a bit more often!
Yours in Exploration and Adventure,
The Society of Explorers and Adventurers''
A shipment in Rainbow Ridge addressed to Jason Chandler could be seen on a stage-coach on this trail. It is unknown whether the implication is the cargo being sent to Chandler from Rainbow Ridge or to him, staying in Rainbow Ridge. The coach's placement is an allusion to Discovery Bay as it is at the entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge which occupies the space planned for Discovery Bay.
A map produced by Jason Chandler and Captain Brieux of the Hyperion Airship charting Legendary Flying Beasts in the Mekong River can be found on the wall of the S.E.A. room of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It is worth noting that both characters were planned to be major figures in Discovery Bay.
Jason Chandler's name can be seen on Camellia Falco's certificate of induction to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers in 1851, where he is identified as the Societies Secretary, yet to assume the position of President, which at the time was held by Vitale Robustelli.
Jason Chandler is one of the SEA members that have contributed to the society's display of paddles and oars from various expeditions to be memorialized in this Polynesian locale. Chandler's paddle commemorates an 1882 trip on the Elaho River in British Columbia, Canada.
In other media
A younger, non-canonical version of Jason Chandler is a main character of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad comic series. This version of the character is a employee of the Big Thunder Mining Company. With the Spirit of Big Thunder becoming more restless and mining conditions becoming more dangerous, he has secretly begun to steal the gold coming out of the mine to help the townspeople, including fellow outlaws such as Onawa and Dolfo, instead of only just enriching Barnabas T. Bullion and foreman George Willikers. He is soon joined by Abigail Bullion, Barnabas's adventurous daughter, who wants to help undermine her father after seeing the plight of the workers. When the mountain's wrath finally consumes Willikers and the unclaimed gold, Chandler proposes to have the townspeople settle a new community dedicated to innovation with the help of a redeemed Barnabas's funding.
In the plans for Discovery after the events of the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Chandler teamed up with Ned Land to find the remains of the Nautilus. Chandler would have rebuilt the Nautilus himself and used it to continue Nemo’s work from the Bay. Whether any of this bleeds into current continuity is unknown.
Madame Zarkov who warned Barnabas through Jason Chandler of working in the mountain is a character from Pleasure Island. She originally appeared as a member of the Adventurers Club, a splinter organization of SEA created by Merriweather Adam Pleasure.
Discoveryland is the spiritual successor to Discovery Bay, recycling many of its concepts, story features and themes. It is unknown if Chandler's character is connected to Discovery Bay's successor, Discoveryland in Disneyland Paris or not. It is however believed that Discoveryland is set in Paris rather than California as it is referred to as being located in Paris within the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain.
Jason Chandler contacted Madame Zarkov at the Museum of the Weird to for advice on Barnabas T. Bullion's mining operations. The Museum of the Weird originates from an unbuilt expansion planned for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. In his letter to Barnabas, Jason also used the expression, "Great Caesar's Ghost" which is notably used in the Haunted Mansion the roman spirit, "Great Caesar's Ghost".
Discovery Bay was planned to tie into the release of the 1974 film The Island at the Top of the World with the bay hosting the Hyperion and Captain Brieux. In the Skipper Canteen, Chandler and Brieux are shown to be affiliated and to have travelled in the Hyperion together.
The Dreamfinder and Figment were originally conceived by Tony Baxter to appear in Discovery Bay with Dreamfinder under the name of, "Prof. Marvel" (a name likely taken from the 1939 film adaptation for The Wizard of Oz). He would have been a professor working under Jason Chandler in Discovery Bay and he would have had two affiliated attractions. Firstly he would have had, " Professor Marvel's Gallery of Illusion" in which he and his pet dragon would highlight different illusions to guests and secondly there would have been the skyway inspired, "Professor Marvel's Balloon Descent" where guests would ride artificial hot-air balloons from Discovery Bay to a proposed Dumbo's Circus area in Fantasyland.
- There is a theory which identifies Chandler as being the older, unidentified, suited S.E.A. member found in Mystic Manor in a portrait dated to 1899. It can be presumed that Chandler was active in the 1890s given that he would ride aboard the airship Hyperion, a vessel which was only completed in 1907.
- Given his reference in Soaring: Fantastic Flight it can be deduced that Jason was likely born at the earliest of around 1830 as at youngest he would have been around 20 when working for the society.
- This would give Jason approximate minimum ages of 50 during WDW's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in 1880 and 77 in 1916 when the Hyperion Airship was completed.