This December, Disney is releasing a movie exclusively to their streaming service, Disney+ titled Togo, based on the true story of the 1925 serum run to Nome or The Great Race of Mercy. This was a real event that occurred in Alaska where several children became infected with diphtheria and required medicine but ,due to severe weather circumstances, the only way to deliver it was with the use of sled dog teams.
If you grew up in during the 90’s you probably first heard about the 1925 serum run to Nome by watching a little animated movie called Balto. Being an animated kids movie, Balto took a lot of liberties with this true story where Balto (voiced by Kevin Bacon), a half wolf half husky, pretty much saves the day by himself. In reality there was a real dog (albeit a pure breed husky) named Balto, but he was the lead dog on the team of the last leg of the relay. Since Balto’s team arrived in Nome, he received all the credit and the other dogs and mushers were pretty much ignored.
Today, most historians believe that the real heroes of this story were actually a sled dog named Togo and his Norwegian musher Leonhard Seppala. Seppala, Togo, and their team were the ones who ran the longest and most arduous leg of the relay, but they were never given the same level of credit as Balto.
However, it looks like Disney is trying to change that with their upcoming Togo movie, directed by Ericson Core. As the title suggests, this movie will be about Togo’s journey during The Great Race of Mercy. His musher Leonhard Seppala is being played by actor Willem Dafoe, who currently stars in The Lighthouse alongside Robert Pattinson. Some images of Dafoe and the sled dogs have already been released by People magazine..
Hopefully this movie will set the record straight and finally give Togo the credit he deserves.