The Legacy of Powerline: See I2I With A Goofy Movie’s Superstar

Powerline from A Goofy Movie

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If you’re a Disney fan, chances are you’re also a Goofy fan. In which case, you’ve undoubtedly seen A Goofy Movie starring the most electrifying pop star in animation history: Powerline! Ok, so Powerline might not technically be the star of A Goofy Movie, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t play an essential part in the story.

The Biggest Rock Star on the Planet

Goofy sucks up Max's Powerline cardboard cutout in A Goofy Movie

A Goofy Movie would be an entirely different movie without the energetic singer. The movie’s whole plot revolves around a Powerline concert. From the first scene, when Goofy destroys Max’s life-size cardboard cutout of Powerline, to the film’s climax, Powerline is a constant thread running throughout A Goofy Movie.

Powerline dancing on stage
Image: Disney

But who exactly is Powerline? When Goofy exasperates his son by not recognizing the image on his cardboard cutout, Max responds, “It’s only Powerline, Dad, the biggest rock star on the planet!” Given everyone else’s obsession with the singer, it’s pretty safe to say that Max wasn’t exaggerating. In the A Goofy Movie universe, Powerline is “The biggest rock star on the planet.”

Max sees Powerline cardboard cutout at record store
Image: Disney

A Goofy Movie is full of evidence that Powerline is a big deal. On the way to school, Max looks through a record store window and sees a couple of girls swooning over a picture of Powerline. Later, Max’s class president calls an assembly to personally invite everyone to her house to watch a Powerline concert. Only the biggest celebrity could get an entire student body together outside of school to watch a concert on TV. But there’s more!

Max as Powerline

Powerline is so popular with the kids in A Goofy Movie that Max highjacks the assembly dressed as Powerline to impress his crush, Roxanne. The stunt might have landed Max in detention, but it also brought him closer to Roxanne, allowing them to bond over their shared love of Powerline. Powerline: playing Cupid since 1995!

Goofy on stage with Powerline in A Goofy Movie
Image: Disney

The man… er… dog himself doesn’t appear in A Goofy Movie until the film’s climax when Goofy and Max crash his concert during the song “I2I.” In the concert scene, we find out why Powerline is so beloved by everyone: he’s a good guy. Any other singer—animated or otherwise—would have called security the second two strangers appeared on their stage mid-performance. Not Powerline. The pop star extraordinaire not only lets Max and Goofy stay on stage, but he also makes them part of the act.

The Inspiration for Powerline

Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Powerline, Prince, and David Bowie
Images: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo, Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo, Disney, MediaPunch Inc / Alamy Stock Photo, Gijsbert Hanekroot / Alamy Stock Photo

Some of the biggest acts of the mid-’90s inspired Powerline’s creation. According to A Goofy Movie’s director, Kevin Lima, Powerline is a mishmash of Prince, Michael Jackson, and Bobby Brown, with a little bit of David Bowie thrown in for good measure. Lima debunked a popular fan theory about Powerline in 2020. Fans thought for years that Bobby Brown was initially supposed to voice Powerline. It turns out, however, that Tevin Campbell, the actor responsible for Powerline’s electric singing voice, was the only one ever considered for the role.

Tevin Campbell
Singer Tevin Campbell showing off his album. Image: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Unfortunately, fans don’t know much about Powerline outside of what they can piece together watching A Goofy Movie. It doesn’t help that Powerline only has a handful of appearances outside of A Goofy Movie—and none of them flesh out his backstory.

Powerline’s Noted Appearances

Powerline in Goofy Gets Goofy book
Powerline in Goofy Gets Goofy.

Speaking of appearances outside of A Goofy Movie, did you know that the movie wasn’t technically Powerline’s first appearance? A year before A Goofy Movie was released, the singer debuted in a 1994 storybook, Goofy Gets Goofy. The book adapts the climax of A Goofy Movie and features several illustrations of Goofy and Max on stage with Powerline. 

Image: Twitter SabinaHasNoR

While it doesn’t technically count as an appearance per se, another fun bit of trivia about Powerline is that Disney made a candy based on him. It’s true! A concession stand outside of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disneyland sells a candy called “Powerlimes,” based on the fictional singer. The candies were so popular that Disney World eventually started selling them as well.

Most of Powerline’s other appearances have been in books or on A Goofy Movie merchandise, with a few exceptions. A Powerline CD shows up in an episode of the 2017 DuckTales revival series, prompting Dewey and Della Duck to sing part of Powerline’s song “Stand Out,” from A Goofy Movie. The singer also appears in two Disney mobile games for iOS and Android, Disney Heroes: Battle Mode and Disney Emoji Blitz.

Goofy, Powerline, and Max from A Goofy Movie
Image: Disney

Powerline’s time on screen may have been short, but his impact on Disney fans and pop culture in general has been anything but. The fact that you can walk into a Hot Topic decades after A Goofy Movie was released and buy a Powerline world tour T-shirt speaks volumes about the character’s everlasting appeal. 

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