The book and character were later reenvisioned in Disney's hit 1988 live-action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In the film version, Roger is a cartoon character in Hollywood during the Golden age of American animation. The various toons live in a Los Angeles enclave known as "Toontown", and act out animated shorts in the same way human actors act out feature films. Roger is framed for the murder of a famous Hollywood film producer and owner of Toontown, and he seeks out Valiant to help clear his name. In the film, the voice of Roger is performed by comedian Charles Fleischer, who was known for electing to wear an actual rabbit costume on the set to get into the role over the course of the entirety of production.
The character of Roger was created by author Gary K. Wolf, for his 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? Wolf was watching Saturday-morning cartoons as research for new book ideas, when he noticed cereal commercial mascots such as Tony the Tiger and the Trix Rabbit. Wolf thought it was weird that these commercials had real children interacting with cartoon characters casually, and he decided to explore the concept in book form, eventually combining pulp fiction and true crime elements, and eventually creating the character of Roger Rabbit in the process. Published in 1981, Walt Disney Productions purchased the film rights that same year for $35,000. Wolf retains all story rights related to the characters and is allowed to write new novels featuring them, but Disney and Amblin Entertainment own the intellectual property rights.
Before Richard Williams came on board for the film project, early animation tests for Roger gave him a simple and stylized look of a skinny white bunny with a purple nose. In these test animations, Roger was voiced by Paul Reubens. Subscribers to The Disney Channel (which was a subscription channel back in its early years) were able to see this test footage in the early 1980s.
When the film went into full production, Roger was redesigned in a fashion to take elements from all the major cartoon studios of the period, the philosophy behind the new characters, in general, being a combination of Disney's elaborate animation style, similar characterization to Warner Bros. characters and capable of performing Tex Avery-inspired gags.
Roger is a slender, white rabbit with large blue eyes, pink nose, a tuft of red hair who wears red overalls, yellow gloves, and a blue yellow polka dot bow tie. He is an amalgamation of various classic cartoon characters; taking Bugs Bunny's cartoon rabbit form, Mickey's gloves, Goofy's baggy pants, Porky Pig's bow tie and Droopy's hair. Animator Richard Williams described the process of creating him like an "American flag" with the red overalls, white fur and blue bow tie so that American audiences would enjoy him subliminally.