Steamboat Willie will enter the public domain in the USA in 2024. Does this mean that people in the USA will then be able to reproduce the Mickey Mouse depicted in that film and make derivative works of Mickey Mouse without requiring permission from The Walt Disney Company? Wouldn't Disney be able to use its Mickey Mouse trademarks to stop people from making reproductions or derivative works? If so, what is the significance of the copyright expiry?
The Disney corporation still owns the likeness of its characters.
For instance Winnie the pooh entered the public domain in 2022. You cannot use the distinctive likeliness of Winnie in the manner that Disney created but you can now create your own.