What Could Have Been / Disney and Pixar

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In general, as it takes a very, very long time to make an animated feature film, many films are significantly different during early stages of their productions. Others never even see the light of day. Books have been published, long ones, filled with concept art from these earlier iterations and dropped projects. And occasionally, you may find early test footage on the DVDs.
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    Disney Animated Canon 
Dinosaur, Frozen, Tangled, and The Lion King have their own pages.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
    • The film originally had more scenes with the Prince who would have been imprisoned by the Queen in a dungeon and then make a daring escape. The main reason for dropping it was that the animators were not yet experienced enough to handle the extra work of making a believable human character, what with Snow White and the Queen already taxing their skills. Some of these ideas were eventually used (more than 20 years later!) in Sleeping Beauty. Additionally, some of the scenes with the Dwarfs were also cut, mostly to tighten up the story. The best known of these was the "Music In Your Soup" song, which was eventually shown on the Disneyland program and in other specials in pencil test form. There's also a missing scene where the Dwarves build a bed for Snow White, which turned up in a childrens' book.
    • Snow White was also going to include all three of the Queen's assassination attempts (poison comb, bodice suffocation and the poison apple) but eventually streamlined it to just the apple instead. Up until very late in production, just the bodice was cut, with the comb remaining. Take a look at the title card in the beginning, there is a comb visible.
    • Dopey was originally going to have speaking parts, like the other dwarfs rather than being The Silent Bob. However, he was made mute because a voice actor wasn't able to be found for him.
    • Snow White's design was originally much more pink.
    • Disney's Dwarves was a spinoff about the Seven Dwarves that never came out. Years later Disney made The 7D which is loosely based on the same idea.
  • Pinocchio:
    • Gideon was going to speak and be voiced by Mel Blanc. Blanc recorded lines for him, but after the popularity of Dopey it was decided that he would be more likable mute. Blanc's voice can still be heard when Gideon hiccups. Gideon still giggled a bit in the December 1939 radio adaptation broadcasted to promote the film.
    • Another deleted scene was originally the donkey Lampwick was supposed to join Pinocchio and Jiminy in their escape from Pleasure Island but he is caught by the Coachman's minions (accompanied by a pack of bloodhounds that would bear more than a passing resemblance to Pluto) and as he is being carried away, he says, "Go on, save yourselves, I'm a goner". However, some storybook adaptations keep the scene.
    • As seen on bonuses in the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the film, there were at least three more possible ideas for scenes that were ultimately deleted:
      • First, after dousing Pinocchio's burning finger after he plays with a candle, Geppetto puts him to bed while warning him never to play with fire because he is made of wood and should be proud of it because, as Geppetto tells it in a bedtime story, Pinocchio's grandfather is a noble pine tree, a proud monarch of the forest.
      • Second was an alternate scene of Geppetto, Figaro and Cleo starving inside Monstro the whale. Here, Geppetto, while fishing, manages to catch a package, which he hopes contains food, only to actually contain... a cookbook! Figaro sees the cookbook, which is open to a page on how to cook fish, and he tries to eat Cleo. Geppetto stops his every attempt and chastises him for it, only to almost eat the goldfish himself before coming to his senses. Like the deleted scene of Lampwick being carried off by the Coachman, this scene was used in storybook adaptations. This may also have served as the basis for the first Figaro short, "Figaro and Cleo", which features a similar plot of Figaro trying to eat Cleo, although in that cartoon, he is continuously thwarted not by Geppetto, but by a black "mammy"-type maid.
      • Third was a simpler ending, in which the film ends on the beach where they escape from Monstro. In this scene, it is Geppetto who is unconscious and Pinocchio who thinks he is dead and blames himself for allowing him to die, breaking down crying as he does so. Then Geppetto comes to as Pinocchio becomes, right then and there, a real boy. Geppetto exclaims, "Pinocchio! What's happen to you?" The whole group, which also includes Figaro, Cleo and Jiminy, is ecstatic. The group, sans Jiminy, dances off down the beach while Jiminy stays behind, thanking the wishing star, after which, as in the final film, a shiny new badge appears on his shirt and the cricket sees the star reflected in the badge.
    • One of the many songs to made for, but ultimately not used in, Pinocchio was a song for Jiminy Cricket called "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow", which was used in another Disney film, Fun and Fancy Free, in which Jiminy also appears.
    • It was originally considered that Stromboli would have a pet parrot, partially to justify the birdcage in which Pinocchio is imprisoned.
  • Fantasia:
    • The movie was supposed to be a periodic, if not yearly, event, with brand-new music and sequences for every rerelease. Unfortunately, the onset of World War II nixed this. This may be the most haunting of all the Disney couldabeens, as it could have changed the history of Western Animation! Imagine if it had gone beyond classical music and into swing, big band, rock, pop music and so on? We sort of saw a glimpse of what might have been with the anthology features like Make Mine Music. (And then 41 years later with American Pop.)
    • Fantasia 2000 originally had a short parodying The Ugly Duckling starring Goofy named "The Ugly Goofling".
    • Fantasia 2006 was to focus on world music and segments were completed for it before the plug was pulled. They subsequently became standalone shorts: "One by One" and "The Little Match Girl" are included as bonus features on the special edition DVDs of The Lion King II and The Little Mermaid, respectively; Lorenzo screened before Raising Helen in theaters, and Destino has appeared at film festivals and, curiously, cruise ship art auctions. They all appeared at a 2008 Los Angeles screening hosted by Roy as well.
    • The original Fantasia was going to include "Clair De Lune"; but it was cut. It was animated and you can see it here; the sequence was recycled for Make Mine Music by changing the music to "Blue Bayou" instead.
    • Fantasia 2000 was supposed to include a sequence featuring characters from every Disney Animated Canon film at the time. The original idea was that Mickey was composing an orchestra where the audience featured every major character from every Disney film thus far. The scene would switch between Mickey performing and gags involving the audience. One know gag was Snow White sitting next to the Evil-Queen-in-her-disguise. Snow White offers the Evil Queen some popcorn while the Evil Queen offers her a basket of apples, causing Snow to look bemusedly at her, This sequence was scrapped because it was seen as just a gimmicky gag-filled joke without any emotional weight. Ths idea then switched featuring just Disney Princesses in a cathedral but that too was scrapped.
  • Bambi:
    • According to the book "Mickey and the Gang: Classic Stories in Verse", a film adaptation of "Bambi's Children" was actually planned but never got beyond the early stages of development.
    • In the production of the first film, it was debated how to show the death of Bambi's mom: originally there was scene where we would see her body collapse as she jumped over a log, after hearing the sound of a shotgun, but it was decided the scene would be more effective emotionally if we don't actually see her die. According to Thomas & Johnston's Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, Walt Disney was also eager to show Man burned to death by the fire that he inadvertently started, but this was discarded when it was decided not to show Man at all.
    • Thumper's father was planned to appear in person, but that didn't make it into the final film.
    • In the mid-80s, there were plans for a spin-off film, starring Thumper.
    • The hunter was going to actually appear, but it led to a dilemma; kids wouldn't accept a character killing the protagonist's mother unless he was evil, but Disney didn't want to make it seem that they were demonizing hunters (as if the finished film hasn't turned who knows how many kids off that pastime), so the character was cut.
    • The film was originally going to be the studio's second animated film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but Walt's goal of animating the deer realistically proved to be more challenging than anticipated, so it was moved down the production line, and Pinocchio became their second feature instead.
    • At one point a Bambi 3 was planned.
    • Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit was going to be revealed as the killer of Bambi's mom, but this would have messed up the "Toons are actually actors" angle of the film.
    • Another story goes that that the people who made Beauty and the Beast wanted to imply it was Gaston who killed Bambi's mom. Just goes to show you that no one shoots like Gaston!!!
  • The two sequences of Fun and Fancy Free, "Bongo" and "Mickey and the Beanstalk", were in development since 1940 and '41 as two standalone features. "Beanstalk" (originally named "The Legend of Happy Valley") was brought to the screen largely as originally conceived, but a planned scene of how Mickey got the magic beans in exchange for the cow was dropped. "Bongo", meanwhile, was considered to happen in parallel with Dumbo, and feature some characters from that film. It was also planned that Bongo have a chimpanzee for a partner. In the woods, they would meet two mischievous bear cubs. The character designs were also more realistic than would appear in the final film. But with the infamous Disney animators' strike of 1941 and then the outbreak of World War II, production on both films was halted. After the war, the studio was hurting for cash, and Walt didn't think that the two films were strong enough to each merit a standalone film. So, between that and the need to bring in some much-needed cash, the studio packaged the two films together as an Animated Anthology. Ironically, the two films did air individually on television as part of the Walt Disney anthology series, as well as released individually, as well as together, on home video.
  • Alice in Wonderland:
    • An earlier adaptation was planned back in the thirties. The storyboards were done by David Hall and very grotesque and quite dark. It was also much closer to the book. The Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland contains a homage to this early treatment: a signpost topped by the head of the Mad Hatter.
    • The trope image (From a children's book) depicts an unproduced scene from the film. Apparently, the Cheshire Cat's recitation of the opening lines of "Jabberwocky" was to give way to an actual encounter with the Jabberwock itself, voiced by Stan Freberg. It was trashed for evidently being too scary. The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle were also apparently at some point planned to appear.
    • Apparently, Disney even toyed with the idea of having a live-action Alice explore an animated Wonderland, as in his early "Alice Comedies".
    • Janet Waldo, best known as Judy Jetson, was considered at one point to voice Alice. She would later voice Alice in Hanna-Barbera's own version of Alice in Wonderland, televised in 1966 on ABC.
  • Peter Pan:
    • Disney had been planning an adaptation of the story in the thirties. Unfortunately, the studio was hurting for money, and Peter and Alice in Wonderland were put on hiatus until after World War II. If you can find the film The Reluctant Dragon, you can spot very early concept art for these and several other films.
    • An alternate opening shows Peter deciding to fly from Never Land to Earth in order to find a potential mother for the Lost Boys. Though in the finished film, having Wendy be their mother was an afterthought of his.
    • It was originally intended that Nana the dog would accompany Peter and the Darlings to Neverland, which she eventually does in a Jake and the Never Land Pirates special.
  • Lady and the Tramp:
    • It wasn't a love story originally; the focus was entirely on Lady and Junior, because the story was based on Joe Grant's (Disney's most prominent writer) cocker spaniel and how she reacted to Grant's wife's pregnancy.
    • Tramp had several names, "Homer", "Rags," and "Bozo", mostly because of this.
    • On top of this, an extra was meant to be in a Love Triangle with Lady and the Tramp, the rat was going to be less threatening and more comedic and speak in a gangster-type voice, Lady's only neighbor was a dog named Hubert, Aunt Sarah was supposed to be a stereotypical overbearing mother-in-law, Jim Dear and Darling were named Jim and Elizabeth Brown. And finally, Si and Am were called Nip and Tuck.
    • The dog pound was to be an example of Fantastic Racism, where dogs with collars and dogs without collars were separated, and the dogs without collars more likely doomed to execution.
    • It was originally considered that when Jock and Trusty went to stop the dog catcher's wagon from reaching the pound, the wagon would crush and kill Trusty. Walt thought it was no different than Bambi losing his mother, but Peggy Lee insisted that it would be too dark. Walt capitulated, and in the final film, while it looks as though Trusty is indeed killed as intended, he shows up at the finale alive, but with a broken leg.
  • The Jungle Book:
    • The original draft for the film was a bit closer to the book, and really grim.
    • The vultures were direct caricatures of The Beatles. Where they now merely have Liverpool accents and a few of them have Moptop -er- feathercuts, they were once supposed to be voiced by the Fab Four. Their song "We're Your Friends" was to be a Beatles-style '60s rock song. The Fab Four's schedule didn't help this plan. But more interestingly, Walt Disney assumed the song would become hopelessly dated. So if you, as a kid, always wondered why a bunch of birds who sound like the Beatles suddenly break into a barbershop quartet song of all things, there's your answer. Walt thought barbershop would age better. Another reason it was never meant to be was the fact John Lennon absolutely refused to work with the Disney corporation.
    • The vulture group originally had the company of a short-sighted rhino named Rocky, who was to be voiced by Frank Fontaine.
  • The Aristocats:
    • There were plans for an "The Aristocats II," which was supposed to be a direct-to-video sequel. While the first film had the kittens’ nemesis as a misguided butler intent on stealing their fortune, the sequel created a similar dynamic by pitting them against a jewel thief on the open seas aboard a luxury cruise ship. There was also a young kitty love interest for Marie who became the focal character of the film. The ship would travel to places like France, Scotland, England, Spain, etc, thus creating a creating a new atmosphere of different places in the early 1900s. It was scheduled to be released in 2007, but the production was canceled in early 2006 after Disney acquired Pixar. The closest would have to be the Japan-only manga Miriya & Marie, which starred Marie and a new character exclusive to that manga, much like the anime series Stitch!.
    • There were also plans for an "Aristocats: The Animated Series" way back in 2003. Marie and her brothers Berlioz, and Toulouse would be turned into teenagers, and Marie (who was supposed to be the main character of this new "Aristocats" show) would've been given someone new to bounce off of. They invented a teenaged cat similar to O'Malley the alley cat, called Delancey, who could dance like a combination of Justin Timberlake and Usher. And then to round out the cast, "The Street Cats" were created. The basic idea here was to reinvent "The Aristocats" so that this franchise would then appeal to your typical Disney Channel/Toon Disney watcher. But when Disney bought Pixar in 2006, it was cancelled along with the "Aristocats II" film.
    • There was a deleted character named Elvira who was Madame Bonfamille's maid. She would have formed a Big Bad Duumvirate with Edgar after singing a Villain Love Song with him called "Court Me Slowly."
    • When Walt worked on the film, Duchess and her kittens were more snobby. The "Aristocats" in the title was ironic. Through Character Development they would have to learn to stop being so mean.
    • Scat Cat's original name was "Satchmo Cat" and was intended for Louis Armstrong. When Armstrong's illness made this impossible, he was recast. The song written for Armstrong, "Le Jazz Hot", was replaced with "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat".
  • Robin Hood:
    • There was storyboard material that showed the Sheriff of Nottingham at the wedding in the ending, implying that he had reformed or was at least pardoned for his actions. This was cut and his fate had him working on the rock pile along with Prince John and Sir Hiss. (It in fact would have made more sense for Sir Hiss to perform the Heel–Face Turn, since he objects to the plot to draw Robin out by hanging Friar Tuck and is the only one of John's minions who truly fears him.)
    • The original ending also had Prince John stab Robin Hood and chase him and Maid Marian into a church. Both are saved by a timely arrival from King Richard.
    • Friar Tuck was going to be a pig, but this was considered too offensive and so was changed to a badger. Likewise, the Sheriff was going to be a naggy goat, but was changed to a more intimidating wolf.note 
  • The Rescuers went through a lot of iterations before hitting the screen. At first, the mice were to rescue a political prisoner, which, believe it of not, is in-line with the original books. Then they were to rescue a bear from the zoo, or a depressed poet. The bear idea was scrapped due to Author Existence Failure. Before it was completely retooled into the film we know today, Cruella DeVil was going to be the villain. Note how similar Madame Medusa is to Cruella at her -er- cruelest.
  • Originally, the character of Chief in The Fox and the Hound was going to die after being hit by a train, making Copper's revenge against Tod more extreme and justifiable. Disney decided to let the character live (albeit, like Trusty, with a broken leg) because they thought the original script was too dark, and he was a good character besides.
  • The Black Cauldron was originally much grimmer and graphically violent. Most of the scenes—including a man being sliced in two in silhouette and the Horned King decapitating one of his henchmen—haven't been seen outside of rumor, but the infamous "man being dissolved by the undead" scene has managed to make it to YouTube in some form.
  • Originally, Oliver & Company was going to be about Penny from The Rescuers after she had been happily adopted and going on another adventure. However; this was changed but you can still see some remnants, such as how the girl in the movie is named "Jenny".
  • The Little Mermaid:
    • While it does not appear in the film itself, the fanon jury is still out on whether the detail about Ursula being Triton's sister is What Could Have Been or canon. It was dropped from the animated movie but included in the Broadway musical and implied in the Disney Villains files. On the other hand, the TV Series (which was stated to be canon by the creators) never once mentioned Ursula's relationship with Triton, and Return to the Sea heavily implies that Ursula is not related to King Triton at all. Hans Christian Andersen never had this problem.
    • The second movie was originally supposed to have a song "Gotta Get My Wish" that elaborated a bit more on Morgana's past, but it was deleted. The scene was restored in the bonus features of the special edition DVD, however.
    • Disney came very, very close to making a movie based on "The Little Mermaid" almost thirty years earlier! The project was eventually abandoned (they couldn't figure out how to deal with the Bittersweet Ending), but you can still see the surviving production art on the "Little Mermaid" DVD.
    • Ariel was originally supposed to be blond-haired, but it was eventually changed to red after producer Katzenberg stated that coloring her hair would turn her into a "Splash" ripoff.
    • In a case of "what could have not-been", Ariel's song "Part of Your World" was originally going to be sent to the cutting room floor due to Katzenberg thinking that test audiences were bored with it, even citing as petty a reason as a kid dropping his popcorn and focusing more on cleaning it up. Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Glen Keane were all appalled and furious, so they fought to keep it in and won. "Silence is Golden", a song originally sung by Ursula, was not quite as lucky.
    • Divine was originally cast to play Ursula, but passed away before he could begin recording. He was replaced with Elaine Stritch, who was fired due to constant clashing with the crew and replaced with Pat Carroll. Bea Arthur was offered the role, but turned it down due to being busy filming The Golden Girls.
    • Most of the entire ending of the film was also intended to be much different. For one thing, it originally has Prince Eric willingly attempting to marry Vanessa (like in the original story) and then began having second thoughts in the actual wedding instead of ending up Brainwashed in the final version. Also, the shark that attacks Ariel and Flounder earlier in the film was originally supposed to make a reappearance where he attempts to get his revenge on Ariel and Flounder for humiliating him earlier with the anchor, only to be blown to bits when Ariel manages to reach the ship due to the barrel that she was using being revealed to have been a gunpowder barrel. The actual humiliation of Vanessa was originally supposed to occur at the last possible second; Scuttle attempts to use his knowledge of a reflection exposing Vanessa's true identity to his advantage (specifically by hauling a mirror towards her), but she manages to wreck it. Her real identity was exposed anyway due to water reflecting her. Ariel also wasn't supposed to get her voice back until after Ursula was killed. The manner of Ursula's death was also different, with her being impaled with the Trident by Eric shortly before he lost consciousness (which is more-or-less what actually happened when the story was revisited in Kingdom Hearts II). Also, Ursula's Berserk Button pertained more to Eric hurling the harpoon towards her and actually hitting her. Although she still killed Flotsam and Jetsam by accident, she has absolutely no horror or remorse in doing so. Chef Louis and Sebastian apparently also become friends during the wedding instead of keeping their rivalry in the final version, and overall the ending was a LOT more bittersweet than in the final version.
    • During the production of Ariel's Beginning: there was leaked storyboard material where Ariel and Sebastian were discussing/debating about Eric's recent behavior, and Eric walks in and says "is someone feeling really crabby?", and then Ariel glares at him. This was either cut or intended for another film.
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • The 2001 DVD includes an early presentation reel of concept art that confirms the original storyline was going to stick closer to the fairy tale, with characters like Belle's two sisters still in it, and would have been a straight drama. It ran into the same problems the initial effort to adapt the story in Walt's day did — the second act (Belle in the castle) was dramatically inert. Making it a musical and adding characters like the Enchanted Objects did a lot to rectify this.
    • "Be Our Guest" was supposed to be sung to Maurice, but it was seen as too good to use on a minor character so early in the film. There exists some unfinished animation of Belle's father from this original treatment.
    • A music box was originally a prominent supporting character — it could soothe the Beast with its music (heh) and was the item that stowed away with Belle when she was freed. But when the filmmakers were impressed by the voice of the child hired for the then-one line role of Chip, they promptly began expanding his role, and the music box became superfluous. (You can see it among the Objects when the mob bursts into the castle, however.) The 2010 DVD release includes a storyboard reel revealing a whole set of library-specific Objects: Oxford the book stand, Cambridge the globe, a bust who spoke in famous quotations and was attracted to Belle (!?), and a pair of binoculars who talked up Little Known Facts about space. Oxford eventually made an appearance in Belle's Magical World.
    • Early character designs and the 1989 story reel on the 2010 DVD release reveals Gaston was originally conceived as a foppish, foolish aristocrat, before animators decided an aggressively macho hunter would make a more effective antagonist. The story reel also reveals that at that point Maurice was a ruined businessman as in the original fairy tale, his Wicked Stepmother-esque sister was the primary antagonist intent on marrying off Belle to Gaston, Belle had two sidekicks in a little sister and a pet cat, Maurice's horse (then named Orson) arrived at the castle with him, and the Enchanted Objects did not speak.
    • The manner of Gaston's death also underwent several revisions: In one of the earliest drafts, Gaston was to have survived his fall, with a broken leg, and encounter the wolves from before, where it was implied that they finished him off. Another revision is a bit closer to the final film, although instead Gaston laughs all the way down (similar to the Joker in The Dark Knight), implying that his method of backstabbing the Beast was closer to Taking You with Me. The aforementioned wolf death concept was eventually reused with Scar's death in The Lion King.
    • Before all this, Don Bluth planned a "Beauty and the Beast" adaptation in 1984. His version would have involved (among other... embellishments) a clairvoyant dog, a detective bird, and a lizard escape artist. (See the "Other Western Animation" section for more Don Bluth couldabeens.)
    • At the end of the movie Belle was supposed to ask the now human Beast if he could grow a beard. This was eventually added into the live action remake twenty years later.
    • The midquel The Enchanted Christmas was originally meant to be a flat-up sequel, with Gaston's brother Avenant (a Shout-Out to the 1946 film of the fairy tale) as the antagonist intent on avenging Gaston's death and ruining the lovers' lives. It was changed to a midquel and Avenant's role was given to the pipe organ when the filmmakers thought the audience would be more interested in the Beast than the Prince.
  • Aladdin:
    • The 2004 DVD mentions various previous ideas, including Aladdin's mother and gang of friendsnote  being prominent characters, Iago being a calm British-like sidekick to a wacky Jafar, and the protagonist's design inspiration being changed from Michael J. Fox to Top Gun-era Tom Cruise. Additionally, most of the dropped characters were each going to have their own musical number, including a Tear Jerker for Aladdin's mom, and Jafar's Villain Song went through about five different iterations before finally arriving onscreen as a Dark Reprise of "Prince Ali".
    • In the Cave of Wonders, there was supposed to have been an extended version of the lamp grabbing scene. In it, Aladdin would have approached the lamp and, before he would grab it, would look up and see images of others, including the poor sap in the beginning, who attempted to take the lamp and were killed. As it turned out, the lamp Aladdin was going for was a fake and, by stepping away from it granted him access to the real one.
    • Originally, Aladdin was supposed to use his second wish in order to get through a Death Course designed to test Jasmine's suitors. The production team eagerly approached the idea of scripting and animating a fabulously elaborate action sequence but couldn't get the idea to work in practice, and ended up going for the much simpler solution of Aladdin being jumped by Mooks and then having to use the second wish to save his life. However, a concept similar to the deleted second wish was later used in the Broadway adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
    • Aladdin was originally fully aware that Jasmine was the princess when he first met her. It was changed because the production team believed that it implied Aladdin fell in love with her because of her money and power, not because he genuinely cared about her.
    • Jasmine was going to be a spoiled brat who wanted to marry the richest of all the princes—only becoming a sweet girl who learns humility after falling in love with Aladdin. An "I Am" Song was even written for the spoiled version of Jasmine, titled "Call Me a Princess". The production team dropped this personality because they didn't think audiences would like her very much.
    • When Jafar wished to rule Agrabah, the original idea was for some timey-stuff to happen, so everything was as if he'd always been the sultan, everyone's memories had been altered, and Aladdin, Abu, and the Carpet were only unchanged because Carpet wrapped around them and protected them from the magic wave. That was deemed way too confusing, and was scrapped as well (although the Animated Series did delve into a similar concept in one episode involving Jasmine and Sadira).
    • In the earliest scripts, much like the original story, there were two genies, one occupying the lamp, and one a ring, and Genie himself could grant an infinite number of wishes.
    • Jasmine was originally supposed to be a little bit more active. At one point, she was supposed to confront the Sultan and angrily declare "We have to talk.", but the animators nixed it because that would mean designing an entirely new room for that talk and were forced to fall back on showing Jasmine crying instead (which made them cringe). As well, when Jasmine was trapped in the hourglass, she was supposed to use the jewel in her headpiece to cut herself free, but this was changed to a last-minute rescue by Aladdin.
    • Jasmine's original reason for fleeing the palace was because she had figured her father was Not Himself, and was seeking help. Instead it became I Just Want to Be Free.
    • At one point during production of the movie there was supposed to be a scene where Jafar was to quiz the Genie on the animals during the Prince Ali scene, finding out that the Genie had turned Abu into an elephant. The final version of the movie doesn't have him find out until right before he sends Aladdin, Abu & the Carpet to the arctic.
    • The third movie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, was originally going to be somewhat closer to the series and possibly involve Mozenrath, but they 1. couldn't get his voice actor and 2. decided to retool the plot so it didn't have anything to do with the series. However, some characters from the series do show up at Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding, including Sadira (which is hilarious if you've seen the series and know what Sadira did there), Prince Uncouthma, and King Mahmood and his Wazir.
    • Sometime in the late 80's, Disney offered Bill Plympton a contract, but he turned them down. Later he learned that they wanted him to animate the Genie. THAT would have been something to see.
    • There were plans in 1994 for a sequel movie involving pirates that got as far as having music commissioned.
  • Pocahontas:
    • Originally, the animal characters were going to talk, with John Candy slated to voice a turkey named Redfeather. The character was scrapped after Candy's death and it was later decided that the animals shouldn't talk in order to make the film more "serious" — it was originally a light adventure fantasy with a preteen heroine and teen John Smith, but execs wanted more serious Oscar Bait after Beauty and the Beast was nominated for best picture — a first for an animated feature. Also, the character of Wiggins was originally conceived to be much more snobby, but then he ended up looking perky in a piece of concept art and the rest is history.
    • As seen in the behind-the-scenes section of the July 1995 issue of Disney Adventures promoting this movie, there's a title card from pre-production featuring the eponymous heroine who has a different design and looks much like the Tiger Lily from Peter Pan. In fact, it could very well be her but going by a different name to take on the Pocahontas role. Her eyes are closed, head tilted back, arms crossed and she's surrounded by a few forest animals. This gives the impression that using an established, past Disney character for the lead in this may have been considered early on at one point had the results turned out differently.
    • Originally David Ogden Stiers only voiced Wiggins, with Ratcliffe being voiced by someone else. Norman Lovett, Patrick Stewart and Brian Blessed auditioned for the part.
    • The scene of Pocahontas visiting John Smith after he was captured originally was a song sequence "If I Never Knew You". It was ultimately cut, because Disney noticed that younger audience got bored during this sequence, although the older, teen audience seemed more emotionally attached. The song is added in as an extra in the 2005 10th Anniversary Edition DVD.
  • Hercules:
    • They chose Hades as its villain early on, but originally he was going to be a dark, brooding figure who talked slowly and menacingly. James Woods, however, kept joking a mile per minute during recording, resulting in the "Hollywood agent/car salesman type" that Hades became. Many, perhaps even most, of his lines were ad libbed.
    • Megara had a ballad named "I Can't Believe My Heart", instead of "I Won't Say I'm In Love". It was scrapped because they didn't think it was the type of song Meg would sing.
    • There was a canned sequel called Hercules 2: The Trojan War.
  • Mulan:
    • The film evolved from a short movie called "China Doll", the story of an oppressed girl in China that is whisked away at the end of the story by a British prince to the happiness of the west. Then Robert D. San Souci, Disney consultant and children's book author, suggested making a movie based on the Chinese poem "The Song of Fa Mulan", and Disney decided to combine both projects.
    • The character of Mulan was originally going to be engaged to a man of high status, which would be one of the reasons why she left for the war. This motive was later rejected.
    • In 2004 an animated series named Mulan and the Treasure of Qin was pitched but nothing came out of it.
  • The Emperor's New Groove originally started off as Kingdom of/in the Sun (sources disagree about the title), a musical animation with a serious tone similar to The Prince of Egypt. Kingdom of/in the Sun would have involved Kuzco and Pacha switching places in a Prince and Pauper scheme, Kuzco falling in love with a llama-herding girl, Yzma being a menacing Vain Sorceress with a kickass Villain Song (linked above), and Pacha killing Yzma by lassoing the sun (?!) and striking her with it. The two directors had different ideas; one preferred comedy, the other drama. After one left, it eventually became a screwball comedy with little music. Sting was none too pleased about this last change...

    Which leads us to his muckraking documentary The Sweatbox, which chronicles the whole spectacular debacle of the film's complete thematic transformation. It's mentioned here because Disney owns the rights to the documentary, meaning we may never see the included original "Kingdom" artwork and music. A very small clip of the doc can be viewed here. One song from the original film was kept on the soundtrack, namely, Eartha Kitt's delightfully dark Villain Song "Snuff Out the Light". Listen to it here. Also, sketches and other conceptual artwork from the early days of Kingdom/Emporer (and American Dog/Bolt, see below) have been posted at this Paul Felix fansite. They give a better idea of what could have been.
  • Lilo & Stitch:
    • The ending scene was originally going to be much different: Just right after Gantu kidnaps Lilo, Nani, Jumba, Pleakley, and Stitch were all going to steal a passenger jet at an airport, and using it to chase Gantu's ship into the city of Honolulu, demolishing many skyscrapers in the process. Unfortunately, because of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the entire scene had to be completely reanimated, with the passenger jet being replaced by a large spaceship, and the skyscrapers being replaced by mountains. The rest of the ending was going to merge with the final version shortly afterwards (with Stitch climbing onto Gantu's ship to smash open the glass cage Lilo is trapped in, only to have Gantu shake him off, sending Stitch falling to the ground, where he then steals a fuel truck and drives it into a volcano, causing it to explode and sending Stitch flying back into the air, where he finally succeeds in defeating Gantu and freeing Lilo), except that they still use an airplane instead of a spaceship.
    • An earlier scene showing Stitch fighting Jumba and subsequently setting Lilo's house on fire was originally going to be much more violent. Jumba was originally going to make the roof collapse using his own blaster instead of dishes, a different song other than "Hound Dog" was going to play in the background, there was no exploding Scrump strapped to a roller skate, Jumba's shuriken was going to be made of knives instead of toothpaste, Stitch wasn't going to say "Blue punch buggy!" when he hits Jumba with a VW Beetle, the scene where Stitch activates a chainsaw was going to be much longer, and the house was going to catch fire by having Jumba accidentally shoot a leaking gas pipe broken by Stitch rather than playing Hot Potato with an overloading blaster with a carrot lodged in its barrel. Again, that scene had to be reanimated because of September 11th.
    • There was also going to be a scene where Stitch kills Pudge the fish, but the scene was cut for unstated reasons.
    • Another scene featured Lilo pulling pranks on racist tourists. It is assumed, like the previous scene, to have been cut very late in development, as they had fully voiced and animated animatics.
  • Treasure Planet:
    • Alan Silvestri was attached to score the film but pulled out to do Lilo & Stitch instead.
    • There's a line cut from the ending that would have revealed it was Doppler who gave birth to the babies.
    • In the theatrical release, there was a scene where after being injured, Captain Amelia looks at her hand which is covered in blood. It showed that her injury is indeed very serious, but was cut for home release because it was deemed too graphic.
    • There was going to be a sequel that would pick up where the first movie left off. More information here
  • Brother Bear:
    • The movie was going to have an older adult bear named Grizz be a friend and mentor to Kenai instead of Koda...and Grizz was even voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan. But that got scrapped, and Duncan DID get to voice a character in the movie: minor character Tug.
    • There was also the Cut Song "The Fishing Song". However, the song "Welcome" seemed to fit the mood much better, and the Fishing Song is now seen on YouTube and on the DVD.
  • Home on the Range was originally named Sweating Bullets. An early plot was about a calf named Bullets who saved his herd from a gang of ghost cattle rustlers called The Willies.
  • Chicken Little:
    • Chicken Little was originally a girl however was changed into a boy to appeal to boys more.
    • There was a sequel titled Chicken Little 2: The Ugly Duckling Story planned at one time.
  • Meet the Robinsons:
    • It was in production when John Lasseter took over for Disney; reportedly, he spent six hours meeting with the director after seeing it. Based on his advice, 60% of the movie wound up getting recut. In particular, Lasseter thought the villain was not very threatening, which led to the creation of Doris, his Hypercompetent Sidekick who winds up being the real Big Bad. The T-Rex battle was also a later addition, as was apparently at least some of the poignant ending. Lasseter was happy the new version would make people cry. He did work for Pixar, after all.
    • There was a sequel in development called Meet The Robinsons 2: The First Date.
  • Bolt:
    • American Dog was a shelved idea that evolved into Bolt. American Dog would have followed Henry, a famous TV canine who stars in James Bond-like adventures, and finds himself stranded in the Nevada desert with a one-eyed, eyepatch-wearing cat and an oversized, radioactive rabbit, who he cons into driving him back to Hollywood. Director Chris Sanders would have also had Henry suffering from delusions over the course of the film. The trio would search for a new home, all the while still believing that they're on television. When John Lasseter came on board as the head of Pixar, Sanders created two early cuts of the film, but Lasseter (according to rumors) said that the film was "too quirky for its own good", and ended up firing Sanders after he couldn't rework the film, leading to DreamWorks Animation stepping in and hiring Sanders. In fact, Disney took great measures to white-wash any memory of the original project once Sanders left; there's a very brief mention at the start of The Art of Bolt book and no mention anywhere on the DVD extras. The only remnant of the original script lies in the sequence where Bolt, Mittens and Rhino stop in an abandoned junkyard in Nevada, and debate whether they should finally settle down or not. Some believe that American Dog was axed because it was a victim of True Art Is Incomprehensible, due to Chris Sanders suffering from Small Name, Big Ego; this assertion is supported by the few who have seen the early cuts of American Dog.
    • Originally Chloe Moretz was meant to voice Penny. She recorded most of her lines before being ditched in favour of Miley Cyrus. Whatever you think of Cyrus' Penny, she sure was a deep-voiced ten year-old.
    • Penny had black hair in early designs.
  • The Princess and the Frog:
    • Disney had dabbled with adaptations of The Frog Prince years prior to developing this film.
    • Originally it starred a heroine named Madeline (better known as "Maddie") who, in a Cinderella-like plot, was the chambermaid to a spoiled rich girl. This was changed when a number of people complained that Maddie sounded too much like "Mammie" and was thus racist. The girl who "Maddie" worked for became the Spoiled Sweet Charlotte, and Tiana became a hard-working waitress.
    • Naveen would have originally been an English prince, but that was deemed "too cliché". There were differing issues on whether he should be white or black but eventually they went with Ambiguously Brown.
    • Tiana had noticeably frizzy hair in concept art however in the final film her hair is almost always tied up and is only vaguely curly.
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • The film has a whole lot of cameos in the movie, but a few didn't make it in:
      • Plans were there to include Mario and Luigi along with Bowser, but according to the director and screenwriter, they couldn't figure out a proper cameo for them. (It wasn't because Nintendo set their price too high, as is often reported.) The closet thing Mario has to a cameo is Felix hearing a doorbell ring and saying, "Oh, I bet that's Mario! Fashionably late, per the norm."
      • In the Bad Anon scene, Dr. Wily was meant to be part of the group, but for some reason, Capcom changed their mind and they replaced Wily with M. Bison. This only fueled further rumors of Capcom's hostility towards the Mega Man franchise, especially in the wake of the cancellation of Legends 3.
      • While he did make it in, Dig Dug was actually meant to have a bigger role—the same role that went to Q*bert in the end. Namco took offense at Dig Dug characters being left out in the cold, especially since they've had plenty of prominence with the likes of Mr. Driller. Bart Simpson, a Jurassic Park velociraptor and a Xenomorph were also meant to be among the homeless characters.
    • Originally, Felix and Ralph were going to be two video game sidekicks who travelled through games together, hoping to become true heroes. However, Ralph's interactions with Vanellope caused them to change their mind.
    • There would've been a fourth video game world after Hero's Duty and Sugar Rush called Extreme EZ Livin' 2 that would have been a mixture of Grand Theft Auto and The Sims.
    • Vanellope was originally planned to have gray or greenish skin to emphasize that she was a glitch, but it was felt that it made her look too sickly and zombie-like. The "No Glitches" warning sign at the Kart Factory reflects this look. Other concept art shows that she could have been a blonde, or a redhead at different points.
    • A few of the Sugar Rush racers had technicolor skin colors at some point in development: Swizzle was to be blue, Minty and Candlehead were to be green, Snowanna was purple, and Adorabeezle had light blue skin.
    • Some possible early concept designs for Taffyta Muttonfudge had her as an Evil Redhead or with brown hair, while most of the other drafts stuck with the platinum blonde idea.
    • The Sugar Rush racers were to have parents and houses seen in their world, with a town called "Candy Hollow" (which was to also be the title of the game before it was changed to Sugar Rush).
    • The name "Minty Zaki" was originally given to a mint ice cream-themed racer who'd wind up being called "Candlehead" in the final film. A sour apple-themed racer named "Emmareld" wound up as "Minty Zaki" in the final product. Other production name changes included:
      • "Peterbelly Buttercap" -> "Rancis Fluggerbutter"
      • "Adorabella Winterpop" -> "Adorabeezle Winterpop"
      • "Crumbelina Drizzlecap" -> "Crumbelina Di Caramello"
      • "Rumple" -> "Gloyd Orangeboar"
      • "Merfus" -> "Swizzle Malarkey"
    • Early concept art had Ralph as a hairy red beast or a sort of ape-like creature and other in-human designs (even machines like a bulldozer), rather than the human design they settled on in the end.
    • King Candy and Turbo were separate characters at one point instead of the same person, with King Candy acting as The Dragon to Turbo. King Candy would have also been redeemed at the end of the film.
    • One early developmental name for Ralph was the completely different "Wendell Grubble".
    • King Candy/ Turbo was supposed to have a Villain Song where he explained how things work in Sugar Rush.
  • Zootopia:
    • The first story pitch was a spy film involving a James Bond-esque fox named Jack Savage and a rabbit. The film didn't involve Fantastic Racism at all. Jack lived in a city of Funny Animals between missions, but Zootopia wasn't the focus of the film.
    • Later story development that focused on Nick and the city of Zootopia had a much darker tone, where the historic tension between predators and prey led to all predators being required to wear "tame collars" intended to keep their "animal instincts" in check. Nick originally ran an amusement park named "Wild Times" for predators, where they could temporarily take off their collars (illegally) and be themselves without restrictions. However, when predators started going savage, he was framed for a crime he didn't commit leading to him being pursued by Judy, who was actually a seasoned detective called "Lt. Hopps". note  Plot summaries based on this scrapped storyline can still be spotted on the internet.
  • Moana:
    • Moana was originally referred to as being fourteen however was eventually aged up to sixteen.
    • Moana in the final product is an only child but originally she was the youngest of ten siblings, and the only female one. She had to rescue her older brothers.
    • Like Tangled, the film was originally meant to use the Paperman style to 2D-looking-CGI however that was scrapped for a more traditional CGI style.
    • The original idea was for the film to branch away from the Disney Princess template and focus entirely on Maui, with the story being a loose conglomeration of a few of the legends about him. Then the crew actually traveled to Polynesia and became so fascinated with the culture that Moana was created as the new focus character.
    • In early designs, Maui had a shaven head. However, as the team did research, they gave him a thick mane of hair to represent his mana.
    • Heihei was originally conceived as a much more serious, no-nonsense character that was determined to keep Moana out of trouble and remaining on the island. However, the chicken became unlikable, so they went in a totally different direction. Pua also had a larger role in earlier drafts.
    • Tamatoa was initially conceived of as a headless giant inspired by such a being in folklore.
    • Lalotai was originally planned to be more of a traditional underworld (taking the form of a glowing underwater village amongst the coral) where Moana would meet the spirits of her grandmother and ancestors. The goddess Hina would have also been part of this sequence, though depicted as Maui's overbearing grandmother.
    • Several Cut Songs exist, such as "Unstoppable", "More", and the Dark Reprise "More (reprise)".
    • The scrapped song "Unstoppable" shows that Te Ka's original name was "Te Po".
  • Gigantic:
    • The film was originally named Giants.
    • When the first plot details were announced they were nothing like the current plot about a man and a giant little girl. Several scrapped characters were mentioned:
    (...) For one thing, they both have a hero called Jack, and Giants named for the Fee Fi Fo Fum rhymes. In this story, these names are abbreviations of Feebus, Fifen, Fogel and Fobert, a family of giants at the heart of the tale. There’s another brother too, Faustus, their leader. Like all good villains, he’s got a relatable point of view, he’s just not quite joining the dots correctly. Also like Singer’s film, we see the introduction of a love interest from a class above Jack. In this case, Angelina isn't royalty, but just from a merchant family, though her parents do see him as being “below” her. The real money is manifest in Marco, born to nobility and the third corner of a love triangle with Jack and Angelina. He’s a good guy, though, and the only reason he and Jack can’t be fast friends from the off is that they're both drawn to Angelina. And, yes, he’s called Marco because, like Polo, he wants to travel – and to open up trade routes.
    • Inma was originally a tomboyish human instead of a giant. She was a secondary character instead of a protagonist.
    The fourth human lead is Inma, a scrappy tomboy type – and something of a class warrior, I understand. She’s the one I'm rooting for in this story, the tireless fighter against injustice, taken less seriously because she happens to be a pre-teen girl.

    Pixar Films 
Inside Out has its own page.
  • The Toy Story series:
    • Toy Story:
      • The first film started out as a half-hour Christmas special based on the Tin Toy short. Furthermore, Buzz and Woody's roles were originally filled by Tinny from Tin Toy and a ventriloquist dummy. These characters were deemed "too creepy."
      • One of the scripts considered for Tinny's adventure has been posted here.
      • Katzenberg and Michael Eisner originally pushed for a more adult, cynical feel, resulting in Woody and the rest of the toys being much bigger jerkasses. For example, Woody deliberately pushes Buzz out the window, instead of accidentally in the final product, and acts aggressive and bossy towards the others when they get mad at him, including ordering the abused Slinky to attack them. The toys respond by throwing Woody out of the window. Luckily, this was scrapped once a rough cut was shown, which was so awful that execs shut down production. Disney wanted to shut it down entirely however Pixar, not wanting to see what could be the film that makes or breaks the company die, overhauled the script and presented it to them before being completely shutdown. The rest is history and the shutdown was averted (Katzenberg's job didn't survive to the premiere, though). The original scene was apparently animated but it's considered such Old Shame that the makers only let the storyboard version be released.
      • Buzz's original name was Lunar Larry and he had a red suit. He was also a naive, easygoing toy who just wanted to impress his new owner, and significantly smaller than Buzz. Woody resembled a smooth-talking ventriloquist dummy, who cheerfully tricked the gullible Buzz into getting stuck behind a drawer so that Andy couldn't find him.
      • Woody's love interest was meant to be a Sarah Connor-like Barbie in a Pimped-Out Dress and pink convertible who rescued Woody and Buzz from Sid's. (She would have shown up at the front door saying "Come with me if you want to live", and Woody would have responded by wishing he was anatomically correct.) Due to rights issues, Barbie wouldn't get represented until the sequel.
    • Toy Story 2:
      • Disney initially wanted the sequel to Toy Story to be Direct-to-Video, in lieu with other Disney films during the period. Pixar was hesitant on doing so, and after crafting an impressive story reel for Disney executives, they were able to convince Disney to upgrade to a full-fledged theatrical film.
      • Barely averted with the entire film. Halfway through production, an employee who was checking through and cleaning the servers accidentally deleted all of the animation files, which would have meant two years of work completely lost and having to restart the entire film from scratch. However, a technical director for the film happened to have a backup of all the files at home. Had she not made that backup, the film would have never been made at all.
      • Other!Buzz's final scene originally had him carrying Zurg's supposedly dead body, lamenting to the others that he now had to go bury his father, but it was quickly decided that this was too grim. It was too late to remove it in the tie-in novelization, though.
      • According to the DVD commentary, the creators originally considered making Bullseye talk, but then decided to make him more "like a big puppy dog", and thus gave him no voice.
    • Toy Story 3:
      • The film (as envisioned by Eisner's ill-fated animation studio, Circle 7, in 2004) originally featured Buzz Lightyear being sent back to Taiwan for maintenance. Woody and the gang, upon learning that this is actually part of a worldwide recall, travel to Taiwan to save Buzz from being destroyed. This version was to be produced when Disney and Pixar nearly split from each other due to Pixar's bosses now having a strong disdain for Eisner. Disney's purchase of Pixar in 2006 after Eisner was asked to follow his old friend Katzenberg out the door changed all of this and gave us the film we have today, in addition to ending Circle 7 before it could even began.
      • Early on, Pixar thought they could save money by using the same character models in Toy Story 2 for 3. Unfortunately, the files were not up to date for use with current operating systems, making them inoperable for modifications. This caused Pixar to have to recreate the characters from scratch.
      • Here are the thoughts of the original scriptwriters, as well as some concept art, and here is more info from Lee Unkrich.
      • Then there's this 2004 draft, which featured the toys being sent to Andy's grandma's house and meeting a group of strange new toys (including a garden gnome and a pair of sock puppets). While some of the story beats are similar to the final product, the 2004 script displays NONE of the scope or emotion of the finished film.
      • In early treatments of the final script, Lotso was almost a Care Bear, the toys revisited Al's Toy Barn (which was now under new management and called Hal's), and there was an entirely different opening that would have revealed Molly had inherited Andy's toys.
  • A Bug's Life was originally simply called "Bugs", and the original plot featured some major differences to the final version. Flik would have been a red ant named Red, who was also the ringleader of the flea circus. It would have been his idea to pretend to be warriors. There also would have been Ladybug acrobats instead of pillbugs, and the team of insects would have used their circus show (instead of a bird in the final version) to defeat the Grasshoppers. There were also early rumors that it would be a musical (this was back when Disney felt Toy Story was a huge risk just because it didn't include characters singing).
  • Monsters, Inc.:
    • There's the original pitch, which was a 30-year-old man being haunted by monsters that represent different fears from his childhood. The concern was that kids couldn't relate to a 30-year-old protagonist and that the ending was too bittersweet, which is rather hilarious given Pixar's later movies.
    • The film was going to be about just Sully, whose character design was a bit different (he had octopus legs for one thing). The plot would have him having to hide a child that was older than Boo in the film. The child's costume was composed of a bathroom rug and a pair of fake eyestalks on her head, and Randall had a different name. Look for it on the DVD.
    • Actors considered for Randall included Chris Barrie, Jeff Goldblum, and Vincent D'Onofrio. He would have also been a less antagonistic character as, in one draft of the script, Randall was going to have a Heel–Face Turn when things hit the fan, leaving Waternoose as the TRUE Big Bad.
    • Leonard Nimoy was also in negotiations to play Waternoose, before he dropped out and was replaced by James Coburn.
    • This could be hinted by the fact that, on the "top scarer" list for their floor, it's assumed that all the scarer's last names are on the list, except Randall Boggs appears as "Randall" (which could just as easily have been a last name).
    • There was also going to be a sequel about Sully meeting up with Boo when she was a teenager, but this idea was scrapped because the director/whoever was in charge decided that the ending to the first movie was such a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming that they didn't want to ruin it. It would have had Mike and Sully entering the human world to give a birthday present to Boo, only to find out she had moved. They then get trapped in the human world, with Sully wanting to find Boo and Mike wanting to find a way home, teaming up with Randall in order to do so. Randall would have had a Heel–Face Turn and Waternoose would have died at film's end. These plans were scrapped by James Coburn's untimely death, as well as budgetary problems. The project was forgotten until Pixar reacquired the rights and decided to make a prequel instead.
    • There would have been a subplot involving Mike and Sulley having trouble with their landlord, who would have been voiced by Yeardley Smith. And would have shouted a lot.
    • And yet another version where scaring was used for entertainment not energy, the scare floor was like a film set, and the main character was a skinny monster named Hob who forms a friendship with a boy named Raymond.
  • The DVD extras on The Incredibles showed that some of the earlier drafts were very different:
    • Originally, the Big Bad was a more traditional Diabolical Mastermind named Xerek. The anti-super litigation would have figured into his evil scheme. Syndrome still appears in this version of the script — he's an old enemy of Bob and Helen's who attacks them in their home at the beginning of the film, then dies. With his one scene, he made a bigger impression on the first readers than Xerek did, thus he was promoted to Big Bad in later scripts. Xerek would later appear in the comic book continuation of the movie.
    • Snug, the man who provided Elastigirl with the airplane she took to Syndrome's island, was originally scripted to fly the plane with her. He would have died when the missiles hit, proving that Syndrome was a Not-So-Harmless Villain. However, this required a few extra scenes of dialogue, so his eventual death would mean something to the audience. There wasn't time for these extra scenes, so aside from a line of dialogue or two, Snug was cut. (Director Brad Bird's reluctance to remove the character resulted in one bit that made it into the final version: the lingering shot of Elastigirl watching as the cockpit sinks into the ocean. She was originally going to be looking at Snug's hat during this shot. The shot remains as storyboarded, minus the hat.)
    • In the commentary, Brad Bird talks about how in his very first proto-ideas for the film, Mr. Incredible was the only superhero in the world who couldn't fly. This resulted in concept art of various heroes flying to the climactic battle, with Bob driving under them in a station wagon.
    • A deleted scene on the DVD has Helen Parr have a very strange dream in which Bob is clearly flirting and philandering with many young, beautiful women while she is trapped in a washing machine (this would obviously have happened after she began to suspect him of infidelity). Another scene has her confronting Bob over the strand of Mirage's hair that she finds on his suit - he dismisses her accusations by telling her that he decided to get his costume dry-cleaned and the hair was from the white-haired old lady who ran the place. This version would have outright had Helen asking if he was having an affair; in the final cut infidelity is kept as subtext.
  • Cars:
    • Originally, the film was going to be about an electric car living in a gas-guzzling world instead of an arrogant racecar learning very important lessons in life.
    • Deleted scenes for the first movie included on the DVD show some scrapped plot elements from the final plot:
      • Originally, Mack and Lightning did stop at the truck stop they pass by on the way to California. There, Lightning meets his two fans Mia and Tia and the two cars that would become two of the spokescars for Rust-Eeze, who evidently were One-Scene Wonder characters at this point. Lightning is inadvertently left when Mack forgets to make sure Lightning is still in his trailer before leaving.
      • While trying to find Mack, Lightning stumbles upon a junkyard full of broken down cars and gets scared out of his mind. This scene was likely cut for being a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment in the context of the story.
      • Lightning originally voluntarily chose community service instead of racing Doc, only to have an Opinion Changing Nightmare where his engine (and consciousness) is transferred to a steamroller while Mater's is transferred into Lightning's. Mater winds up assuming Lightning's life-style while Steamroller!Lightning is forced to repave all of Route 66. After waking up, Lightning insists on doing the race. In the final film, this Nightmare Sequence isn't used, and the circumstances leading to Lightning racing with Doc are different. Additionally, this scene seems to imply that Lightning was either traveling with another racecar or Mack picked up the wrong racecar at some point in the story-making process. When Mack shows up in the dream, another racecar is seen in Mack's trailer who tells Lightning!Mater "sorry about the mix-up".
      • There was a scene detailing how Ramone and Flo met. (Namely, Flo was originally traveling with a troupe of flappers that stopped in Radiator Springs, but left the group to stay in town after she and Ramone fell in love.) Likely cut for time.
    • Also, the sequel was going to have five races making up the World Grand Prix instead of three, with the fourth and fifth races taking place in Paris and Germany, as well as having the race in Tokyo taking place during the day rather than at night. Those races were both cut because they were largely irrelevant to the plot; the final version of Paris only appeared in the scene where Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holly Shiftwell go there to meet Tomber (a three-wheeled car who knows all about the Lemons, the film's villains), while Germany is only mentioned during the end credits. However, they were both used in the film's tie-in video game. And the villain was originally going to be a different car whose name still starts with a Z.
  • Ratatouille: Gusteau was originally going to be more involved in the story — still living, but too depressed and gloomy from Ego's review. The producers felt the story was complicated enough, so his role was trimmed down.
  • WALL•E:
    • EVE originally first didn't find out the plant survived the exploding escape pod until after going back inside (she was originally just really happy that WALL•E survived, but they changed it to show she was still more concerned about her job than him) and the scene in the airlock dump was originally suppose to have WALL•E and EVE's roles reversed (with EVE being the one AUTO damaged and WALL•E never making it to the deck), and WALL•E fixed EVE right then instead of EVE having to rush back to Earth to repair WALL•E. The original version of these scenes (as well as an explanation as to why) were included as an extra on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases. This is also the plot the adaptation video game uses.
    • Shelby Forthright's voice was originally more of a William Shatner impression than the "Lovable car salesman" voice he had in the final film. His original voice can be seen in the deleted scene "Secret Files" on the DVD and Blu-Ray.
    • According to the DVD features, the humans were originally going to be gel-like life forms with an incomprehensible language of random syllables who would vary between being careless and outright cruel to the robots. Also, AUTO went fairly far into production as a design similar to a blocky, masculine version of EVE instead of his wheel-like design.
    • There were plans for an cartoon spinoff series circa 2008.
  • Up:
    • Muntz was originally going to be dealt with in a very horrific sequence of being tricked into entering Kevin's labyrinth and left to wander around lost until he starves. Pete Docter vetoed it as it made the ending more about Muntz than Carl and Ellie.
    • Carl's original reason for using the balloons was to visit Ellie in heaven.
    • The original opening involved young Ellie and Carl constantly out to punch each other due to a childish rivalry until they fall in love in their teen years. Then, one of Ellie's last acts in her hospital bed is to throw Carl an affectionate punch in the chest. Needless to say, Pete Docter said he got funny looks from test viewers.
    • Other endings were considered, including one where Muntz would redeem himself after talking to Carl; one where he got his foot tangled in the balloons and was pulled up into the air; and one where he ran into the house to grab what he thought was Kevin (actually just another balloon) and was followed by his dogs, their combined weight causing the house to fall.
    • Kevin was originally introduced with Carl and Russell finding her in one of Muntz's traps and freeing her. Then Docter realized it wouldn't make much sense after she'd been dodging his traps for decades.
  • Brave:
    • Much of the film was originally to be set during the winter, with snow being the big technical challenge for the film. But when Brenda Chapman left the project, so did the weather.
    • The first summary released online stated the three Lords actually aided Merida in breaking the spell! That did not happen, to say the least.
    • Another summary implied that the three Lords were direct antagonists to Merida.
    • Mor'du's backstory was supposed to be more prominent in the earlier draft, thereby making the film much darker than it already is. Inevitably, executives made Pixar tone it down.
    • The movie's official artbook confirms that originally, Young MacGuffin is the one Merida ends up with. This was probably cut out of the final product since the filmmakers wanted to focus more on the mother/daughter relationship.
    • The film in general gets this; as revealed in a number of the home release featurettes, although every film Pixar (and any studio for that matter) makes always has sequences that get dropped, Brave specifically has an immense amount of scrapped and altered scenes that just didn't make the final cut, made harsher in that a lot of the sequences were nearly finished.
    • The directors commentary reveals numerous scenes and ways the film could have gone but they decided not to do for various reasons. The main change was that there originally would have had snow for two thirds of the film. They changed this due to the fact they felt it would ruin the Scottish Landscape.
  • Monsters University:
    • According to Dan Scanlon, the movie originally opened with Mike's parents dropping him off at the university on his first day there, and Billy Crystal actually voiced his whole family! It was cut from the film due to Scanlon wanting to remove parental guidance from Mike's college life.
    • Other early drafts included Mike and Sulley in grade school together (to respect the "fourth grade" quote in Monsters Inc.) It reached storyboards process. Then Pete Doctor advised Scanlon to disregard the quote to stick to the focus of the University.
    • Characters of Celia, Fungus and Waternoose (recast as Kelsey Grammer) originally were to make appearances. Grammer's cameo was cut from the film; Waternoose appears only in a photograph.
    • Not surprisingly, the filmmakers tried to make it Sulley's story until they saw the story potential in Mike's struggles. Some concepts they experimented with was that Sulley initially wanted to be a dentist and suffered a case of Disappeared Dad. These scenes would have probably explored Sulley's relationship with the unseen Bill Sullivan.
    • Originally Monsters University was going to be a sequel to Monsters Inc., and was called "Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost in Scaradise," which was created by Circle 7. It would've been about Mike & Sulley dropping by Boo's room to wish her a happy birthday, only to discover that somebody different is sleeping in Boo's room. It seems that Boo and her family have moved since Mike and Sulley last visited her. Sulley is so determined to see Boo again that he and Mike venture out in the human world in order to find her. Once Mike and Sulley cross over into the human world, they then aren't allowed to return to Monstropolis until they actually reunite with Boo. It would also include an older Boo trying to hide Mike and Sulley from other people.
    • Claire Wheeler was originally designed as an Eta Hiss Hiss girl until the animators thought it would be fun to place a goth character on the top of the Greek Life council. Even earlier drafts had her as a bubbly drama student.
    • Sully and Mike were originally redirected to Drama class after their Scare School expulsion. Interestingly, Claire's and Terri's personalities seemed switched around. Also, these scenes would've have offered a glimpse into the history of Scream energy.
    • An alternative opening sequence actually showed how the monsters acquired info about the human world.
    • The Oozmas were originally humiliated at a Movie Night.
    • Hardscrabble was originally supposed to be male and yelled alot until Scanlon decided to feature a great female Scarer that was more sophisticated and intimidating.
    • Old designs of Mike had him wear braces until Scanlon realized he would have to avoid the argument that "Mike would be scarier without braces" so Mike was redesigned with a retainer he could remove.
    • One ending they experimented with was after Mike's and Sulley's expulsion, Waternoose drives up in a limo, hearing about Mike's and Sulley's brief stint in the Human World and offers them jobs. The idea was unsurprisingly rejected as it would negate the whole theme of hard work.
    • Don Carlton originally had fire-breathing abilities and he was learning to control it.
    • Earlier storyboards seem to indicate that Terri enjoyed experimenting with personas, including becoming a goth, much to Terry's annoyance.
  • Finding Dory:
    • The story was reworked after the writers watched the documentary Blackfish. This included changing Destiny from an orca to a whale shark and changing the ending so that the characters don't stay in captivity.
    • Destiny was originally Dory's adopted sister instead of her childhood friend. The film revolved around Dory finding her sister.
    • The "sleep-swimming" scene from the teaser was originally part of the movie and was much longer.
    • Dory's flashbacks were originally one big childhood sequence at the start of the film instead of being spread out.
    • Originally Dory's short term memory ran in her family. It was decided against as it'd be too frustrating if her parents both forgot their conversations too.
    • The Tank Gang only appear in The Stinger but were meant to have a bigger appearance.
    • Bailey was originally Destiny's sister. They had a poor relationship but would reconcile by the end.
    • The giant squid originally had dialogue where he pretended to be Dory's uncle in order to lure her.

    Other Disney Films 
  • Mary Poppins:
    • Disney offered to do an animated adaptation of Mary Poppins, but author P.L. Travers felt no one would take the movie seriously if it was animated.
      • After the film's success, Disney approached Travers for rights to film the other books, but given her absolute hatred of the movie, she unsurprisingly refused.
    • Walt was negotiating to have the rights to film Bedknobs and Broomsticks in case negotiations for the rights to Mary Poppins fell through.
    • The book had a chapter in which Mary Poppins and the children use a magic compass to visit different countries. The Sherman Brothers wrote a wide assortment of songs to use for their journey, but the chapter ultimately went unadapted. The Cut Songs eventually found use in other Sherman Brothers productions, such as The Jungle Book and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
    • Although Julie Andrews was marvellous in her Oscar-winning turn as the magical nanny, you can't help but wonder what might have been if an earlier choice for the role had been the last; Angela Lansbury was seriously considered before Andrews was finally cast.
    • P.L. Travers suggested dropping a few hints that Mr. Banks used to have Mary Poppins as his nanny.
  • And then there's Who Discovered Roger Rabbit. Thankfully, recent rumors suggest that this may no longer be Vapor Ware, but many fans refuse to believe it until they've actually seen the film.
    • More factoids about What Could Have Been in Who Framed Roger Rabbit: in addition to the gang of weasels (literally!) comprising the Toon Patrol, Judge Doom would have had another accomplice, a Toon vulture named Voltaire (har, har). When Judge Doom attempts to dip Roger at the bar, the patrons protest that Roger should at least have a proper trial. The judge agrees, then pulls out a suitcase from which jumps a group of kangaroos that hold out signs reading "Y-O-U A-R-E G-U-I-L-T-Y" (a literal Kangaroo Court, in other words). Lastly, the final battle would have taken place on a zeppelin, and would have included a scene wherein Eddie is handcuffed to an open porthole, with most of his body hanging out thousands of feet above the ground.
      • Also, the original plan was that Valiant would be played by Harrison Ford and Christopher Lee would be cast as Doom. These facts (and the ones above) are just a few mentions, you can read the non-cut version of the script here. It was also proposed that Paul Reubens would do the voice of Roger, as this piece of test footage shows.
      • It was said that Spielberg's dream casting for Judge Doom in Roger Rabbit was Jon Pertwee. Pertwee was known as a very enthusiastic supporter and fan of the art of animation (so much so that he and Spike Milligan would later have serious arguments over who was the bigger fan of Disney's Aladdin), but Steve Martin, a close friend of both, knew that it would put Pertwee in a moral dilemma: Accept a role of essentially a genocidal madman, a role out of variance with Pertwee's actual character, or refuse and turn down a dream of his, to act in a Disney film, particularly one melding live-action and animation. In the end, Spielberg dropped the idea and went on to cast Christopher Lloyd.
    • Also originally it was to have been a gopher Judge Doom dipped instead of a cartoon shoe.
    • Benny was going to originally be a fancy red roadster instead of a yellow taxicab, and was to have not a rough Noo Yawk voice, but rather, in the words of the non-cut script shown above, a deep voice "somewhere between Lord Buckley and Barry White."
    • A scene was scripted but never filmed or animated which would have taken place at Marvin Acme's funeral. Popeye and Bluto would have been among his pallbearers, and Casper the Friendly Ghost would have been a resident of the cemetery. This would have happen after Eddie leaves Roger at the bar and before the 'pig-head' scene.
    • Jessica Rabbit was to originally resemble Kathleen Turner a little more, and her dress would have been less revealing (covering her neck and chest).
    • There were to be seven weasels in the Toon Patrol (supposedly a parody of the Seven Dwarfs). The two that didn't make the cut? A '50s greaser-themed weasel named "Slimy", and a weasel named "Flasher" or "Sleazy" who'd wear nothing but a trenchcoat.
      • Even earlier drafts (as far back as the third linked above) had far more weasels, who were all interchangeable and had no distinct personalities. There would be a fight scene in which Eddie and Jessica would fend a bunch off, while the rest of the weasels would all die of laughter in a later sequence as in the final product (except with no foreshadowing of the laughter being fatal). Voltaire also was to be the one who'd be completely dissolved by the Dip in the climax, but due to the character's removal, the weasel Smart-Ass wound up with the fate instead (while the others died of laughter).
    • Then there's the plan of "Judge Doom killed Bambi's mother", which was scrapped because it would contrast with the 'toons are actors' premise.
    • The ending scene was originally going to have Judge Doom reveal his toon mouth and red hands with long nails.
    • Several characters from other companies were going to appear until the producers never got the rights, such as Tom and Jerry and Little Lulu.
      • There was going to be a sequel (well, actually a prequel) called Toon Patrol, telling Roger's story from birth, including his rise to fame and his experiences in World War II, all bookended by Roger's search to discover his biological parents after learning he was adopted. The film would have ended with Roger being reunited with his mother and his father, who is revealed to be Bugs Bunny. The project was shelved when Steven Spielberg realized that a movie about World War Two featuring a slapstick rabbit would come across as insensitive. They tried again with Who Discovered Roger Rabbit, which focused on Roger's rise in Broadway. They got as far as filming a CGI animation test, but Disney eventually pulled the plug on the whole project when it realized the budget for this would be astronomical.
  • The Brave Little Toaster was originally in production at Disney, with John Lasseter set to direct. Lasseter had planned to use CGI for the characters, which would have been a first for an animated film at the time. Executives halted production because it would have been too expensive to use, as they were only interested in CG for cost-cutting, not artistic expression, as Lasseter had envisioned. Lasseter was fired by Disney ten minutes later, and he was eventually hired by Pixar; Toaster was made independently later. Both eventually returned to Disney, but one wonders how animation history would be like had the film been made as originally envisioned and Lasseter had never been fired.
  • The DVD for The Nightmare Before Christmas included a very strange storyboarded scene in which the identity of Oogie Boogie was revealed to be Dr. Finklestein. His Igor would then appear from underneath the giant roulette wheel and they would both make their escape while everyone (including the audience) looked on dumbfounded.
  • During production of Enchanted, Disney apparently took years to decide upon the circumstances in which a young woman from an animated fantasy realm would enter the live-action world of reality. According to this article, one early draft saw her end up in Chicago instead of Manhattan, and subsequently get mistaken for a stripper. Another featured a spoiled future princess have to learn how to survive by herself in New York City. Yet another had the heroine willingly go to New York in hopes of escaping a potential loveless marriage with a prince.
    • Even after Disney decided upon the circumstances that landed Giselle in live-action New York City in the final film, the script underwent at least one additional change: the deletion of the title song, which would have been sung by Nancy and Edward. Nancy's actress, Idina Menzel, explained in an interview that the writers found it out of character for her to sing.
  • The Disney adaptation of James and the Giant Peach was originally going to feature a soundtrack by Andy Partridge instead of Randy Newman. Partridge left the project after he couldn't reach an "acceptable deal" with Disney. Home-recorded versions of the four songs he'd written for the film appeared on his Fuzzy Warbles series of demo collections.
  • The several Classic Disney Shorts have had their share.
    • According to old storyboards, the gag from The Plowboy where the goat, chicken and pig meld into one weird creature was originally to have been used in Plane Crazy.
      • Speaking of which, Plane Crazy may have been conceived as an Oswald short before being the pilot for Mickey's series.
    • There was a Mickey cartoon titled Plight of the Bumblebee, that was directed by Jack Kinney, that had most of its pencil animation done, but was ultimately scrapped.
  • The Tigger Movie was originally to have been a direct-to-video film, but it was upgraded to theatrical release after Michael Eisner became impressed with The Sherman Brothers' songs for the film. This marks neither the first nor the last of several instances of an animated movie from Disney's library getting upgraded from a direct-to-video release to a theatrical feature.
    • Tigger's original voice actor, Paul Winchell, tried to provide his voice for the film, but the filmmakers thought he couldn't pull it off as well anymore and replaced him. The Disney Imagineers decided to prove them wrong and hired him to provide the voice of Tigger one last time for the Winnie the Pooh ride at Walt Disney World.
  • Toy Story 2, which earned a theatrical run because of how strong its story seemed compared to what Disney's direct-to-video department churned out at the time, provides the most financially and critically successful example.
  • For a more physical kind of "what could have been", the infamously abandoned Treasure Island resort. Several acres of land were unscrupulously acquired, and after a short run, it was subsequently locked up tighter than a drum. Conspiracy Theories abound, ranging from "Lazy staff" and "poor harbour" to "haunted".
  • There are several of these related to release of several animated shorts:
    • Steven Spielberg wanted the Roger Rabbit short Roller-Coaster Rabbit to be shown with Amblin's Arachnophobia, but Michael Eisner wanted it to run instead with Dick Tracy to increase awareness of the film. This dispute became one of the reasons Spielberg cut off plans for future Roger Rabbit shorts.
    • The 1992 traditional/CGI hybrid short Off His Rockers was originally scheduled to be released with a reissue of Pinocchio, but Randal Kleiser insisted it be shown alongside his film Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.
    • After A Kid in King Arthur's Court bombed, Disney wanted to give Runaway Brain another shot and planned to show it again with 101 Dalmatians, but they got cold feet at the last minute and cut it from all prints, and it ended up getting shown before George of the Jungle instead.
    • Pixar's Monsters University short Party Central was to have been shown before The Good Dinosaur, but when the film got delayed by more than a year, it was instead released with Muppets Most Wanted. Before that, it premiered nearly a year before at the D23 Expo.
  • In Muppets Most Wanted, the original version of Constantine's song "I'll Get You What You Want" was originally supposed to be a 50's-esque rock song called "What You Want", "The Big House" was to have a different arrangement, and Something So Right would have had an extra verse. The movie was also supposed to be titled "The Muppets...Again", which is mentioned in the song "We're Doing A Sequel".
  • Sky High was originally conceived as a series of four movies, one for each of Will and his friends' years of high school. It's known that the threat level of the villains would increase with each movie, with the characters saving the school in the first, the city in the second, the world in the third, then the entire universe in the fourth. One of these villains, likely the second, would've been the hinted-at Greater-Scope Villain Baron Battle, father to Will's friend and rival Warren. The sequels would also advance the Romance Arc, with Will and Layla breaking up and Layla getting together with Warren; whether Will would've received a new love interest is unknown. Alas, Disney deemed the original, which made twice its budget, still not a big enough hit to take a chance on three sequels.
  • Maleficent had a fair deal of could-have-beens, with at least three roles dropped from the final cut for time alone. One was Maleficent's genuinely evil father, who encouraged her to become villainous. The other two were her aunt Ulla, the Queen of the Fairies (played by Miranda Richardson), and Ulla's husband King Kinloch (Peter Capaldi).
  • Into the Woods:
    • Jake Gyllenhaal was originally cast as Cinderella's Prince, but chose to drop out to do Nightcrawler instead.
    • YouTube star Sophie Grace Brownlee of Sophie Grace and Rosie was originally cast as Red Riding Hood, but was replaced with Lilla Crawford when it was decided Brownlee was too young.
    • Director Rob Marshall had considered Catherine Zeta-Jones, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman (whom he had previously worked with), Michelle Pfeiffer, Donna Murphy, Idina Menzel, Miranda Richardson (the last four whom have portrayed witches before), and Kate Winslet for the Witch before settling on Meryl Streep.
    • An early draft of the script contains several elements that were altered (or never used) in the final film, such as...
      • The depiction of the Wolf as a sexy, hairy chested man. He also briefly transformed into a real wolf right before he howled during "Hello Little Girl".
      • The fate of the Witch. Rather than being swallowed up by a sinkhole, she is pulled into the ground by the arms of her mother, much like the outdoor productions.
      • The fate of Jack's mother. In the early draft, she is bludgeoned by the Steward as in the stage show, but she manages to get back onto her feet and temporarily help the Baker and his wife find Jack. She eventually succumbs to her head injury, and the Baker comes across her dead body in the woods. This explains how he had found out about her death prior to telling Jack during "No One is Alone".
      • The original finale. In the draft, all of the characters appeared at the end to sing "Children Will Listen", much like the original show. Afterwards, everyone would "disappear" (sans the Baker, Cinderella, Jack, and Little Red), and the rest of the song (a reprise of the title song) would be sung as a voice over. In the final film, the entirety of "Children Will Listen" (after the Baker's Wife's solo) is sung by the Witch and the chorus off screen, and the Into the Woods reprise is played over the end credits.
      • The scene where the Baker cuts open the Wolf and saves Little Red and Granny. The scene was originally portrayed as a "shadow play"; all of the action would be seen as a silhouette over the bed drapes (the scene also contained the full conversation between Granny, Little Red, and the Baker from the show). The final film cuts away before the Baker brings down his knife on the Wolf, and the entire conversation is greatly shortened.
    • Ironically, it wasn't even originally intended to be a Disney movie. The film was once planned in 1994 with a table reading at Penny Marshall's house from the likes of Robin Williams, Goldie Hawn and Cher. Subsequently, it was in development at Columbia Pictures and had Rob Minkoff attached as director and Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan and Susan Sarandon in talks to star.
    • Emma Stone turned down a role.
    • Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp and Neil Patrick Harris were all considered for the Baker.
  • Cinderella (2015):
    • Among the candidates for playing Cinderella in this film were Emma Watson, Gabriella Wilde, Saoirse Ronan, Alicia Vikander, Bella Heathcote and Margot Robbie. Amanda Seyfried was also heavily attatched to the project for years, presumably before the film settled on a British cast.
    • Originally, the sisters were going to mutilate themselves to fit the slipper like in the Grimms version (despite Disney basing Cinderella on the earlier Perrault variant), but Disney vetoed that for being too dark, going so far as to replace the director who suggested it. Weirdly, Disney had no problem with Into the Woods doing the same, likely because Into the Woods adapts the Brothers Grimm version, while both this film and the Disney animated classic are based more on the French version.
    • Lily James initially auditioned for one of the ugly stepsisters. Yes, really.
    • Lily James claimed that a shot from the carriage chase back to the house featured her running around inside the pumpkin with her arms and legs sticking out. The shot ended up cut, possibly due to potential Narm.
  • Planes was originally about trains instead of airplanes.
  • Early press release materials for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End stated that Sao Feng, Pirate Lord of Singapore, would be a third party in the war between the pirates and the East India Company and command a crew of demons. In the final product, he's a perfectly ordinary pirate captain, whose biggest contribution to the plot is being killed by Davy Jones and naming Elizabeth Swann his successor as he dies.

    Unreleased Disney or Pixar Films 
There are many proposed Disney films that never ever saw the light of day past pre-production. A few are mentioned in the books, Disney Lost and Found and The Disney That Never Was, and you can find others mentioned on old, never-updated fan sites like this one.
  • Wild Life (not to be confused with The Wild), about an elephant who becomes the darling of a city's human nightclub scene, sounds like it could have been fascinating. "Predating Chicken Little by a number of years, Wild Life was intended to be the studio's first foray into a wholly CG animated feature. Solomon notes, 'Wild Life began as a Pygmalion story designed to show children the shallowness of the world of glitz and fashion. But over a period of months, it turned into a more cynical story set in the club scene of Big City, a fictionalized 1970s New York, the era when David Bowie and The Velvet Underground hung out with jet-setters in urban clubs.'

    Designs by artists such as Hans Bacher, Floyd Norman and Greg Killman reveal a concept that was indeed a very dramatic departure for Disney. Alternately stunning and outrageous (and sometimes both), the designs for Wild Life clearly extended beyond what was considered appropriate for a Disney feature and it is not difficult to understand why it was ultimately shelved. As Solomon notes, "...insurmountable problems arose, especially between the decadent milieu of the later versions and the requirements of the traditional Disney audience." translation  Concept art here.
  • A lost movie that haunts many a Disney fan is what can only be called the Insane Crossover Victory Lap. This would have been a piece of animation, made to commemorate a very major Disney milestone, that would have included every animated Disney character to date onscreen together. Originally proposed as a brief gag in a Roger Rabbit short (Roger would have been startled by the sight of every Disney character riding past in a train), the idea later developed into a feature film called The Search for Mickey Mouse, where a team of Disney characters led by Basil of Baker Street do exactly that. That movie has yet to see the light of day, but the Disney characters have mixed it up in several extant productions, most notably the cartoon compilation series House of Mouse (which came very close to having every character). And the idea of searching for a missing Mickey Mouse has cropped up in everything from Kingdom Hearts, of course, to this very, VERY odd commemorative television special, which was made around the same time the "Search For Mickey" theatrical film entered development limbo. Perhaps the recently-pitched Magic Kingdom movie will finally get the original idea off the ground?
  • Disney almost got to make an animated adaption of Where the Wild Things Are, which would have had hand-drawn characters on CGI backgrounds. A YouTube video of test footage from the film proved it probably would have been closer in style to the look and perhaps to the tone of Maurice Sendak's book than the Spike Jonze version.
  • A relatively well-known abandoned Disney movie was Gremlins. Not to be confused with the Joe Dante cult classic, this would have been based upon a story written by none other than Roald Dahl, and the Gremlins in question would have been considerably closer to the folklore at the time. This story was eventually published as a picture book by Dark Horse comics.
  • After completing The Little Mermaid, John Musker and Ron Clements were offered three projects. They chose Aladdin, and while one of the others, King of the Jungle, became The Lion King, the third — a Swan Lake adaptation — was never produced. Musker and Clements thought the story of Swan Lake sounded too similar to The Little Mermaid.
  • Walt Disney obtained the rights to some books from the Land of Oz series in 1954, with the intent of adapting some of them into a musical titled, The Rainbow Road to Oz. He cast the Mouseketeers from The Mickey Mouse Club in major parts. They performed some songs in the fourth season premiere of Walt Disney Presents. These revealed that Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, whom the public remembered from MGM's The Wizard of Oz, would play major roles, as would the Patchwork Girl and Ozma, who did not appear in a movie since the silent era. For whatever reason, Walt ended up cancelling The Rainbow Road to Oz after seeing the numbers performed. He ended up instead adapting Babes in Toyland for his first live-action musical. Plans for a live-action Disney movie about the Oz books ultimately became fulfilled with 1985's Return to Oz, which tossed out the songs and basic plot of The Rainbow Road to Oz in favor of a Darker and Edgier direction true to the original stories. Return to Oz became a costly flop for Disney, but eventually grew into a Cult Classic. Years later, Disney made the film Oz: The Great and Powerful, which has many continuity parallels to the MGM movie and the novels, but was never officially confirmed canon to either (or even Return to Oz).
  • During The '40s, Walt Disney and Samuel Goldwyn discussed collaborating on a movie about Hans Christian Andersen. Most of the scenes would have appeared in live-action, but Disney's crew would have also prepared animated shorts of Andersen's fairy tales to play during the picture. Disney abandoned the project when producing WWII propaganda, prompting Goldwyn to eventually release an all live-action musical about Andersen and his stories, starring Danny Kaye in the title role. One of the stories featured in the musical, The Little Mermaid, and one considered for adapting into one of the cartoon shorts, The Snow Queen, became full-length Disney animated movies in 1989 and 2013, respectively.
  • In 1966, J. R. R. Tolkien's publisher asked Disney Studios if they would be interested in adapting the The Lord of the Rings trilogy into an animated film. The studio declined due to how costly it would be.
  • Newt, Gary Rydstrom's directorial debut, was about two newts (Newt, the spoiled, pampered male and Brooke the streetwise female) who are the last of their species, and are put together in a community college biology lab in order to Mate or Die. Many have speculated it was canceled due to Crest Animation's Alpha and Omega and Blue Sky's Rio being released earlier, which have very similar plots but with wolves and parrots respectively.
  • There was originally to have been a feature produced at the Florida animation studio, alternatively titled My Peoples, Angel and Her No Good Sister, and A Few Good Ghosts, that would have been set to a bluegrass score and featured the voices of Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin. The plot would have been about a family of ghosts possessing various wooden figures, and it would have employed Medium Blending: the physical characters would be traditionally-animated while the wooden figures would have been in CGI. Unfortunately, Disney's decision to abandon traditional animation causes the project to be cancelled in November 2003, shortly before the Florida studio closed in January 2004.
  • In the mid-2000s, there were plans for a movie named Fraidy Cat, created by John Musker and Ron Clements as their first CGI movie. The plot was about a cat living in London who finds himself in a Hitchcock-style thriller, somewhat based on North by Northwest and Vertigo. Despite the story reels being well-received by other animators and the-then head of animation, it was scrapped because Disney higher-ups thought no kid would know who Alfred Hitchcock was and understand/be interested in a story affectionately spoofing his work.
  • During a 2013 interview with the "Stories of the Magic" podcast; 1990s Mouseketeer Jennifer McGill mentioned that she, along with Chase Hampton and Tiffini Hale, had auditioned for a proposed movie based on the original The Mickey Mouse Club titled "Why, Because We Like You"; only for the movie to be tabled shortly after final auditions due to the 1988 Writer's Guild strike; resulting in their tapes being moved over to the 1989-95 Mickey Mouse Club auditions and their subsequent casting there.
  • Mary Poppins almost received a sequel in The '80s, rather than The New '10s. In 1987, Disney proposed P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, a movie in which Mary Poppins becomes nanny to the children of either Jane or Michael Banks. Mrs. Travers and her friend, children's literature historian Brian Sibley, instead submitted an outline set "a little while" later, featuring Mary Poppins again taking care of Jane and Michael, as well as their new baby siblings, John and Barbara. It mostly relied on chapters of the first three books that Walt Disney didn't feature in his movie, along with a subplot about the bank co-run by George Banks having financial troubles. The Banks kids would have also met Bert's brother, Barney—a role that at least one Disney executive suggested giving to Michael Jackson. Disney announced more plans for a sequel in September 2015, and later revealed that it would go back to the idea of Mary Poppins becoming nanny to Michael's children.
  • Disney once had plans to adapt Don Quixote and The Emperor and the Nightingale.
  • The Song Of Sundiata was a scrapped film set in Africa.
  • Uncle Stiltskin was a sequel to Rumplestiltskin where the titular character would once again try to steal a baby but discover the true meaning of family along the way.
  • In the early 1990s Disney announced several films however none ended up being made: Sinbad the Sailor, Homer's Odyssey, Song Of The Sea, and Silly Hillbillies On Mars.
  • In the early 1970s there were plans for a movie named Scruffy. It was set during World War II and featured barbary apes on the side of the British.
  • An adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood named Little Red's Wolf was once in development but nothing much came out of it. It is described as a Fractured Fairytale similar to Hoodwinked. Concept art was featured in an artbook for Chicken Little but otherwise little is known of the project, besides it being scrapped due to being seen as too similar to the then-upcoming Shrek.
  • The Last Songbird was pitched in 2003 but was declined because one of the uppers disliked birds.
  • A film based on Tam Lin was pitched but rejected for 'being too Irish'.
  • Disney announced an adaptation of King Of The Elves in the late 2000s but, after being put on hold, it's apparently not in production anymore.
  • In the early 1990s Pixar decided to make a Christmas Special in order to prove that they could make a full-length film. It was scrapped when they were offered a chance to make a film, which became Toy Story. The cancelled A Tin Toy Christmas starred Tinny from the Tin Toy short. Tinny was a part of a Christmas toy line from the 1940s, but due to poor sales he and his friends were put into storage. Tinny fell into a sleep only to awake years later in a modern-day mega store during December. With the help of a sarcastic ventriloquist dummy (which sounds like the prototypical Woody listed above) he tries to find his friends on Christmas Eve. Though Pixar would eventually get that Christmas special with 2014's Toy Story That Time Forgot.
  • Before Disney pulled the plug on their Direct-to-Video sequels, Disneytoon Studios had sequels for Dumbo, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Aristocats and even a third The Jungle Book under consideration.

     Marvel Cinematic Universe 
Phase 1: Avengers Assembled
  • Iron Man:
    • The film had a lengthy production cycle that dates back to the early 1990's. Jeff Vintar and Stan Lee pitched a story for Fox that would have had M.O.D.O.K. as the main villain, and Quentin Tarantino was approached as the director. Both Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise expressed interest in starring as Tony Stark. Due to having too much on their plate with X-Men and the studio's other Marvel movies (as well as Tom Rotham's rumored dislike of superheroes), Fox ended up selling the rights to New Line.
    • A new script was written for New Line, which featured a Cameo from Nick Fury to set the character up for his own movie. Subsequent drafts also featured Howard Stark (who was still alive in this version) as War Machine, the movie's Big Bad. The execs also made bizarre demands and suggestions, such as saying that Iron Man shouldn't fly and should suit up by using a toaster. David Hayter did some work on the script, while both Joss Whedon and Nick Cassavetes were approached to direct. When production stalled for too long, the license lapsed and the rights returned to Marvel.
    • When the film was officially set up at Marvel Studios as the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Mandarin was originally set to be the main antagonist. Mark Millar convinced Jon Favreau to go with Iron Monger instead, arguing that the Mandarin was a poor tonal fit for an origin movie (in addition to being a walking pile of Unfortunate Implications).
    • Adding to that, the decision to use Iron Monger was only made after Jeff Bridges was cast. The original idea was that the Mandarin would be the Big Bad of the first movie, while Obadiah Stane would appear in a supporting role to set him up as the villain of the sequel.
    • According to Bridges, Stane was originally supposed to survive the final battle against Tony, with the heroes opening up the destroyed Iron Monger suit to find that there was no corpse inside. Presumably this would have poised him to return for future movies.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • Bruce Banner's Kid Sidekick Rick Jones was present in early drafts of the film, but ended up being removed once Edward Norton rewrote the script.
    • An earlier draft would've made the Abomination a Composite Character with Glenn Talbot.
    • As a huge fan of The Wire, Norton wrote in a cameo for Michael K. Williams. The scene was cut down significantly, so in the finished product, Williams basically appears for about 5 seconds during the final battle.
  • Iron Man 2:
    • Rumiko Fujikawa was initially going to appear, with Marvel reportedly wanting Zhang Ziyi for the role. Her part was cut due to the film already having too much going on, but Viral Marketing showcasing her Stark-Fujikawa subsidiary was still used to promote the movie.
    • The original ending would have had Whiplash survive his earlier Taking You with Me attempt, only to be Killed Off for Real by Rhodey after making one final attempt to kill Tony and Pepper. The ending was changed to a more ambiguous Never Found the Body situation in case Marvel wanted to bring back Whiplash for future movies.
    • Emily Blunt was nearly cast as Black Widow, but had to turn down the part due to contractual obligations to the ill-fated Gulliver's Travels movie.
    • There were plans for Paul Bettany to appear in a flashback scene that would have explained the origin of JARVIS. Presumably, he would have played the original Edwin Jarvis (a role that eventually went to James D'Arcy in Agent Carter).
  • Captain America: The First Avenger:
    • Marvel began development on a Captain America movie in 2000, with Artisan Entertainment tapped to help finance it. A lengthy lawsuit over ownership of the character delayed the project until it fell apart.
    • Earlier drafts of The First Avenger featured Baron Zemo and Baron von Strucker as side villains working with the Red Skull, but the writers cut them from the script due to fears that they would be wasted in such small roles. Both ended up being Saved for the Sequel, with Strucker in The Stinger of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as a minor role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Zemo as the villain of Captain America: Civil War.
    • Emily Blunt was up for the Peggy Carter role, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts.
  • Thor:
    • Like Iron Man, this one had a lengthy development cycle. Sam Raimi met with Stan Lee and Fox about making a Thor movie back in 1990, but the project went nowhere. Marvel again met with Artisan to finance and push the film, but it failed to get picked up by any studios. Sony then picked up the movie and met with David S. Goyer to write and direct it, but Goyer eventually lost interest, leaving the project dead in the water.
    • After the project moved to Paramount and Marvel, Mark Protosevich (a big fan of the comics) wrote a script he described as an epic about "An Old Testament god who becomes a New Testament god." The draft ended up being rewritten due to fears that it would be too expensive to produce, as estimates had the script's budget pegged at around 300 million dollars.
    • Matthew Vaughn (who would later direct X-Men: First Class and Kingsman: The Secret Service) signed on to direct, but walked away when his holding deal expired.
    • Guillermo del Toro was interested in directing, but wanted to incorporate more mythology into the film, as well as a grittier take on Asgard. He ended up passing to direct The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey instead, which he also ended up walking away from.
    • The film was originally going to have a scene where Selvig mentioned a friend and colleague by the name of Hank Pym. The line did make it into the movie, but with the explicit reference to Pym removed.
    • BRIAN BLESSED was originally cast as Odin, but the role was recast with Anthony Hopkins. Mel Gibson claims he was also offered the part.
    • The Enchantress was initially going to appear as well, and concept art of her design can even be found online.
    • Daniel Craig was offered the role of Thor, but turned it down due to commitments to the James Bond franchise.
    • Tom Hiddleston actually auditioned for the role of Thor.
    • Charlie Cox auditioned for the role of Loki. While he didn't get the part, he did end up joining the MCU as Matt Murdock in Daredevil several years later.
    • Sif was going to be black very early on, as the creators intended to have Heimdall be her older brother like he is in the comics. Concept art can be found here.
    • There's also concept art of Balder, Thor's other brother, indicating that he too was planned to appear at some point.
  • The Avengers:
    • Joss Whedon has confirmed that The Wasp was supposed to have been part of the team, but had to be written out of the script due to the high volume of characters being introduced. Specifically, the Wasp was written into the film due to another What Could Have Been: to replace Black Widow when it looked like the character was going to be omitted due to salary issues with Scarlett Johansson. When a deal with Johansson was reached, Black Widow was written back into the movie. This resulted in Wasp getting cut since at that point, it was decided that seven Avengers would be too many for the first movie.
    • Loki was originally going to have an intimidating co-villain working under him, because Whedon felt that Tom Hiddleston wouldn't seem realistically menacing enough to pose a challenge to the likes of Thor and the Hulk.
    • Iron Man was originally going to be introduced in the midst of a battle against a cyborg supervillain. The idea was scrapped, but animatics of it were included as part of the DVD special features.
    • There was also going to be a brief fight scene between Iron Man and the brainwashed Hawkeye, acting as a nod to the fact that Hawkeye started off as an Iron Man villain in the comics.
    • Whedon didn't want to include Pepper in the movie, as he felt isolating the individual Avengers from their respective supporting casts would make for better drama. Robert Downey, Jr. fought for her inclusion, as he felt Gwyneth Paltrow and Pepper were too important to the Iron Man franchise to simply ignore.
    • Louis Leterrier was interested in making the Hulk the main villain of the film and having the Avengers teaming up to stop the him, just like their comic counterparts. When Bruce intentionally hulks out during the ending of The Incredible Hulk, it was shot so it could either represent him finally gaining or losing control of the Hulk. Tony was also recruiting General Ross to help him stop the Hulk, but when The Avengers took on a different direction, a One-Shot was made to tie up the loose end.

Phase 2
  • Iron Man 3:
    • Anthony Mackie had read for a part in the film (presumably Eric Savin or Jack Taggart), but did not get the role.
    • The movie's take on the Mandarin is vastly different from what Jon Favreau had planned way back when he was making the first film. He had hinted at the character through the Ten Rings organization in both Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and said the idea was to set him up as the Greater-Scope Villain waiting in the shadows, similar to Sauron or Emperor Palpatine. Favreau ended up walking away from the director's chair due to the Executive Meddling he faced while making Iron Man 2, so Shane Black and Drew Pearce decided to make the Mandarin a Decoy Leader and charlatan.
    • Mark Ruffalo has confirmed that the stinger scene was originally something completely different, but it ended up being scrapped and replaced with the cameo from Bruce Banner. The rumor is that the original scene was going to show Tony suiting up and flying off into space in order to set up the events of Guardians of the Galaxy, but Robert Downey, Jr. passed because he wasn't sure he was going to continue with the MCU at that point (he only signed on to do the Avengers sequels later).
    • Maya Hansen was originally going to be the the true surprise villain instead of Killian, which arguably fits the themes of the movie much better. Marvel ordered that the character be replaced because they didn't think kids would buy toys of a female character.note  This was changed fairly late into filming, and Rebecca Hall didn't even find out until shortly before filming Maya's death scene.
    • An unidentified actress was cast to play Tony's mother in a Flashback, but the scene was never finished.
  • Thor: The Dark World:
    • Monster director Patty Jenkins was hired to direct the movie, but ended up being fired over creative differences. This incited some serious Creator Backlash from Natalie Portman, who tried to back out of the movie before being forced to stay because of her contract.
    • There were apparently plans to have Valkyrie of The Defenders appear, but this never came to fruition. Concept art for several different potential designs can be found online.
    • Loki was originally not going to appear at all, and there was going to be a much greater focus on Malekith and the Dark Elves. When Loki became the Ensemble Darkhorse of The Avengers, the script was rewritten to give him a big role.
    • Mads Mikkelsen was looked at to play Malekith, but the role ultimately went to Christopher Eccleston.
    • Mangog was supposed to appear at one point, presumably as one of the monsters Thor fights near the beginning of the film. Like Valkyrie, he was cut, but concept art of his design has been released online.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
    • Before the part went to Anthony Mackie, Michael B. Jordan was one of the actors in the running to play The Falcon. Jordan would later go on to play Erik Killmonger in the Black Panther film.
    • Before settling on a darker military outfit, several of the proposed Falcon costumes featured a more armored look, complete with a helmet. At least one of the suits also retained Falcon's red and white color scheme from the comics, as well the golden forehead crest he wears on his mask.
    • Early promo art, set pics, merchandise, and even the first trailer showed Falcon in a slightly different military outfit with long sleeves. This was replaced with a short-sleeved look in the finalized film for unknown reasons.
    • At one point, the writers had proposed sparing Arnim Zola by revealing that the computer he housed his memory in could transform into a mobile robotic body. Marvel vetoed the idea on the grounds that it was too silly.
    • Hawkeye was originally going to appear in several scenes, including a fight sequence where he would have battled Captain America after a prolonged chase through the city. Scheduling issues with Jeremy Renner prevented this.
    • Before his death in The Avengers and subsequent resurrection in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel considered revealing Phil Coulson as a HYDRA agent in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He would have played the role that Sitwell does in the finished film.
    • Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker was originally going to be the film's Big Bad and leader of the HYDRA double agents in SHIELD but the character was rewritten into Alexander Pierce after the casting of Robert Redford, with Strucker being saved for The Stinger.
    • Related to this, Clay Quartermain was going to appear as well. Some of his scenes were ultimately given to Sitwell.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy:
    • Early drafts featured Nova as a central character, but James Gunn cut him from the film once he was hired to direct and rewrite the screenplay. Kevin Feige claims that the decision was partially due to the desire to focus more on Star-Lord, while Gunn claims he simply does not like Nova.
    • Originally, there was supposed to be a "cameo" (cameo in quotations because the person was a stunt double) of Stan Lee within the Collector's trophy room.
    • Originally, The Stinger was supposed to be related to Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Gunn claims Winter Soldier "stole" the connection from them, eventually resulting in them using Howard the Duck instead.
    • Gunn also wanted to include Rom on the team, but couldn't due to licensing issues.
    • Similarly, Bug was unable to appear because Marvel doesn't own his film rights.
    • Yondu didn't appear in earlier drafts of the script, but Gunn wrote him in specifically for Michael Rooker.
    • Yondu was originally going to be killed after opening up the Orb to find that Peter had replaced the Infinity Stone with one of Rocket's bombs. Gunn decided it'd be better to keep Yondu alive for the sequel, so the scene was changed to him finding that Peter had left a troll doll inside the Orb instead.
    • Likewise, Karen Gillan revealed that Nebula died in the original script.
    • The Power Stone was originally going to be red like it is in the comics, and the actual prop used for shooting reflected this. However, it was digitally recolored purple in post in order to avoid confusion with the Aether from The Dark World, which was revealed to be the Reality Stone in Age of Ultron.
    • Thanos was originally going to have a much larger role, but Joss Whedon requested that it be reduced so as not to interfere with his own plans for the character. Gunn says at one point, Thanos was going to be the movie's Big Bad rather than Ronan the Accuser.
    • The studio was interested in having Danny DeVito voice Rocket, but they ultimately decided to go in a younger direction.
    • The ending montage was originally going to show Peter's grandfather looking over a picture of Meredith Quill and then glancing up at the stars, with the implication being that he saw Peter being abducted by Yondu all those years ago and is still desperately hoping his grandson will make it back home one day. The scene was cut because everyone thought it was way too sad a note to end the film on.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
    • According to the actor himself, there were briefly plans to have Tim Roth reprise his role as the Abomination from The Incredible Hulk, but the idea was scrapped.
    • Carol Danvers appeared in earlier drafts of the movie as Captain Marvel, but Marvel feared introducing her without explaining who she is would be too confusing for casual viewers. They decided to wait and introduce her in her own movie instead. This was changed so late in production that Whedon had actually shot the live-action plates for her entrance scene, with the intention of casting an actual actress later. The shots were recycled for when Scarlet Witch joins the New Avengers at the end of the movie.
    • The Captain Marvel cameo was an Artifact from an early discussion about using the movie to introduce a whole slew of new superheroes. The idea was jettisoned quickly due to worries that audiences wouldn't have any idea who any of these people were.
    • It was rumored early on that an initial cut of the film was nearly as long as The Dark Knight Rises, clocking in at 160 minutes (along with a later report that clarified that the initial cut of movie was over three hours in length). Eventually, it was confirmed that the theatrical release would be 142 minutes. A subplot involving Thor was reduced in length as a side effect of this, and the appearance of the mysterious woman seen in the trailer (one of the Norns from Norse mythology) is not present in the final film. Bits of the original Norn sequence were later released as deleted scenes.
    • Tom Hiddleston filmed a cameo as Loki for Thor's dream sequence. However, test audiences found the scene confusing, and mistakenly thought the film was implying that Loki was behind the creation of Ultron, and was thus the true Greater-Scope Villain of the movie.
    • The Hulk was originally supposed to transform into his Gray Hulk form while under the Scarlet Witch's control, but the digital effects team eventually just settled for changing his eyes to make him appear more sullen and weary. Despite this, Funko still produced a Gray Hulk figure as part of their Pop! line.
    • Aaron Johnson has confirmed that alternate drafts had Quicksilver survive the final battle and then join the team alongside his sister. A costume was even designed in case Marvel chose to spare his life and make him an official Avenger.
    • Whedon had wanted to include Spider-Man as part of the new team of Avengers, but Marvel's deal with Sony had not yet been finalized at that point.
    • Ultron was originally supposed to steal the vibranium he needed from Wakanda. Elaborate concept art of the Wakandan mine where Ultron would forge his new body was even drawn up, but didn't make it into the movie.
  • Ant-Man:
    • The movie was intended to be released in 2010 between The Incredible Hulk and Thor (see the reference to Hank Pym above), but was replaced by Iron Man 2 due to the financial success of the first movie. This pushed the movie back 5 years and 8 movie releases.
    • Patrick Wilson was cast as one of the major villains (rumored to be William Cross/Crossfire, the cousin of Darren Cross/Yellowjacket, the movie's Big Bad), but dropped out of the film after multiple rewrites and production delays.
    • Jordan Peele was cast in the movie, but had to drop out because of scheduling conflicts.
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt was up for the lead role at one point, while Jessica Chastain, Rashida Jones and Bryce Dallas Howard were in the running for the Hope Van Dyne part.
    • Darren Cross was originally going to go by the alter ego of Nano Warrior, a Canon Foreigner identity. This was changed to Yellowjacket, an actual Marvel identity.
    • Hope's role was much smaller in Edgar Wright's drafts, and Evangeline Lilly actually ended up praising the controversial rewrites for beefing up her part.
    • As the movie predates the MCU itself, it was originally going to be a stand-alone film without any continuity ties. Most of the connections to other movies (such as the appearance from the Falcon or the scene at the New Avengers compound) were only included in later revisions, such as the one done by Adam McKay.
    • Janet van Dyne was not present at all in Wright's script, and was only mentioned in passing as having died offscreen. Presumably, The Stinger with Hope carrying on her mother's legacy by becoming the new Wasp was only added in later drafts as well.
    • The ending was supposed to have Ant-Man taking out Carson before he could escape with the Pym Particles and deliver them to HYDRA. The ending was changed to Carson successfully escaping with the Pym Particles in order to set up a sequel.
    • A few preliminary designs of the Wasp armor harkened back to Janet's original, cone-headed costume, with one version dumping the skirt in favor of something more akin to a Badass Longcoat.
    • There were tentative plans for Toby Jones to return as Arnim Zola, who would've inhabited a robotic body after his apparent death in The Winter Soldier.

Phase 3
  • Captain America: Civil War:
    • Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely's original plan for a third Captain America movie was much smaller than Civil War, and didn't feature the other Avengers. Elements of their initial idea still made it into the finished movie, such as the emphasis on Steve and Bucky's relationship, and the use of Baron Zemo as the Big Bad.
    • As mentioned in the Age of Ultron section, Joss Whedon almost got Captain Marvel added to the team. Had he gotten his way, Captain Marvel presumably would have been one of the Avengers featured in Civil War as well.
    • Likewise, had the aforementioned alternate ending to Age of Ultron where Quicksilver survived been used, he would have appeared here as one of the Avengers.
    • Robert Downey, Jr. has stated that had he decided not to come back for the movie, the Russo brothers would have adapted another story, since Civil War simply does not work without Iron Man. As well, there were plans set up for another script had Marvel and Sony not been able to bring Spider-Man into the MCU.
    • While there were plans from Day 1 to feature a neutral hero who wouldn't be aligned with either Captain America or Iron Man, it wasn't necessarily Black Panther at first. Kevin Feige has said a number of names were put forth as possibilities, but in the end, it was decided that the Panther made the most sense.
    • A scene showing some of Scott Lang's personal life was cut from the movie because the writers scripted it before actually having seen the Ant-Man movie.
    • Earlier drafts of the script featured the debut of Hope Van Dyne as the Wasp, with the character appearing as part of Team Cap. The creators were worried that her introduction would have been overshadowed by the other characters (as well as other concerns like Cast Speciation and Evangeline Lilly being pregnant), so it was decided to save the Wasp's first appearance for the Ant-Man & The Wasp movie.
    • One of The Stingers was going to feature Bruce Banner, but it was cut to avoid spoiling where the character ended up between the events of Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Black Panther was originally going to have more of a cameo role, while Spider-Man was set to have a much larger part in the story. When it looked like the deal with Sony to get Spider-Man into the movie wasn't gonna happen, Black Panther's role was significantly beefed up. By the time Marvel did get permission to use Spider-Man, Black Panther had become so integral to the story that they opted to leave his part as is it was and give Spider-Man a smaller role instead.
    • Related to that, Spider-Man's role in the second act was deliberately written to be non-integral so that if the rights deal fell through, the story wouldn't suffer. The writers have said that had they not been able to use Spider-Man, they would have simply used another new hero as the sixth member of Team Iron Man.
    • A planned fight between Captain America and Black Widow was cut for time.
    • There exists concept art of Helmut Zemo wearing his trademark purple costume and mask from the comics, indicating the idea was probably at least considered early on.
    • There was an idea to have Steve wear a new black costume for stealth missions, such as the opening fight in Lagos. Concept art of the black suit can be found in the movie's art book. There was also an idea for Hawkeye to wear his black bullseye mask from The Ultimates 3.
    • The Russos toyed with the idea of giving Spider-Man organic webs like in the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie. They eventually decided that Peter being able to design his own web-shooters was more interesting.
    • There's concept art of Sharon Carter wearing a combat uniform and fighting alongside Team Cap at the airport battle. This never happens in the movie, but the uniform was heavily featured in the merchandising and marketing art for the film.
    • There's also concept art for the Scarlet Witch which gave her a headdress somewhat similar to what her comic book counterpart wears.
    • Early concept art showed Scott Lang fighting Captain America and Hawkeye, indicating that Ant-Man was planned to be part of Team Iron Man at one point.
    • Andy Park released a piece of concept art showing Vision phasing his hand through Iron Man's arc reactor to save Wanda, mirroring a similar scene in the original comic book. This would seem to indicate that at some point, Vision was either going to be part of Team Cap, or was set to betray Team Iron Man at a key moment.
  • Doctor Strange:
    • Joaquin Phoenix came very close to being cast as Strange, but passed at the last minute because he feared the lengthy production schedule (including sequels and potential Avengers crossovers) would prevent him from pursuing other roles.
    • Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro pitched a Doctor Strange movie back in 2007, but Marvel passed because the character was considered a very low priority for the studio at the time. Not much is known about the pitch, though Gaiman confirmed that Clea would have appeared as a major character.
    • Wong was originally not going to appear in the movie, because the director felt he was an embarrassing racial stereotype. However, he decided to include Wong after they cast a white woman to play the Ancient One, reasoning that not having any Asian characters at all would probably look even worse.
    • Before Tilda Swinton was cast, director Scott Derrickson considered having the Ancient One be an Asian woman. However, he decided against it, as he felt it'd seem too reminiscent of the Dragon Lady trope.
    • Derrickson wanted Nightmare to be the movie's main villain, but Kevin Feige dissuaded him by saying that the Dream Dimension would only add more Exposition to a movie that was already full of Infodumps.
    • Tony Todd recorded lines as Dormammu before Marvel decided to get Benedict Cumberbatch to voice him instead.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:
    • Matthew McConaughey was offered the villain role, but passed on it.
    • Kevin Feige and James Gunn were both interested in having David Bowie cameo, but the musician's death from cancer in 2016 tragically prevented this. Had he lived, Bowie would have played a member of Yondu's original Ravagers team.
    • There were plans for Adam Warlock to join the team alongside Mantis, but Gunn wrote him out of the script after deciding that the story was already too packed to accommodate another new main character.
    • To James Gunn's shock, Marvel apparently did not own the movie rights to the character Ego the Living Planet, which would have caused a lot of problems as James Gunn had built him up as a very important part to the MCU mythos. Fortune shined upon them, however, when Fox approached Marvel, wishing to change up the power set to Negasonic Teenage Warhead for Deadpool. Thus, Marvel got back Ego so Warhead could have better powers.
    • Gunn originally didn't want to kill off Yondu, but ultimately decided it had to happen to lend some real stakes to the movie.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming:
    • An early idea was to retroactively incorporate the Amazing Spider-Man movies into the MCU canon instead of doing yet another reboot. However, Andrew Garfield likely wouldn't have returned, thanks to tensions behind the scenes with Sony.
    • Michael Keaton nearly passed on the Vulture role, as it was thought that Marvel wouldn't be able to afford both Robert Downey, Jr. and Keaton.
    • David Letterman was offered a cameo as a street vendor, but he quickly passed on the part due to a lack of interest.
    • Ted Melfi was in the running to direct the movie, but he withdrew to make Hidden Figures instead.
    • Jon Watts originally wanted Nick Fury to serve as Peter's mentor.
    • The Vulture was originally going to turn out to be one of Peter's high school teachers instead of the father of his love interest, but the creators thought it'd be better to not have him involved with the school stuff.
    • War Machine and The Vision were supposed to make a Cameo appearance during the ferry rescue scene, showing that they were still operating as members of the Avengers even after the events of Civil War.
  • Black Panther:
    • Back before the advent of the MCU, director John Singleton was attached to the movie, but it never materialized.
    • A Black Panther film has been in various stages of development and Development Hell since the '90s, with various scripts, studios, actors, and directors attached at one point or another. Wesley Snipes was even in talks to star at one point, before being cast as the title character in Blade.
    • Reginald Hudlin stated that one of the early proposed scripts would have had Black Panther reimagined as a young African-American man with no knowledge of Wakanda or his African heritage, a change Hudlin found offensive and disrespectful.
    • Once the project was finalized as part of the MCU's Phase 3, Selma director Ava DuVernay went into talks to direct the film. She ended up passing, citing creative differences with Marvel over the vision of the movie.
    • After the massive success of Straight Outta Compton, director F. Gary Gray was looked at to helm the movie, but he passed to direct Fast and Furious 8 instead.
  • Captain Marvel:
    • A report in 2013 indicated that Carol Danvers was originally going to be introduced into the MCU as Ms. Marvel, rather than her (At the time) recent Captain Marvel identity.
    • Back when it was going to air on ABC, Carol was also supposed to appear in Jessica Jones. When the show was instead picked up by Netflix a few years later, she was swapped out for Patsy Walker.
  • The third and fourth Avengers movies were originally going to be called Avengers: Infinity War Part I and Avengers: Infinity War Part II. The "Part I and II" numbering was later dropped and the fourth movie was renamed entirely, as the Russos felt the titles were misleading viewers into thinking the two movies were just one long film split into two parts.
Unreleased/Other
  • Way back when Marvel announced their Phase One film slate in 2006, a solo Nick Fury film written by Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One, End of Days, Hollow Man) was one of the titles included. Nothing ever came of this, and Fury instead ended up appearing across the MCU as the major connective force between the movies.
  • James Gunn was interested in directing a Thunderbolts movie, which Kevin Feige claimed was a possibility should Guardians of the Galaxy do well enough at the box office. The surprise success of Guardians led to Marvel quickly announcing a sequel, which resulted in Thunderbolts being regulated to Development Hell.
  • A Runaways film written by Drew Pearce was in the works for Phase 2, and got far enough along in production that a casting call was released (which drew flack for allegedly whitewashing Nico Minoru, though Marvel claims this was a misunderstanding), and Keke Palmer was approached for a role. The film was shelved indefinitely after the massive success of The Avengers caused Marvel to rethink its plans for future movies.
  • Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Nick Fury, and Loki were all considered as possible Marvel One-Shots, but were ultimately rejected. The former three because Marvel felt they couldn't be done justice given the short length, and the latter because the studio thought the required special effects budget would have been cost-prohibitive.
  • Daredevil began as a pitch for a movie reboot in the MCU. It was determined that while the idea was too low stakes and low budget to work as a film, it was the perfect fit for Marvel's burgeoning line of Netflix shows.
  • When Fox still had the Daredevil rights, Kevin Feige reportedly offered them an extension in exchange for Fox returning Galactus and the Silver Surfer. This means there's an alternate timeline somewhere where the Netflix Daredevil show never happened, but Marvel got to use Galactus and the Surfer in Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity War.
  • Doctor Mordrid was going to be a Doctor Strange movie, but the Doctor Strange license expired.
  • The creators of the Underworld franchise proposed a crossover with Marvel's Blade, presumably with Wesley Snipes reprising his role. Marvel Studios passed due to wanting to have a clean slate to reintroduce Blade at some point in the future.
  • An Inhumans movie was initially scheduled for Phase 3, with a tentative November 2018 release date, which was later pushed back to July 2019. After Ike Perlmutter (who had championed the project despite a lack of interest from Kevin Feige) was ousted from Marvel Studios, the film was pulled from the Phase 3 line-up altogether, with a live-action TV show being ordered by ABC instead.


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