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What Could Have Been: Unsorted Film
  • Stanley Kubrick's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Kubrick actually wanted Spielberg to direct the film. Ironically, both directors envied each other's film styles. Kubrick tried to emulate Spielberg's style while working on AI (hence why certain elements in it seem unusual for a Kubrick film), only for Spielberg to emulate Kubrick's style when finishing the film after Kubrick's death. One wonders what the film would've been like if Kubrick hadn't tried to emulate Spielberg, or if Spielberg accepted Kubrick's offer to direct.
  • Sergio Leone was gearing up to direct a American-Soviet co-production about the Siege of Leningrad just before his death with Robert De Niro as the lead.
  • Beetlejuice was originally a very serious horror film titled The Maitlands with Beetlejuice himself as a shapeshifting reptilian monster. That all changed once Tim Burton and Michael Keaton came along.
  • Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run was going to be a movie franchise based on the game series starring Dwayne Johnson. Thanks to Development Hell the movie died though a Video Game tie-in starring Johnson did not and was released without the movie.
  • Salvador Dali was a big fan of the Marx Brothers, and was particularly fascinated with Harpo for his surrealist charms. After contacting the Bros., Dalí started making plans for a surrealist film starring them, with a big focus on Harpo, that would have taken place at a dinner party with enormous giraffe lanterns looming overhead (it obviously never got made). That doesn't just sound like a good and possibly insane film. That sounds like the greatest film ever made.
  • Years prior to her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was a solo Black Widow film that almost happened. A script was written up by David Hayter before the failures of Catwoman and Elektra lead the executives to conclude that there wasn't an audience for female superhero movies.
    • However, after Scarlett Johansson's performance as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe went over well with fans, it looks like she may be given a second shot...as well as a spin-off TV series for Captain America's 1940's girlfriend, Agent Carter.
  • TMNT:
    • Early drafts of the movie would've had the turtles as aliens rather than mutants, and would've had Krang as the villain. This was supposedly scrapped after negative fan reaction.
    • In a leaked draft, the Shredder was changed to a white, American military officer named "Colonel Schraeder," with the Foot depicted as a black-ops military unit rather than a ninja clan. Schraeder would've eventually been revealed to be an alien in disguise.
    • William Fitchner's character was originally supposed to be the Shredder, hence him having the name of Eric Sacks (an Americanized version of "Oroku Saki"). This was changed at the last second so that Sacks simply ended up as a follower of the real Shredder, who was indeed Japanese. The change presumably happened due to the racial controversy over the director "Whitewashing" Shredder, though the original plot line of Sacks as the Shredder was used in the Nintendo DS adaptation.
  • Peter Ustinov was originally going to play Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther, but left over a salary dispute.
  • Michael Moorcock has mentioned that, if it weren't for a timely intervention by his lawyers, his famous Evil Weapon Stormbringer might've appeared unauthorised in Red Sonja.
  • In A Hard Day's Night, Ringo's parading was originally supposed to have a lot more dialogue. But Ringo came in too drunk to remember lines. This was probably to the greater benefit of the film.
    • Additionally, there was a scene with Paul and a young actress rehearsing her lines in a rather enthusiastic way. The special edition DVD has stills from the scene and an interview with the actress who played the actress.
  • Help! included a deleted scene with Frankie Howerd and Wendy Richard. Magical Mystery Tour was to include an accordionist scene, a scene with the one of the buskers (Happy Nat, the Rubber Man) racing around a swimming pool (a scene directed by John Lennon), a scene with the Beatles looking through a telescope, and one where they are passing candy to the bus riders. Also, Traffic and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were to have had their own musical sequences.
    • To elaborate on the Help! example, the scene had the Beatles going to "The Sam Ahab School of Transcendental Elocution", where they are given acting lessons by Sam Ahab (Frankie Howerd). Wendy Richard plays the only other student there, a woman called "Lady Macbeth". Her "transcendental" practices (which are apparently quite noisy) cause George to put in a pair of earplugs. Not long after, the cult plays their hypnotic music which puts everyone except for George (because of the earplugs) into a trance. The cult members try to chop off Ringo's hand to get the ring and George intervenes, which leads to the cult priest tossing an axe which is embedded in a mirror. The cult runs away as everyone starts to wake up and no one believes George. They see the axe in the mirror and John pulls it out, hands it to Lady Macbeth, and asks her "is this a chopper that you see before you?" This explains why the Beatles later know to plug their ears for the cult's music and why George later identifies the cult priest in the Indian restaurant as "the guy who tried to chop [Ringo's] hand off". Incidentally, there were several other deleted scenes for Help! - one in which it is shown that Ringo keeps a live cow in his closet for fresh milk, one which had the Beatles driving around in a quarry, and one which had the last Beatle impersonating Ringo while in a tree house.
  • Paul McCartney
    • He has stated that Franco Zeffirelli offered him the role of Romeo for his 1968 Romeo and Juliet.
    • He was also asked to play Billy Shears in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," a role that went to a rather unlucky Peter Frampton when Paul wanted nothing to do with the movie.
  • From the Star Trek movies:
    • In early drafts of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it was Spock, not Decker, who had had the earlier relationship with Ilia, and it was he who would have merged with Ilia and Vger at the end, effectively removing the character from the series.
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan went through a lot of changes. Five potential scripts were written (four by Jack B Sowards, one by Samuel Peeples), each with a completely different storyline. When Nicholas Meyer came on as director, he took the best elements of each script, put them all together into one big script and that's what they filmed. Originally, Khan, Saavik, Kirk's son, etc. were from separate scripts.
      • In addition, Spock's death was to have occurred mid-way into the movie (forcing Kirk to assume command) but was placed closer to the end when the death of Spock was leaked to the fans.
      • Additionally, Gene Roddenberry initially pitched a Time Travel story in which the Enterprise crew would prevent JFK's assassination to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Apparently, Roddenberry continued to pitch this strange time-travel story — which would have ended up a Shaggy Dog Story as soon as Spock realized that preventing JFK's assassination would seriously screw up history and destroy the Federation — every time a new sequel was given the go-ahead. This, along with the massive cost overruns and production issues surrounding the first Star Trek movie, was a significant factor in Roddenberry being kicked upstairs to "Executive Consultant" status and the producers & directors of all subsequent Trek movies being told (unofficially, at least) that they could safely ignore Gene's "suggestions."
      • It doesn't help that a very similar story plays out in the famous TOS episode "The City on the Edge of Forever."
      • The JFK premise eventually got an unusually straight, non-parody treatment on an episode of Red Dwarf.
      • Coincidentally, a Quantum Leap episode featured future Enterprise captain Scott Bakula going back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination. Jackie Kennedy, not John.
    • At one point, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home would have featured an eccentric professor played by none other than Eddie Murphy. The character was eventually rewritten into Dr. Gillian Taylor.
    • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier begs many of these questions. What if the script writing wasn't derailed by the 1988 WGA strike? What if Industrial Light and Magic hadn't been too busy to work on the film? What if they were able to get Sean Connery to play Sybok as they wanted? What if the budget had allowed the rock creatures who were supposed to chase Kirk at the end? And most of all, if any of this had worked out, would the film have actually been good?
    • After filming Star Trek: Generations, ILM modified the 6-foot Enterprise-D model to become the Enterprise-E with the odd assumption that the "E" would be a Galaxy-class ship in the same vein that the Enterprise-A was a Constitution-class refit like it's predecessor and not become a Sovereign-class that it became.
    • According to a leaked manuscript, Fade In: The Writing Of Star Trek: Insurrection (written by Michael Piller years before his death, and never released because of studio concerns about the content of said manuscript), initial concepts for the film were far removed from the final product. The first script treatment (called Star Trek: Stardust) involved Picard and a fellow cadet named Hugh Duffy (who were friends at Starfleet Academy) meeting up after almost three decades because of different circumstances. Duffy has become a renegade who has tried to provoke a war between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, and Picard must travel to the Neutral Zone to bring him back. Picard eventually finds Duffy and risks his career to help the other officer thwart a plan by the Romulans to take over a planet housing "the fountain of youth". At the end, Picard gets arrested (and stripped of his rank) by Starfleet due to his actions during the film. The plot was similar to Heart of Darkness, and featured numerous Shout Outs and call-backs to various episodes of TNG.
    • The deflector shield sequence in Star Trek: First Contact was originally intended to have hundreds of Borg swarming over the hull of the Enterprise. Bad. Ass.
    • The final battle in Star Trek: Nemesis was going to be an insane six-on-one battle against the Scimitar, but was dropped because of cost.
  • Cases of What Actually Was referencing What Could Have Been:
    • Snake Eyes's epilogue has Nic Cage saying (not verbatim): "I keep having nightmares about that water-logged tunnel, where I drown." Cage was supposed to chase Gary Sinise through various obstacles, including a water-logged tunnel, before Sinise was run over by a large globe that had fallen off a building during a storm. Test audiences didn't like it, so the chase was cut down, the globe gets pushed off course by a wave, and Sinise kills himself.
    • While The Goonies recount their adventure to their parents, they mention an encounter with a giant squid that was cut from the finished film. The scene was shot, and it appears on the DVD release under "deleted scenes" (it has also occasionally been reinserted in some televised presentations). Data manages to fend it off with his walkman.
      • On the subject of The Goonies, another deleted scene had Andi being given the Goonie Initiation, which ended with them realizing that they were in a pool filled with leeches. Data saves them by dropping a battery or something.
  • The original script of The Lost World: Jurassic Park did not feature the part where the T. rex is brought to San Diego. It instead ended with the characters being rescued from the island and featured Roland Tembo actually getting to use his high-caliber rifle to blow a raptor's head off, as well as a scene with pteranodons that was very similar to the one used in the end of the third movie.
    • The original script of the first Jurassic Park movie followed the plot of the book much more closely, but it was found to be far too long (the total length of the movie would've been close to three hours) so they made a shorter version.
      • The original script was also closer to the bleaker tone of the novel, and ended with John Hammond committing suicide. Which, even though he was actually a bad guy in that version of the story, wasn't exactly the note that Spielberg wanted to end the film on (he wanted it to have a less dark tone, due to having to direct it and Schindler's List back-to-back).
      • The rotunda climax was also in limbo for quite a long while. There were a few endings proposed, including Grant shoving a raptor into the jaws of the T-rex skeleton from a mobile crane, Grant crushing the raptors with the skeletons, etc. There was even one ending that included Hammand shooting the raptors himself.
    • Jurassic Park III was going to be about a group of teenagers trapped on the island (apparently scrapped for being like an episode of Friendswith dinosaurs!) The movie was going to have a climactic battle between the spinosaurus and either raptors or the army, but neither made it to the final film.
    • John Sayles' script for Jurassic Park 4 had been lingering in Development Hell since 2004. Judging by script reviews, it's not hard to see why. The film would start with a Pterosaur attack at a Little League game somewhere in the U.S., which is the latest in an ever-growing series of attacks across Central America and Mexico. The United Nations sends an unemployed soldier-of-fortune named Nick Harris (David Boreanaz was rumored to be interested in the character) to Isla Nublar to retrieve the dinosaur DNA samples stolen by Dennis Nedry. Nick is captured by a top-secret corporation after he retrieves and hides the samples, and he is brought to a medieval castle in Switzerland. And at that castle, he is tasked by the head of the corporation to train a group of genetically enhanced humanoid 'raptor soldiers. Producer Frank Marshall has confirmed, however, that will not be the story used in the fourth film.
  • In the Austin Powers series, the fight with Random Task in the first movie originally took place during the countdown of Project Vulcan, ending with a parody of OddJob's death scene from Goldfinger (where Austin threw a Big Gulp at Random Task's feet, and electrical currents travel through his wet sock and zapped him to death). In the second movie, the scene introducing Felicity Shagwell was different, and preceded by an Overly Long Gag where an assassin nods to someone, who in turn nods to someone else, and it goes on until the assassin finally gets nodded back and proceeds with his mission to kill Austin. Not to mention that Fat Bastard's dialogue was constantly censored. There was even going to be a scene featuring the Guru Pitka from The Love Guru.
  • The Wizard of Oz underwent about a dozen script drafts and four writers. Early on, the Cowardly Lion was in fact the cursed form of a handsome prince named Florizel (which is the name of the Prince in the Sleeping Beauty fairytale), who would battle the Witch in midair and kill her by cutting apart her broom while Dorothy watched from the sidelines. A female soda jerk was going to accompany Dorothy from Kansas at one point (again, ?!?). Elements from the books floated in and out of the script, and about three characters each served as Professor Marvel's and the Wicked Witch's sounding boards (eventually Professor Marvel talked to his horse and the Witch to the leader of the winged monkeys). One element, however, was in the very first draft and never changed: Kansas in sepia, Oz in Technicolor.
    • A number of MGM executives wanted Judy Garland to wear a blonde wig and "baby doll" makeup, when they weren't considering casting Shirley Temple as Dorothy. The makeup went long past the screen-test stage: it was used for the first several weeks of filming, under the direction of the film's original director, Richard Thorpe. When Buddy Ebsen had to leave the production due to illness (another What Could Have Been: Jed Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies initially played the Tin Man), the producers took the opportunity to sack Thorpe and retool a number of aspects of the production, including Judy Garland's appearance and performance.
      • Ebsen was first cast as the Scarecrow and Ray Bolger as the Tin Man, then the roles were swapped.
    • One early script had Aunt Em as the abusive witch who wanted to kill Toto to punish Dorothy!
    • The best-known deleted idea is perhaps the least interesting out of all of these: Scarecrow's Jitterbug Dance. Strange in that, in the final version of the film, the Witch makes reference to "sending a little insect" to infect Dorothy's friends, which never happens due to the scene and ensuing song-and-dance number being cut. (In later stage versions, "The Jitterbug" was restored. The Witch sends the Jitterbug to wear out Dorothy and her friends — because when the Jitterbug gets you, you can't stop dancing — so it will be easier for the flying monkeys to kidnap them.)
    • A "What almost wasn't" was "Over The Rainbow", which was almost cut because the execs weren't sure about the heroine singing in a farmyard. Fortunately, good judgment prevailed and it stayed.
    • There was also an extra scene back in Kansas at the end of the film which got cut. In it, Hunk (the 'real-life' counterpart to the Scarecrow) was going away to agricultural college and Dorothy was promising to write to him. It basically indicated that the slight romantic vibe some viewers picked up between Dorothy and the Scarecrow had a factual basis.
    • Also, the Wicked Witch was going to be a glamourous Femme Fatale villianess not unlike the Queen in Disney's Snow White, but that idea was scrapped and she became a traditional "old hag" style witch, which caused Gale Sondergaard to quit the part, because she refused to wear the "ugly" makeup.
    • In a bizarre spin on Viewers Are Geniuses, the screenplay called for the final shot to be camera panning down to reveal Dorothy was still wearing the ruby slippers, but the studio believed that audiences were too sophisticated to find the Real After All twist believable.
    • The ruby slippers were intially silver shoes, like in the book, but ruby looked better in Technicolor.
    • Besides "The Jitterbug" being completely cut, other songs were trimmed. "Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!)" was a song rather than just a chant. The lion's "If I Only Had The Nerve" was longer and the Scarecrow had a long dance sequence in "If I Only Had a Brain". The Scarecrow's sequence still exists and appeared in both 1984's That's Dancing and on the 1989 50th anniversary release (and later laserdisc and DVD releases) as a supplement. In general, the film's music underwent more changes because of a change in the musical director partway through production.
  • Blade Runner
    • The script went through umpteen quite different revisions. The earliest revision around has the climax in which Batty rescues Deckard missing in favor of having the antagonist killed in a slight Rasputinian Death before Deckard saves himself, and then ends up killing Rachael after a scene resembling the theatrical ending.
    • It bears mentioning that Robert Mitchum was the original choice to play Deckard, and when it became clear that he was not going to be involved, Dustin Hoffman became the frontrunner. A number of other actors were considered, including Nick Nolte and, possibly, Al Pacino.
  • It's not known what the context is, but there is no doubt that the executive letter to Nicholas Ray proscribing a kiss between Jim Stark and Plato is genuine. Given the release date of Rebel Without a Cause, What Could Have Been in this case could have significantly changed the course of gay rights...
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky's 14-hour Dune movie would have been... different...
  • In The Matrix, the humans in the Matrix were originally intended to have their brains used as parts of a computer network, rather than being used as living batteries. The concept was changed due to the Powers that Be underestimating the viewers' intelligence.
    • To be honest, the film makes a LOT more sense if you assume that was actually the case and the human resistance was just stupid/misinformed/wrong. Scientific impossibility of using humans as a power source when the energy that comes out can never be worth more than the energy going in as food, for a start.
      • Since the 2nd and 3rd films reveal that the Matrix and Zion are also virtual realities, the real-world machines may indeed use humans this way, especially since self-improving machines should've been much more developed than what was shown in the films.
    • That's just cake compared to some of the other changes. The Wachowskis originally envisioned that a prequel would follow the first film, and this probably would have been akin to The Animatrix. The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were originally conceived as one long movie (which explains a lot, frankly; the two films make a hell of a lot more sense if you watch them back to back and ignore such filler as the Zion Rave and Never-Ending Car Chase), and would have been the first film's one sequel. Lastly, Will Smith was considered for the role of Neo, Gary Oldman was thought of for Morpheus, and Sean Connery was meant to play the Architect.
    • While a 1996 draft of the script was fairly close to the final film, there were several changes that border on Narm territory:
      • Smith yells, "Nooo!" twice.
      • Trinity's "Dodge This" line was originally, "Dodge this, motherf***er!"
      • The climactic scene of Neo returning to life originally had him getting up, then giving the finger to Smith, who helplessly yells, "Nooooo!" as the elevator doors close.
  • Try finding a His Dark Materials fan who isn't the least bit curious as to what the Tom Stoppard scripted version would have been like...or the unedited version of the final script, which was much longer. Especially the original ending, which was unceremoniously lopped off and will likely never be seen. The best people get is what is cobbled together on YouTube.
  • Four words: Michael Jackson as Jareth. At the very least, it would have been made Labyrinth one of the most deeply uncomfortable Funny Aneurysm Moments around...thankfully the filmmakers' first choice was available. This one went through a lot.
    • Originally the story was going to be set only in a fantasyland; this was changed to better distinguish it from Legend. The "real world" setting was originally the Victorian era, but changed to The Present Day because this was seen as easier to market to audiences. And had credited screenwriter Terry Jones had his way, we wouldn't have had any idea what was at the center of the Labyrinth or seen the Goblin King (according to the 25th anniversary retrospective article in Empire) until Sarah got there.
    • In the earliest available draft of the script that Jones and Laura Phillips wrote, Sarah was babysitting Toby (then known as Freddie) when she opened the door to, and let in, a stranger against her parents' warning. He turned out to be Jareth, who kidnapped Toby For the Evulz and was gradually transforming him into a goblin as the story progressed. The divorce of Sarah's parents figured more heavily; the ring she gives the Wiseman as a donation in the finished film was originally a gift from her mother that she was reluctant to part with. The Wiseman and his Hat got a lot more to do, for that matter, wandering through the action and eventually inspiring Hoggle to rejoin the party after he betrayed Sarah.
    • The Bog of Eternal Stench wasn't in early drafts; Hoggle was instead threatened with a water-filled pit. The junkyard was a junk town complete with a bar where Hoggle went to drown his sorrows.
    • The novelization reveals that the unchosen door with a living knocker led to a Crapsaccharine World where nobody can stop laughing; Sarah barely escapes. And the Fireys originally offered to help Sarah find the castle, but they didn't know what one was...
    • Jareth was a very different character in early drafts. As mentioned above, he kidnapped the baby For the Evulz, not because Sarah wished it to be taken away. The white owl was a separate entity rather than his shapeshifted form, while the Junk Lady was a giant puppet he operated from within. His attraction to Sarah was outright lecherous (when she took the big jump in the Escher room she landed on a bed). She had to physically fight him off to rescue Toby, and finally said "I wouldn't want you if you were the last...goblin on Earth!" whereupon he shrank into one himself. And while the points in the story where he would have sung are the same in the early Jones/Phillips draft as they would be in the finished film, their ideas for what he would sing about are completely different from what his songwriter/actor came up with.
  • Quentin Tarantino was reportedly interested in making Casino Royale with Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Daniel Craig went on to replace Brosnan with Martin Campbell directing, but one wonders a) how seriously QT's offer was being considered, and b) how awesome it would have been.
    • He never contacted EON (the 007 production company), so it was merely an idea.
    • Considering what Tarantino likes to do it probably would have been a send up of Tuxedo and Martini and everything else that surrounded the time of the original Bond films.
    • David Arnold swears up, down and backwards that this was not supposed to be the Title Theme Tune for Quantum of Solace. Yeah. Frigging. Right.
    • Pierce Brosnan would've been Bond much earlier, as they wanted him to replace Roger Moore. Then the producers of Remington Steele decided to extend his contract, and Timothy Dalton was brought instead.
    • For A View to a Kill, the producers wanted David Bowie to play Zorin, but Bowie turned them down after reading and disliking the script.
    • GoldenEye has a few tales of these, due to being both (as Bond17) six years in Development Hell AND getting major rewrites once the decided-upon script (handed in in January of '94) was given the go-ahead; perhaps most interesting facet of this script would have been Trevelyan played by either Anthony Hopkins or Alan Rickman.
    • Naming all the actors once considered for Bond would take up considerable space, but a relatively complete list can be found here.
    • The Casino Royale (1967) had big problems early on in production when star Peter Sellers was bent on playing Bond straight in a comedy. His continued erratic behavior had him leave in mid-production. What remained of his work had him playing an anonymous ordinary guy hired to play 007, and seeming to lose himself in the role (an interesting reflection of Sellers' own existence) and actually followed the original novel somewhat. The movie in its entirety became a stitched-together string of self-indulgent lunacy, and Sellers' career went into a steep decline, only salvaged late in his brief life.
      • Early drafts of the script show a story as gritty and down-to-earth as the later 'reboot' - when producer Charles Feldman tried casting Sean Connery but couldn't meet his then-stellar fee of one million dollars, he opted to make it a farce.
    • On Her Majesty's Secret Service was originally going to follow Thunderball in production, most certainly starring Connery if it did. Many people consider the version we have, with George Lazenby, to be one of the best Bond movies - it could have been the Best. Movie. Ever.
    • The Bond Girls have their moments too:
      • Eunice Gayson's character Sylvia Trench was meant to be a recurring character, with a Running Gag of Bond sleeping with and then leaving her behind to go on missions. She ends up only appearing in Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Eunice Gayson was also offered the role of Moneypenny.
      • For Thunderball, Julie Christie was the first choice to play Domino Derval but was not hired after producer Cubby Broccoli found her too petite to be a Bond Girl. Raquel Welch and Faye Dunaway were then considered before Broccoli settled on Claudine Auger to play the part.
      • Lois Chiles was originally cast as Agent XXX/Major Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me, but pulled out and was replaced with Barbara Bach. Chiles would later go on to play Holly Goodhead in Moonraker, but this time she was a replacement for the initially cast Carole Bouquet, who also had to pull out, but was later cast as Melina Havelock in For Your Eyes Only.
      • Maria Grazia Cucinotta was the first choice for Elektra King in The World Is Not Enough, but her English was not up to par, and so the role was given to Sophie Marceau. As a consolation prize, she was given the small but memorable role of the Cigar Girl assassin.
    • Die Another Day was intended to kick off a new spinoff series of Bond-style spy movies starring Halle Berry's character, Jinx Johnson (especially after Berry became box office gold when she won an Oscar in the midst of filming). However, after a number of similar films tanked at the box office (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is the most-cited culprit), and the powers that be decided to reboot the main Bond series, the spin-off was cancelled. To add insult to Berry's injury, Catwoman came out two years later. Yeah, ouch.
    • Recently a telegram sent by Ian Fleming in 1958 was discovered, in which he said he thought Alfred Hitchcock should direct Casino Royale as the first Bond movie. A scene in the movie Hitchcock (about the making of Psycho) has a studio exec pitching "Casino Royale" to Hitchcock, with Cary Grant as Bond. Hitchcock's response; "I already made that movie. It's called North by Northwest."
    • Around 1991, pre-production began on a third Timothy Dalton film, reportedly titled "The Property of a Lady." However, the legal issues swamping EON at the time prevented this film from ever emerging.
    • In 1999, Kevin McClory (who claimed to have co-written Thunderball and ended up getting Never Say Never Again made because of that) wanted to launch his own separate series of Bond films, beginning with "Warhead 2000 AD" which could have starred Liam Neeson as Bond.
    • Had the 1954 version of Casino Royale not fallen into obscurity, Ian Fleming would have seen a number of other Bond TV films made, including a script for what became For Your Eyes Only.
    • Before Tom Jones' iconic theme song was chosen to lead off Thunderball, several other pieces of music were considered. One, a song called "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang", was tried out with both Dionne Warwick and Goldfinger singer Shirley Bassey, but rejected (though its melody remained in the incidental score); another song considered was a tune called "Thunderball" by, of all people, Johnny Cash. And as one would expect, it sounds more like the theme for a Clint Eastwood western than a James Bond movie.
    • Blondie was originally approached to perform the theme song to For Your Eyes Only, but when they submitted their song it was refused in favor of one written by Bill Conti and Michael Leeson, and the band withdrew from the project. Their song later appeared in their 1982 albumHunter.
  • Transformers
    • The script originally had Soundwave sneaking into Air Force One to hack the military network, once escaping he would mass shift into a Hummer to search for Sam — and Ravage would be tracking down the American soldiers in South America. Once Michael Bay was brought on board he stated emphatically "No Mass Shifting!" The roles were divided into two teams with Blackout (the helicopter) and Scorponok being the closest Soundwave/Ravage analog and Barricade/Frenzy took on the role hunting down Sam and Blackout/Scorponok terrorizing the soldiers in the Middle East. The writers felt the reduced individual time with more robots would not have done Soundwave justice, and they rather not have Soundwave at all than do him wrong.
    • Sentinel Prime was originally going to be named Ultra Magnus. This was changed because they didn't want Magnus' name to be tarnished by betraying the Autobots. Alternatively, he just couldn't deal with that now.
  • Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol would've had a cameo by Peter Graves, the original actor to play Jim Phelps, the hero of the TV series, possibly out of goodwill that it would undo the damage the first film did to his reputation, but his untimely death on March 2010 put an end to those plans.
  • Superman V went through an incredible sequence of Executive Meddling and What Could Have Been, before finally resulting in Superman Returns. Some of the ideas tossed around included a giant mechanical spider, Supes being a normal guy who got his powers from his costume a'la Venom (the hell?), and Brainiac having a "gay R2-D2" as a sidekick. We're not making any of this up. It wasn't all bad, though; Kevin Smith was attached to the project at one point (after telling Warner Bros. execs that the other writers knew nothing about the mythos), and comics fan Alex Ford wrote a treatment that, though ultimately rejected, was praised as being well-written and respectful to the source material.
    • Kevin Smith tells the story of his involvement in Superman more fully in his "Evening With Kevin Smith" DVD, including the connection to Wild Wild West...
    • Then there's the JJ Abrams draft. Let's see... Krypton is designed to be like Naboo, and doesn't blow up; Kal-El is shipped away by his parents because of a coup. Clark's powers first manifest as a young boy, when he saves Ma Kent from a rapist landlord. Lex Luthor is a CIA agent pursuing proof of extraterrestrial life... because he's an alien himself. Superman dies in the climax, so Jor-El, still imprisoned on Krypton, kills himself so he can go into the afterlife and talk Superman out of being dead. And so much more what-the-fuckery.
    • The fifth Superman movie had been in the works since Superman IV: The Quest for Peace had came out. One of the earliest script treatments would have had Superman fighting Brainiac and dying (now, remember this: this was before The Death of Superman had even been thought up of) before being revived inside the shrunken city of Kandor and going off to stop Brainiac for good. Many other versions of the film took the Death storyline and ran with it, many of them using Doomsday as the catalysis for Supes' death with many convoluted ways of resurrecting him, including impregnating Lois, having his soul transferred to it and growing up incredibly quickly after birth.
    • After Kevin Smith exited, "Superman Lives", writer Wesley Strick was brought on to take a shot at it, and the results, in the words of i09, "would have made Batman & Robin look like The Dark Knight." Read more about that script here.
    • Among the people considered for the role of Clark/Kal-El in Superman Lives was none other than Nicolas Cage. And it was at one point to be directed by Tim Burton.
  • The first movie version of Watchmen, which was never made, looks like it would have been a much more typical humorous action heavy campy superhero flick. The fact that the project got stuck in Development Hell and was eventually dropped is probably proof of God's mercy.
    • In one script, the reason masked heroes are outlawed is when they fail to save the Statue of Liberty from being blown up by terrorists, and Ozymandias' plot was to open a time portal and kill Dr. Manhattan before he transformed, and it all would have ended with history being rewritten and the Watchmen ending up in a dumpster in OUR world.
    • Watchmen had a boatload of "What Could Have Been"s. Among them:
      • Terry Gilliam was at one point attached to be director. At this point, Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the part of Doctor Manhattan.
      • In 2004, Simon Pegg was in negotiations for the part of Rorschach and Joaquin Phoenix was considered for the part of Doctor Manhattan (who was designed to have visible intestines).
      • Jessica Alba, Milla Jovovich, and Jennifer Connelly were considered for the part of Silk Spectre II. One version of the script had the character being given "slingshot powers" from Doctor Manhattan.
      • Keanu Reeves tried for some time to get the part of Doctor Manhattan.
      • Jude Law, Lee Pace, and Tom Cruise all were considered for the part of Ozymandias.
      • Ron Perlman had discussed playing The Comedian.
  • An early script for Wild Wild West, written by none other than Shane Black, has been posted on the Internet, and it is far more faithful to the details of the original series than the version which finally made it to the screen. About the only thing that didn't get changed was the giant mechanical spider. What is it with producer Jon Peters and Giant Spiders, anyway?
  • The original script of The Truman Show had Truman living in a fake New York City, continued the story after Truman got out of his studio, and was a lot more disturbing. The director Peter Weir had the story rewritten to make it believable that people would want to watch The Truman Show, and hence made Truman's life more idyllic and escapist.
  • Thomas and the Magic Railroad was to have featured a human villain named "P.T. Boomer". Originally, it was he who had taken Lady out for a spin and crashed her (not Diesel 10) which caused Burnett to feel guilt. Boomer's motivation against Burnett was because he had taken his love interest Tasha from under his nose, and the reason for his return to Shining Time was to seek out Lady and destroy her. He was removed from the plot as test audiences apparently found him "too scary", leaving the filmakers to plaster over whatever they could. So late was his removal that he was still seen in the trailer yelling "I'll get you, you blue puffball!" and the only scene of him in the proper movie is a motorcyclist asking directions (and his line redubbed by another actor).
  • Rowan Atkinson's character in Love Actually was originally meant to be an angel, thereby explaining his eerie familiarity with characters who had never met him before. In his final scene he was meant to disappear while walking away from Liam Neeson in the airport. The whole idea was eventually scrapped and left us with a funny, if somewhat random, performance from Atkinson.
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • In the 1970s John Boorman was contracted by United Artists to direct an adaptation that would have collapsed the entire story into a single film. Among the many, many changes: Gimli would have been put in a hole and beaten in order to retrieve the password to Moria from his ancestral memory. Frodo and Galadriel would have had sexual intercourse (Celeborn didn't exist in Boorman's version of the story). Arwen would have become a teenaged spiritual guide with her role as Aragorn's love interest transferred to Éowyn. There would have been a scene where, after eating some strange mushrooms, the hobbits started having hallucinations. Frodo would have been fully naked twice (once during his healing in Rivendell, once during his torture in Cirith Ungol). Aragorn's healing of Éowyn would have taken place on the battlefield and given sexual overtones. Basically, it would have made everyone who cares about books cry. The project ultimately proved too expensive to finance at that time. Boorman later made the Arthurian epic Excalibur where he used special effects techniques, locations, and... let's say plot embellishments intended for the Tolkien project, more information of which can be found here.
    • The Peter Jackson-directed series
      • Orlando Bloom originally auditioned for the role of Faramir and almost got it until the powers that be decided he would make a much better Legolas.
      • Stuart Townsend was originally cast as Aragorn but was fired before filming began. The role was given to Viggo Mortensen instead.
      • Executive Meddling at one point suggested that the entire trilogy be condensed into one film, which would involve cutting the town of Bree and the Battle of Helm's Deep, "losing or using" Saruman, merging Rohan and Gondor by having Éowyn be Boromir's sister, shortening Rivendell and Moria, and having the Ents prevent the Uruk-hai from kidnapping Merry and Pippin. Thankfully, Jackson saw that would be "cutting out half the good stuff" and didn't do it.
      • There is talk that LOTR was considered as a movie project for The Beatles at one point - Paul as Frodo, Ringo as Sam, George as Gandalf, and John as Gollum - and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Word is that Tolkien rejected it flat out.
  • Gus van Sant was at one point in negotiations to direct The Time Traveler's Wife.
  • There are a surprising number of roles that were initially intended to be played by Anne Hathaway, namely Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera 2004, Katherine Heigl's character in Knocked Up, and Johanna in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
    • Speaking of Sweeney Todd, there's the matter of all the material from the stage musical that was cut from the film. Most notably, "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" was to be sung by a chorus of ghosts, which included Christopher Lee.
    • And speaking of The Phantom Of The Opera 2004, Hugh Jackman was apparently on the short list for the title role, but had other commitments at the time of filming. (While this wouldn't have solved all the film's problems, "Music of the Night" at least would have been awesome.) A much earlier Phantom film (late '90s) might have toplined Antonio Banderas, perhaps with Kate Winslet as Christine. And even earlier, if Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman (the original stage Christine) hadn't divorced when they had, she would have played the role in the film, alongside original Phantom Michael Crawford.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
    • The original concept of the Terminator Twosome was that the T-1000 was going to have the Shapeshifter Default Form of Kyle Reese and played by Michael Biehn, making for an even more interesting switch up of the first movie. They decided that it would be too confusing and it would involve an additional emotional subplot with Sarah recognizing his features. Instead they opted for the similarly built Robert Patrick to get the big guy (Arnold) and small guy fighting each other image.
    • Billy Idol was also picked to be the T-1000, but that plan was dropped when he broke his leg in a motorcycle accident.
    • Another early idea involved the Terminator and the T-1000 both being played by Arnold. This too would have been confusing, and was dropped.
    • WASP singer Blackie Lawless was also considered for the role of the T-1000.
  • The initially planned ending for Terminator Salvation was for John to die and Marcus to assume his appearance - then go evil and kill everyone. It was changed partly because some details were leaked and partly because it was too bleak.
  • Resident Evil
    • George Romero penned a screenplay that can still be found on the internet. In general, aside from making Chris Redfield into a Magical Native American and Jill's lover, the movie hangs together much better than the game it's based on.
    • Except for the robotic Hunters, Jill being the team captain rather than Wesker, Barry becoming a Scary Black Man who gets killed off, and the fact that Chris not only was Native American (Chris Red Field, get it?), he wasn't even a friggin' S.T.A.R.S. member.
  • "Manos" The Hands of Fate was supposed to have a sequel, which is why Torgo escapes from the house toward the end. However, its incredibly poor quality prevented that from happening.
    • And Torgo's actor committing suicide...
  • Michael Jackson really wanted to get into acting after he became a megastar, but those ambitions never amounted to much. Among the could-have-beens:
    • Playing Peter Pan. Jackson is said to have never forgiven Steven Spielberg for not casting him in Hook (even though he would have been completely inappropriate for that version of Peter).
    • According to the book Michael Jackson Unauthorized, he had a conversation with Spielberg about playing the title character in the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (at the time, Spielberg's name was being thrown around as a potential director for it). Lloyd Webber has confirmed that Jackson wanted that role very, very badly and kept bringing it up with him, but he was never seriously considered for it.
    • In 1993, according to Entertainment Weekly, the first round of child molestation allegations killed a Jack and the Beanstalk adaptation and an original superhero movie, MidKnight. There was also talk earlier in '93 of mounting a remake of 7 Faces of Dr. Lao with him as the title character.
    • Plans were announced for at least two film projects that never came to fruition at the Turn of the Millennium: The Nightmare of Edgar Allan Poe and Wolfed, a werewolf movie based on Alexandre Dumas' The Wolf King. He would have played the lead roles in both. As the Edgar Allan Poe film was going to be written by a Smallville writer and directed by the guy who made Fear Dot Com, Cracked.com declared it the "worst movie Hollywood never made".
    • The Way of the Unicorn, the Endangered One was an animated feature that would have featured his voice. Faulty reporting on this one may have led to the "Michael Jackson was involved in the long-rumored live-action The Last Unicorn adaptation" rumor.
    • According to the book The Man Behind the Mask, Jackson was willing to appear in Men In Black II for free... if Will Smith was dropped from the film so he could play the protagonist. He wound up in a cameo instead. The scene in question is a little awkward.
    • According to brother Jermaine's book You Are Not Alone, Jackson was all set to campaign for the role of Willy Wonka in the second Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptation...then he was accused of child molestation for a second time, and that became impossible. Colleague/producer Marc Schaffel (in the biography Untouchable) goes further with this, claiming that Michael wrote a whole soundtrack for the movie and submitted it to Warner Bros. in 2000, figuring that they would give him the lead on the basis of it. But though executives loved it, they were not comfortable casting him as Willy Wonka, and offered to find another role in the film for him in exchange for the soundtrack. Michael was too dead set on the lead role to allow this, so it fell through.
    • Untouchable also mentions that he was working on a King Tut project for years.
    • He was planning to co-direct, with Bryan Michael Stoller, a film adaptation of Jennings Michael Burch's They Cage the Animals at Night, a memoir of child abandonment and abuse in the orphanage/foster care system.
    • Jermaine has also claimed that Michael was supposed to be one of the founders of Dreamworks, alongside Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, and points to the resemblance of the Dreamworks logo to that of Michael's Neverland Valley Ranch — which was established as such in the late 1980s — as proof. (Both feature a boy sitting on a crescent moon.) For unknown reasons, Michael was left out when the plans were finalized. No one else has made similar claims about this, though, so take this with a grain of salt...
    • He wanted to be The Riddler in Batman Forever.
    • He also lobbied to play a Klingon(!) in Star Trek IV.
  • In Dan Aykroyd's original treatment for Ghostbusters the film took place in the future, ghostbusting was commonplace, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man would have appeared in the first twenty minutes. Ivan Reitman on the commentary for the film said that it would have cost 300 million dollars to make. To put this in perspective, Ghostbusters was made for about 30 million. In 1984 dollars.
    • Also, Dan was to have been joined by John Belushi (who died during writing, and later inspired Slimer) and Chevy Chase.
    • And Eddie Murphy would have played Winston.
    • Additionally, John Candy was the original choice for Louis Tully, who was conceived as an uptight businessman. According to the DVD commentary, however, Candy had horrible ideas for the character. He wanted to play him as an over-the-top German stereotype with dogs. Ivan Reitman thought that the movie already had enough dogs, and everyone involved agreed that John Candy just didn't get the character. They also agree that their subsequent choice of Rick Moranis and his choice to play Tully as a meek accountant (which he felt more comfortable playing) is much funnier than any of Candy's ideas were.
  • Give My Regards to Broad Street: Originally, the segment of the film after "Eleanor Rigby" proper and set in Victorian times (more or less) was to be set to normal classical music or be about six minutes shorter or both. Paul McCartney insisted on too many ideas for it to be short, and it's just as well: that segment does have a plot, and it contains a nice mixture of foreshadowing and Red Herrings which does add some badly-needed suspense and depth to what comes later. And Paul also figured that he could write his own classical. (The piece is titled "Eleanor's Dream," part from context and part from it leaning heavily on variations of the "Eleanor Rigby" theme.)
  • Transmetropolitan starring Patrick Stewart as Spider Jerusalem.
  • Darkness Falls, in which the vengeful ghost of a murdered lady acts as a tooth fairy who kills you if you look at her, started production as a more psychological thriller simply called "The Tooth Fairy," without the murdered lady, and the actual Tooth Fairy (who has a side job as the Angel of Death) being the monster. The shift in focus came so late that an action figure based on the original Tooth Fairy design was released (and can be seen here, in all its lost glory.
  • They was originally conceived as being about evil cybernetic creatures that stole people's organs to replace their own, that could make everyone forget their victims had ever existed. The actual script wound up replacing the cyborgs with supernatural night-terrors whose victims would be dismissed as crazy if they sought help.
  • Paul Rudnick wrote the original draft of the screenplay of Sister Act with Bette Midler in mind for the lead. When she turned it down, Rudnick left the project, and it was re-tooled for Whoopi.
  • A short story about films that could have been.
  • Judy Garland
    • She was supposed to star in three MGM musicals that were made without her: The Barkleys of Broadway (which was supposed to follow up on the success of Garland and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade but instead reunited Astaire with his old partner Ginger Rogers), Annie Get Your Gun (which Garland was partially filmed in before being replaced by Betty Hutton) and Show Boat (where Ava Gardner played the part written for Garland).
    • Judy was also, much later, slated to play Helen Lawson in the extremely notorious film version of Jacqueline Susann's novel The Valley of the Dolls, but proved so unreliable by that point she never got past the screen test stage.
  • And then there's Project 880, the early "scriptment" for a little movie called Avatar. Generally speaking, it hits the same basic plot points, but is also much longer and much more detailed, explaining many things that ended up being plot holes in the final film. There are also many interesting lost subplots. Perhaps they could be sequel fodder...
  • The three henchmen at the beginning of Once Upon a Time in the West were originally to be played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach. But since Eastwood was unavailable, Sergio Leone scrapped this.
  • Peter Sellers' death in 1980 affected or scuppered several projects:
    • He was to topline a remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours and an original comedy called Lovesick; both projects were eventually filmed as Dudley Moore vehicles.
    • Grossing Out was a satire about arms dealers to be scripted by Terry Southern (who wrote the source novel for The Magic Christian and co-wrote the Doctor Strangelove screenplay) and directed by Hal Ashby (who had directed Sellers in Being There).
    • Most famously Romance of the Pink Panther was a Grand Finale for the franchise that Sellers was co-writing prior to his death and for which Blake Edwards was well paid not to be involved in (directors that were attached: Sidney Poitier, then Clive Donner). The plot would have had Clouseau fall in love with a beautiful woman (Pamela Stephenson) without realizing that she's "The Frog", the jewel thief he's trying to capture. United Artists tried to revive this project as a Dudley Moore vehicle (again!), but Moore would not play Clouseau unless Edwards was involved. Edwards didn't want to shoot that script, Moore moved on, and we got the Clip Show of Trail of... and Replacement Scrappy of Curse of... instead.
  • The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes would have had Peter O'Toole as Holmes and Peter Sellers as Dr. Watson if the director's original wishes had been met.
    • And it would have been a three-hour film with an intermission intended for roadshow engagements.
  • Laurence Olivier was approached for the supporting role of Benjamin Rand in Being There — which would have given the world the spectacle of him sharing scenes with fellow Brit superstar Peter Sellers — but turned it down when he found out what Shirley MacLaine would be doing in the "I like to watch" scene. When you consider all the roles he did take late in life, the fact that he passed on the role that won Melvyn Douglas his second Oscar does not speak well for his judgment.
  • Darren Aronofsky was one of Christopher Nolan's choices to direct a new Superman film. He eventually decided on Zack Snyder, but it would have been interesting...
  • Before Phil Hartman's death, there were plans for him to appear as his The Simpsons character Troy McClure in a live action film. According to Matt Groening the idea never "got further than enthusiasm", but "would have been really fun".
    • The plans for The Simpsons Movie are numerous: one script more focused on Bart and Lisa and co-starred Simon Pegg, another had the Simpsons being filmed as part of a reality TV show, with Will Ferrell as the show's producer, and two Simpsons episodes were originally thought up as feature-length scripts for the movie: "Kamp Krusty,"note  and "Bonfire of the Manatees"note .
  • River Phoenix was on the cusp of being a breakout star when he died, resulting in him being replaced for roles he had been slated for:
    • Daniel Malloy, the protagonist of Interview With A Vampire. The role went to Christian Slater, who donated his salary to charities Phoenix supported.
    • Izzy Singer, in Safe Passage. He was played by Sean Astin
    • Cleve Jones, in Gus Van Sant's Milk. The movie was in development hell for more than a decade, until Van Sant finally produced Milk, with Emile Hirsch playing Jones.
    • Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries. Leonardo Di Caprio portrayed him.
    • The lead role in a Neil Jordan/John Boorman movie Broken Dreams. The movie remains on hold.
    • When River died, he was starring in Dark Blood. The film was left unfinished for almost twenty years, before the film was recut and due for release in 2012.
  • Ever wondered why Flash Gordon and Ming The Merciless are included in the closing credits of A Christmas Story? It's because the script originally had a scene where Ralphie fantasizes about helping out Flash Gordon with a BB gun. It was filmed but got cut at the last minute.
  • The Magnificent Ambersons, directed by Orson Welles. Perhaps the most tragic example of this trope in cinema history, the film was re-edited by the studio while he was out of the country. They then burned the footage they removed to make sure the cuts were irreversible.
    • While we're talking about Welles, he also planned, but never made, a version of Heart of Darkness
    • Parodied in the long-running "rumor" of a partly completed film by Orson Welles called... Batman.
  • John Carpenter intended the Halloween series to be an anthology franchise, each telling a completely unrelated horror story. Unfortunately, Executive Meddling forced the second film to be a direct sequel to the first, and so when he tried to re-implement the idea with the third film, there was a massive fan rebellion over how it had nothing to do with Michael Myers. This meant the later sequels also focused on Myers leaving film three as an absurd aberration dropped in the middle of the story.
    • Carpenter and producer Debra Hill have stated several times that Christopher Lee was their first choice for the role of Dr. Loomis. He turned down the role. He now calls it the biggest mistake of his career.
      • Apparently, the part of Loomis was also offered to Lee's best friend and frequent co-star, Peter Cushing. His agent evidently hated the idea. It is unknown if Cushing ever actually read the script.
  • A scene that was never filmed for Steel would have had John Henry Irons visiting a disability counselor after Sparky ended up in a wheelchair. The counselor (in a wheelchair himself) would note John's S-Shield tattoo, and talk about the responsibility that comes with that symbol, inspiring him to become Steel. Unfortunately, Christopher Reeve couldn't make it, and without him in the role the entire point of the scene was gone.
  • Jeff Bridges was considered for the part of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. In fact, according to the IMDB pages, the screenwriter said he wrote the part with him in mind.
  • Kate Bosworth was the first choice for the dominatrix character of Gail in Sin City
  • Michael Madsen was originally slated to play Bud White in L.A. Confidential.
  • Ben Stiller originally wrote Tropic Thunder intending to play Tugg Speedman's agent Rick Peck himself, with Keanu Reeves as Speedman. Then, Owen Wilson was going to play Peck, but after his attempted suicide he was replaced by Matthew McConaughey. Also, Mos Def turned down the role of Alpa Chino.
  • Monica Bellucci was originally slated to play Mina Harker in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but scheduling conflicts scuppered what could have been mind-fryingly awesome.
  • Big Trouble in Little China
    • It was originally intended to be a Western, according to Word of God. The starting notion was for it to be about a cowboy who gets pulled into a weird supernatural underground on a trek to find his stolen horse. I don't remember why they said they changed it, but you can clearly see Kurt Russell (by his own admission too) still blatantly channeling John Wayne.
    • Rumor has it that it was intended as a sequel to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. This is in fact not true, but may derive from the fact that W.D. Richter, the director of Buckaroo Banzai, wrote a draft of the script for Little China.
  • Hitman was screwed up in the last moment by Executive Meddling. The near-final script, floating in the Internet, has no mention of where did Number 47 come from, no mention of the infamous train swordfight scene, more backstory for Nika and the Big Bad, 47 is chased by Spetsnaz instead of the Agency, a shootout between 47 and Spetsnaz commandos on a moving train (and they're rappeling from helicopters, no less!), Agent Markov being The Man Behind the Man and Mike Whittier foiling his plan by giving the recording from the bug he planted on him to a Russian general.
  • Guillermo del Toro's The Hobbit.
    • And his At The Mountains Of Madness. If ever there was an idea that lent itself to 3D, it would have been del Toro doing Lovecraft...
  • Back in 1998, House of the Dead was reported as being produced by Dreamworks with Bob Dylan's son as director... Instead, we get Uwe Boll.
  • Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire was originally going to end with Cassiel also becoming human...and joining Damiel and Marion for a big pie fight. This is for the better, since a wacky pie fight would be a strange way to end a film that isn't at all a comedy.
  • When production began on the first Police Academy movie, Bruce Willis, Judge Reinhold, Tom Hanks, and Michael Keaton all auditioned for the role of Carey Mahoney, before it ended up going to Steve Guttenberg.
    • Also, Warner Bros. originally offered the role of Commandant Eric Lassard to Robert Conrad, who turned it down and regretted it later.
  • Two Hundred Motels, Frank Zappa's intended fantasy about the things that can make a band go crazy during a tour, had a series of troubles during the production, finishing with only a third of the script filmed. A new plot was made in the editing room with the material gathered, and was released in 1971.
    • Also by Zappa, was 1969 project Uncle Meat, which was aborted in an even earlier stage of production. A direct-to-video release in 1987 gathered the little that was filmed, including behind the scenes and footage of live concerts with spoken and musical material that were to be worked upon in the film. Although the movie project remained in obscurity, the soundtrack was released in 1969 and is regarded by fans as a high point in Zappa's career.
  • Vileness Fats, an abandoned project of avant-garde multimedia band The Residents, had only two-thirds of an unfinished script filmed. Two condensed versions were released, in 1984 and 2001. The story dealt with the war between the village of Vileness Fats and the Atomic Shopping Carts.
  • A feature film featuring the Sex Pistols called Who Killed Bambi? started production in 1978. The director was Russ Meyer and one of the writers was Roger Ebert. After only a few days of filming had been done the studio pulled the plug.
  • Extensive changes were made from the early scripts of Hellraiser: Bloodline. A notable one being that Angelique was supposed to be served by a troupe of demon clowns, leading to a sort of Order Versus Chaos dynamic between her and the Cenobites. The movie kept one scene from this, in which Cenobite Angelique admires her human form in a mirror. Other changes include the fates of characters, and an added backstory for the Twin Cenobite, who's origin was left unknown in the original script. By and large, the script was far more well received by the fans then the movie itself.
  • For Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee originally wanted Jet Li for Chow Yun-Fat's role and Shu Qi for Zhang Ziyi's. Jet Li turned it down due to his wife's pregnancy, Shu Qi was pulled out of the film by her manager - to do a Coca Cola commercial, no less.
  • Even Snopes can't confirm if it's true or not, but supposedly the original version of Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 was Smokey IS the Bandit, and had Jackie Gleason playing both Buford T. Justice and a Bandit-equivalent (with Burt Reynolds just providing a cameo). This proved so confusing for test audiences that the film was reshot with Jerry Reed in the latter role.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Who wants to try imagining Adam Sandler as the Bear Jew, Simon Pegg or Tim Roth as Lt. Archie Hicox, and/or Leonardo DiCaprio as Col. Hans Landa? Hard, isn't it?
  • The Sandman, as directed and written by Roger Avary with aid from the guys who went on to write Pirates of the Caribbean. The original script blended Preludes and Nocturnes and A Doll's House with the meeting of the Endless that opens Season of Mists, so you have Morpheus trying to reclaim the symbols of his office while trying to stop The Corinthian from using Rose Walker to take over the Dreaming. Then Jon Peters (yup, that guy again) got his hands on the script, and tried to insert, among other things: Morpheus in tights; Morpheus talking even more pretentiously than he already does; Morpheus engaging The Corinthian in hand-to-hand combat; and that damned mechanical spider. Gaiman took one look at the script after Peters was done with it, declared it a work on unparalleled crap, and the film has rested in Development Hell ever since.
  • The feature film version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was projected to star Henry Fonda as George and Bette Davis as Martha, which would have made the famous "What a dump!" scene that much more deliciously ironic. The then-very-hot couple of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor professed interest in the project and the original casting was scrapped.
  • I Am Legend initially began development as a project for Ridley Scott to direct and would have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer Connelly. Due to budget reasons, this version never happened and instead we got the Will Smith version.
  • Gremlins was initially envisioned as a much darker and more violent film, with the Gremlins actually EATING people alive, and no good mogwai like Gizmo. The first draft (which Joe Dante never even read) had the main characters as prepubescent children, Steven Spielberg had that changed because he found that to be too similar to ET The Extra Terrestrial. You can read the second draft of Gremlins Here.
  • If you thought The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was bad, then you might want to hear what story creature effects creator John Buechler had in mind for the film when he was considered as a director: "Oddly enough, I was actually up to direct this thing at one time, but they didn't like my take on it. I would have made it a dark horror film, the kids would have been spawned from radioactive sludge which found it's way into a garbage can filled with broken dolls. The Garbage Pail Kids would have been of course killers, but nobody liked that scenario... Think a bunch of grotesque Chuckys running around..." Yikes
  • This article explains what Paramount Pictures had in mind for Twilight the movie, since they originally picked up the rights to it. Their script versions changed Bella from a clumsy damsel to an Action Girl track star who became a vampire in the first movie rather than the final movie. In some versions, her dad also died. The studio also wanted to focus more on action elements to pull in a male audience. (In their words, the book was just becoming popular at the time, and they didn't think it had the fan base to sell the love story alone). So they added a Korean FBI agent who hunted vampires and SWAT officers and vampires fighting each other in the woods. Stephanie Meyer was understandably not pleased. Paramount lost interest and Summit Entertainment picked it up and made a more faithful-to-the-book adaptation. One can't help but wonder why Paramount didn't just make their own vampire movie instead of bothering to get the rights to Twilight with the intention of changing everything
  • Sam Jackson auditioned for the role of Mr. Orange's contact in Reservoir Dogs. There was also a point during the preproduction for Pulp Fiction when he was nearly replaced in the part of Jules by Phil Calderon (who went on to play Paul the bartender). Jackson got wind of the possibility, went back and re-auditioned, cementing himself as Jules.
  • Originally, Jaws 3D was supposed to be a parody, done by National Lampoon, called Jaws 3: People 0, with a shark killing off all people linked to Jaws, starting with Peter Benchley in a swimming pool. Steven Spielberg himself squashed the production by threatening to never work with Universal again if they went through with production.
  • When Grease became a huge hit, there were plans for at least three sequels and a TV series. However, when Grease 2 bombed, these plans were scrapped.
    • Years before the existing Grease film came to be, Ralph Bakshi and Steve Krantz had acquired the rights and had wanted to do an animated version of the musical. After their partnership fell through, the film rights were passed to Allan Carr.
    • Porn star Harry Reems (of Deep Throat fame) secured the role of Coach Calhoun (a role he'd played in the stage version). The producers, worried Reems' infamy would hurt the box office, replaced him with Sid Ceasar.
  • In the DVD special features for Freddy vs. Jason, it's mentioned that the writers had, not too seriously, considered ending the film with a scene of both of its superstar killers in Hell, charging at each other in a rage ... only to be ensnared in chains, and confronted by Pinhead from the Hellraiser films, saying: "Gentlemen, is there a problem?" This one never even got past the level of a production-crew joke, as New Line never had the rights to Hellraiser or its characters, but still rates a mention as a What Could Have Been.
    • One of the sequel ideas involved the two teaming up to fight Michael Myers. The other involved Ash joining the fray (this would later be done in comic book format).
  • This website has a huge amount of unmade Kaiju films on it. some of them we'd rather stay unmade, like Crackodile, but others like King Kong Vs. Frankenstein and Ray Harryhausen's unmade film Force of the Trojans makes one nostalgic for the greatness that never was.
  • There was also the infamous Stanley Kubrick Napoleon movie, which was scrapped because a big budget film about the battle of Waterloo starring Rod Steiger as Napoleon had tanked at the box office, which caused studios to back off financing Kubrick's Napoleon epic. He made A Clockwork Orange instead.
    • Most of the ideas he had for filming Napoleon were also recycled when Kubrick shot "Barry Lyndon."
  • Francis Ford Coppola could-have-beens: Megalopolis, about an architect who tries to bring about Utopia in New York, supposedly after some great disaster, was one. Another would have been a Pinocchio adaptation.
  • David Lynch has had a few projects that turned out like this, including his followup to Eraserhead, "Ronnie Rocket, and the film "One Saliva Bubble"
  • Anybody curious about what would have happened if Ayn Rand's unmade film "Red Pawn" about a woman trying to free a prisoner from Soviet Russia were ever made?
  • Giorgio Moroder won rights to produce his '80s pop-music version of Metropolis, outbidding David Bowie.
  • George Miller was set to make a live-action Justice League film that had been cast. Armie Hammer (the twins from The Social Network) was cast as Batman and said that he had underwent costume tests and put on the Batsuit. In addition, Michael Gough was set to reprise his role as Alfred from the 1989-97 Batman film series. Other cast members included Common as Green Lantern, Adam Brody as the Flash, and supermodel Megan Gale as Wonder Woman. Weta Workshop was attached to create the costumes and visual effects for the film before its cancellation in 2008.
  • The original protagonist in the screenplay for Gregg Bishop's Dance of the Dead was not Jimmy, but a troubled girl named Lucy who was going to move into town at the beginning of the film, and the zombie epidemic was going to be one more example of trouble that followed her. On the first day of shooting, the girl meant to play Lucy walked onto the set and told the filmmakers she didn't want to do it anymore, forcing them to completely write her out of the story completely. As explained on the DVD commentary, they didn't know it at the time, but this was a blessing in disguise, because once they started shooting the film as we currently have it, they realized the character of Lucy completely sucked.
  • The film Old School was originally written to be a comedic parody of the film Fight Club. However, the studio decided that film wasn't well known enough (at the time the script was written, the film was only known as a box office flop) and instead became more of a film in the vein of Animal House and the director's previous film Road Trip. However, some pieces of the original script remain in the final film (such as Luke Wilson's character never having to pay for anything at the local diner).
  • There are several horror movies that never were on this list, some of which have been mentioned here, but amongst those that haven't:
    • A sequel to the bizarre horror film Society, supposedly giving greater detail on the society of old-money, blue-blood shape-shifting monsters
    • Kalidescope, an Alfred Hitchcock film about a serial killer that was supposed to be made with all new filmmaking techniques
    • Two sequels to Peter Jackson's Bad Taste!
    • House of Reanimator, a sequel to the Re-Animator series that has a plot involving Herbert West re-animating the effing Vice President of the USA!
    • The Steven Spielberg film Night Skies, a film about aliens tormenting a family, which evolved into ETTheExtraTerrestrial when Spielberg wanted to do something less dark (the dark elements gelled into Poltergeist), and latched onto a subplot about a friendly one of the aliens befriending the family's child to build a movie around. Supposedly Rick Baker made a really cool special effects model for one of the aliens, but there appears to be no pictures of it around.
  • Howard Stern was going to originally make a Fartman movie, which supposedly had a pretty good script, but the deal fell apart over the fact that Stern didn't want to relinquish the merchandising rights.
  • This topic has an excellent overview of some great SF films never made. Notable ones include:
    • Several unmade sequels to The Abominable Dr. Phibes
    • Several unmade Ed Wood movies, including Ghouls On The Moon, The Day The Mummies Danced, Beach Blanket Bloodbath, Dr. Ackula, The Ghoul Goes West, and two pilots for his TV show.
    • George Romero's The Stand
    • Hammer Horror's Vampirella
    • Screaming Room Only, a film about a psychic, tormented teenager who psychically manifests various monsters against his tormentors.
    • A cracked-out horror film called Bloody Twilight starring John Carradine and Lon Cheney Jr. as themselves (Although in this film Carradine is literally a real vampire, and Chaney a real werewolf), hypnotizing hippies to kill directors they felt had wronged them.
    • A Macekre of Godzilla's Counterattack called The Volcano Monsters with all new footage for the human actors and the story partially set in Chinatown to explain all the Asian architecture. Godzilla and Angirus would have been turned into an ordinary T-Rex and Anklyosaur.
    • A movie to be produced in the 70s by Charlie Chaplin shortly before his death called The Freak about a woman in South America with wings.
    • Choice Cuts, a film about a guy cut up to provide parts for Vietnam Veterans who's head was preserved by a mad scientist. Due to a tumor he can control these parts from a distance and inducing their holders to kill. At some point in the movie the guys' girlfriend would have found his head and taken it to recover all his parts.
  • Apparently the short that this trailer is for, about a man with an ice cream cone for a head on the run from the mob, apparently was going to be made into a movie, called Swirlee. It was supposed to be fairly serious, described as "Dick Tracy and Edward Scissorhands meets Mean Streets". But, unfortunately, the execs didn't get it and wanted to make it a kids movie. And thus it stayed unmade.
  • Charles Band has a huge amount of these. Most notably, there was proposed an epic three-part Puppet Master trilogy where the puppets would fight the Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein's monster.
  • Christopher Nolan initially thought of Inception as a horror film, before deciding to turn it into a heist movie. The shade haunting Cobb throughout the film was originally going to be his business parter, but Nolan changed it to his wife since he felt that created a stronger emotional connection between the two. He also saw it as a small, low budget affair but we all know how well that turned out.
  • The 1984 comedy Best Defense with Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy originally only starred Moore. When it tested poorly, they filmed extra scenes featuring Murphy (he doesn't interact with any of the other characters — his scenes are set two years later) and inserted them in, hoping it would attract people to the film. Unfortunately, the movie was blasted by critics and was a flop with audiences.
  • Amongst the most famous is Peter Jackson's aborted HALO film. Neill Blomkamp was to direct it, and when it fell through, Jackson gave Blomkamp $30 million to go make a feature version of his short film "Alive in Joburg". The result was District 9, making it a case where What Could Have Been still resulted in something awesome.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had a number of things planned out both before and during filming (see here for an early draft):
    • Before the usage of CGI and the armored suits, it was planned to be done in the style of the main series, something that would be done in Turbo A Power Rangers Movie.
    • The helmets were originally molded without the visors and faceplates, allowing them to show off emotions. This quickly got scuttled when they realized they were not supposed to do that sort of thing, and that footage shot without the visors looked awful.
    • The Oozemen were originally just rats, but the costumes were so horrible, they got scuttled as well. The rat costumes turned up in the TV series, as part of a small number of episodes filmed in Australia (the movie's filming location) when filming on the movie overran and started eating into the series' shooting schedule.
    • Originally, when Ivan Ooze zapped the Tengu Warriors, they were supposed to turn into the Tengu Queen, who'd return to Phaedos and attack the Rangers again. This didn't happen, but the character of the Tengu Queen was used for the Game Boy game.
    • Cathrine Sutherland, who'd go on to play Kathrine "Kat" Hillard in the series proper, auditioned for the part of Dulcea.
    • There was a scene filmed where the Rangers, after getting their Ninjetti powers, train to get used to them before going off to get the Great Power. This scene was dropped after the shuffling around of who was playing Dulcea.
    • When the Rangers get to the temple of the Great Power and enter it, they were supposed to use the crests on their ninja uniforms to reflect back the light and activate the powers, with a brief moment of Kimberly using her crest to check herself over. This was replaced with the battle against the stone gatekeepers.
    • Zordon's revival was supposed to be before the final fight with Ivan, but was swapped around in the final version. The Sega Genesis game version keeps the original order.
  • This 1996 trailer for Blue Planet, a planned animated movie by then Rainbow Studios (now THQ), with a console game tie-in. The studio was unable to put together the funding; and the existing animation sequences were incorporated into the game, which was released as Deadly Tide. For a while after the film project was dropped, a number of fans created a (now defunct) website called savetheblueplanet.com to try and drum up enough support to get the film made. The trailer developed a large fanbase, mainly for its opening sequence Take That at Disney/Pixar films Toy Story and A Bug's Life, and use of Rob Zombie's "More Human Than Human" as the soundtrack.
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marilyn Manson were planning to team up on a sequel to El Topo called Abelcain, which was supposed to be ready for a 2005 release. However, budget problems and a lawsuit with El Topo's American distributor Allan Klein over royalties and sequel rights caused the project to get delayed and later canceled. The lawsuit was eventually settled and El Topo got a DVD release in 2007.
  • In Men In Black, the Arquillians subplot was originally going to involve the Baltians, a rival alien race that was going to return a galaxy to the Arquillians as a sign of peace. Scenes from this version of the film can be seen in the "Metamorphosis of MiB" featurette on the DVD.
  • Originally, the 2010 Robin Hood film was supposed to have been a film called Nottingham, which have had the Sheriff of Nottingham as the main protagonist instead of Robin Hood. The plot would have essentially been the Sheriff investigating a series of murders in Nottingham, with Robin Hood as the main culprit. Robin Hood himself would be a Jerkass, but ultimately innocent and being framed, and the film's climax would have been the city being sieged by the armies of both Prince John and King Richard as the Sheriff desperately tried to find the identity of the killer. And the Sheriff would have done this using actual 12th century crime investigation techniques. However, when Ridley Scott was signed on as director he played with making Robin and the Sheriff the same person, then changed the story completely into a origin story involving a French invasion and the Magna Carta.
  • At one point, Alan Rickman was being considered for the lead role in Four Weddings and a Funeral. The writer, Richard Curtis, fought for him, but in the end it was decided he was too old for the part.
    • Jeanne Tripplehorn was originally cast as Carrie, but had to back out for personal reasons. Melanie Griffith and Brooke Shields were both offered the part, but turned it down.
    • Rowan Atkinson's part was nearly done by Michael Sheen, since the producers were worried about it being The Cameo.
  • Advise and Consent almost had Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. cast as a senator from Georgia.
  • Peter Jackson was asked to write a script for what would have been the sixth A Nightmare on Elm Street film: His idea would have started out with a weakened Freddy Krueger who no one takes seriously anymore, to the point where teens made a game of deliberately going to the dream world to beat him up. Once Freddy does start gaining power again, the main plot is kicked off by a boy having to enter the dream world to rescue his father. This script was never used and we got Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare instead.
    • Wes Craven had proposed the concept of Freddy invading the real world and coming after people who were working on a Nightmare On Elm Street sequel back when they were starting to develop the third movie: Much later he used the same basic idea for Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
      • Speaking about Wes Craven's New Nightmare, Wes Craven wanted Johnny Depp to make a cameo but didn't ask him since he was working on Ed Wood at the time. After the film was released, Craven bumped into Depp and told him about it. Depp said he would have done it if Craven had asked.
  • Robert Altman had a few movies that never got made due to other circumstances. The first was Wild Card, which was a baseball comedy with Bill Murray as a pitcher trying to lead his team into the then-new Wild Card spot in the MLB Playoffs. The project got scrapped days before filming was to start due to a president change at MGM and the new president feeling the film was too expensive. The second was a film called Paint, which was a comedy about an art heist and the suspects in the robbery. This was set to start filming in early 2004 but Altman contracted cancer (which he eventually passed away from in 2006) and the film had to be canceled.
  • In the early 1990's, two adaptations of The Three Musketeers were in the works. The first one (by Disney) was completed and released in 1993. The second one (by Tristar Pictures) was canceled in pre-production due to the other film. Who was attached to play D'Artagnan in this version? None other than Johnny Depp.
  • Harrison Ford
  • Saw. There were originally supposed to be 8 films. Thankfully, because of Saw VI's lackluster box office draw and Executive Meddling, what would have been Saws VII and VIII were combined into Saw 3D.
  • Early attempts to adapt V for Vendetta to film were a lot more... surreal than what was eventually produced, and included such things as the various government agencies (the Eye, the Finger, etc) being based out of buildings shaped like the organs they were named after, Britain reduced to 1880s-level technology, and the fingermen being mutated, satyr-like creatures.
  • In the late '90s, Max Fleischer's son Richard "Dick" Fleischer worked on a full-length Betty Boop movie. A prequel following Betty's rise to fame in the Golden Age of Hollywood, it would have had legendary Broadway star Bernadette Peters voicing Betty, and it would have introduced Betty's estranged father Benny Boop into official canon. It was eventually cancelled due to a change in management at MGM, but some of the music and storyboards can be seen here.
  • According to some accounts, following the success of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Frank Capra planned a sequel, in which Mr. Deeds would find himself involved in politics. However, Gary Cooper wasn't available to reprise the role, so Mr. Deeds became Mr. Smith.
  • After their great success in Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke were to be reunited in a film version of the wonderful Broadway musical She Loves Me. Alas, a series of big-budget musical flops (not least among them Andrews' Star!) resulted in the project being cancelled.
  • American Beauty had a strange dream sequence where Lester imagines he is flying cut late into production. A much more significant change completely altered the film's point of view: the film originally would have begun and ended with Ricky and Jane on trial for Lester's murder.
  • Nosebleed was a film that had its production started in 2001 where a World Trade Center window washer, played by Jackie Chan, foils a terrorist plot. The film got scrapped for obvious reasons.
  • In 2006, Icon Productions said that it would adapt the book A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray into a movie. However, for whatever reason Icon relinquished the rights to the film and it will not be made in the forseeable future.
  • The musical Dream Sequence in Carefree was supposed to be filmed in Technicolor. This explains the song title, "I Used To Be Colorblind."
  • Apocalypse Now was the communal property of American Zoetrope; it was heavily developed by George Lucas, who wanted to direct it. However Francis Ford Coppola overruled him and took it for himself. One cannot help but wonder how different George Lucas's career would've been if he'd spent those months of hell in the Philippines instead of Coppola.
    • Of course, the idea was much older, originally having been shot during the 60s, on location in Vietnam in 16mm using real soldiers (and a real war), but this was scrapped, partly for safety reasons. Lucas had also made the film differently with Milius, with the ending being a scene where Willard and Kurtz defend themselves from an attack using a machine gun which Kurtz manned.
    • In addition, at the start of shooting, the role of Willard was played by Harvey Keitel. He was sacked after a week of shooting and replaced by Martin Sheen. This one event basically stopped Keitel's career in its tracks, and it wasn't until Reservoir Dogs that he finally started to get the attention of audiences and film makers.
  • There were once plans for a sequel to Gladiator, written by none other than Nick Cave. And what wonderfully batshit plans they would have been, with Maximus finding himself before the Roman gods (who are slowly dying), getting resurrected, and fighting to protect the persecuted Christians. Also, he'd be immortal, and the film would show him fighting throughout history, ending with him in the halls of the Pentagon.
  • There were plans in The Seventies to adapt Promises Promises, the Broadway musical version of The Apartment, into a movie. The plans got as far as Burt Bacharach and Hal David writing additional songs for it; one of them, "Seconds", would be recorded by Dionne Warwick.
  • Sammy Davis, Jr. wanted to play Bill the candy store owner in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, but the film-makers dismissed the idea as "kitschy", so the part went to Aubrey Woods instead. Davis then covered "The Candyman", and thus the song he would have sung in the film ended up being strongly associated with him anyway.
  • The original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film was closer in tone to the television series. But Whedon was just a scriptwriter then, and after the script was sold, the film was changed so much that even the creator said "They Changed It, Now It Sucks".
    • There's been talk for a few years now of a remake of the film, but Whedon wouldn't be involved much and no TV series characters would appear. This is because of a legal mish-mash made by the selling of the film script-the film is owned by the people who originally bought the script, but the series is still owned by Whedon and 20th Century Fox. Neither the actors or the fanbase were happy at all about it. Fortunately, it appears to have been shelved for now.
  • Highlander: The Source went trough many script rewrites and a director change during its production. In its earliest stage, director of the original film Russell Mulcahy was supposed to do the film, and it was to be a Prequel.
  • The original version of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie would have been an origin movie showing how Joel Robinson got captured and tossed up on the Satellite of Love, but fights with an executive working with the movie led creator Joel Hodgson to leave MST3K halfway through season 5.
    • There was a fifth host segment that was lopped out for some unknown reason. The host segment would've had an asteroid hit the Satellite of Love, damaging the air supply. Not a big deal, but Mike Nelson isn't Batman. So, the bots end up springing in to save the day and restore the air to the Satellite.
    • As well, there was an alternate ending to the movie. It would've had Tom distracting Dr. Forrester while Mike, Crow and Gypsy transformed and teleported an ant into Deep 13 as a MutAnt, who strangles Forrestor and knocks him out. At the end, Crow runs off and attempts to finish his dig to Earth using the chainsaw he found in Tom's room, completing a Brick Joke.
    • Two other ideas for the movie that were rejected by the studio were one where a being of pure logic and a being of pure energy meet on the Satellite of Love...and get into a wrestling match, and a cameo appearance by Kim Catrall...in lederhosen.
  • The prawns in District 9 were originally supposed to wear human clothes and other pieces of trash to protect their sensitive skin from the sun. And five different endings were shot, including one where Wikus made it onto the mothership, as did Koobus.
  • Before the 2011 adaptation, there was talk of adapting Green Lantern... as a comedy. Starring Jack Black. From a script written by Robert Smigel, where the lead (who's a completely original character, and none of the Lanterns from comics) qualifies as "without fear" because he's a victor at gross-out eating challenges in the vein of Fear Factor. Seeing as this news came out around the time of the "creative liberties of the Catwoman movie, there's a good reason it got killed in its crib.
  • The One was originally written with Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson in mind for the role of the inter-dimensional killer and his good double. However, Johnson chose to do The Scorpion King instead. When Jet Li signed on to do the film, they rewrote the script and removed a good number of his lines to leave more room for good old-fashioned "Jet Li asskicking". According to Word of God, the Rock doesn't need to speak a lot; Jet Li needs to speak even less. The Jet Li vs. Jet Li fight at the end of the film (with even Jason Statham not being able to do much in the face of such awesomeness) is likely the only reason to see the movie. Now imagine the Rock vs. the Rock with each giving the other the "eyebrow".
  • In the early 1970's, Jerry Lewis (of all people) wanted to adapt The Catcher in the Rye and star as Holden. As with many other attempts at doing the story, he was unable to get the rights. Lewis documents the ordeal in his book The Total Film-Maker.
  • Before Steven Soderbergh was signed on to direct Magic Mike, Channing Tatum wanted Nicolas Winding Refn to direct the film. Refn turned it down due to a busy schedule but you would have more than likely seen a totally different film than Soderbergh's serious semi-biopic on the film's star.
  • In the early 1970s, Bob Fosse was set to direct a movie adaptation of Chicago starring Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli and Goldie Hawn, but Fosse, Sinatra and Minnelli's schedules could never be worked out.
  • Prior to his untimely death, Chris Farley was offered to star in a biography of 1920s comedian Fatty Arbuckle.
  • After Larry Fine suffered a career-ending stroke, Moe Howard asked longtime friend and colleague Emil Sitka to be his replacement. A movie was planned, but fell through after Moe and Emil expressed concern about the film's financing and distribution. A few years later, the Stooges were offered a part in a comedy called The Jet Set. The day after Sitka agreed, Moe died, taking The Three Stooges with him. The movie was retooled as a softcore comedy with the surviving Ritz Brothers, and retitled Blazing Stewardesses.
  • When Dragonheart first began production, it was during the time when CGI wasn't that great. This meant that the production team needed other means to make the dragon, so they hired the Jim Henson company to build a dragon puppet. The puppet, or at least parts of it, was actually built, and a version of the campfire scene was actually filmed with it. However, when Jurassic Park was released, the team decided to go with the then cutting edge CGI used for the dinosaurs.
    • Its sequel was a lackluster direct-to-home video ordeal that used a noticeably less advanced rendering system, despite coming out 4 years later when CGI had both improved significantly and dropped in cost. One has to wonder - if they'd cared a bit more, or tried to make a theatrical sequel, how much better would the visuals have been compared to the first?
  • In Buffalo Soldiers, the protagonist invites out the daughter of the new boss purely to make her father angry. The father chases them to the club but doesn't make it. This was originally going to be a big car chase, but having run out of budget the father ended up not getting into the club because he's wearing the wrong kind of shoes.
  • In 1993, Arnold Schwarzenegger told Oprah Winfrey that he rejected out of hand a script that would have had him play a Tooth Fairy. Tooth Fairy from 2010, starring Dwayne Johnson, is likely the end result of the project after 17 years of on and off Development Hell.
  • When Joaquin Phoenix decided to make a return to acting, he was weighing two choices on which film to do. The one he made was The Master. The one that he turned down? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Therefore, we very nearly had two famed method actors play Abraham Lincoln in the same year.
  • Originally, Sam Rockwell was going to reprise his role as Batman in the sequel to Robin's Big Date that appears as one of the segments in Movie 43. For some strange reason, he pulled out and Jason Sudeikis took over. Also, the trademarks were supposed to appear but instead Batman got a shield that simply says "43".
  • According to the trailer for the 2000 version of Shaft, there was going to be a fistfight at an airport runway between Shaft and Wade. It was going to happen in the film, but Executive Meddling gave Jeffrey Wright's character Peoples Hernandez the more antagonistic role and the fight didn't make the final cut.
  • There were several different actors intended to be in the cast of Django Unchained:
    • Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Sacha Baron Cohen were originally cast before pulling out. Russell even shot some scenes but left due to creative differences (Tarantino was reworking the script during filming and cut much of Russell's character out).
    • Tarantino had originally wanted Will Smith to play Django. The two of them discussed it a lot, but according to Tarantino the script "wasn't 100 percent right" at the time and after agreeing to wait, he started testing other actors and decided that Jamie Foxx was perfect. In addition, it's been rumored that Smith feared that playing a slave out for revenge against his masters in a hard-R Western would tarnish his clean-cut "good guy" image.
    • Michael K. Williams was almost cast as Django, as was Idris Elba.
    • Chris Tucker was also in the running.
    • Jonah Hill was also intended to have a bigger role, but ended up playing a One-Scene Wonder.
  • The Tony Clifton Story was intended as Andy Kaufman's first starring vehicle. Focusing on his Alter Ego Acting persona of Tony Clifton, the plot follows Clifton's ascent to stardom when he accosts Kaufman — portrayed as a Nice Character, Mean Actor — at a restaurant. Kaufman convinces the Lounge Lizard Clifton that he's talented, but promotes him as the So Bad, It's Good act he actually is. When Clifton realizes he's a public laughingstock, he runs away...at which point the film cuts to an out-of-character Kaufman explaining to the audience that Clifton died before the third act of the film was shot, so Kaufman will play Clifton (intentionally poorly) for the remainder. In the climactic scene, as faux!Clifton returns from being stranded in the jungle and assumed dead to confront Kaufman at his own funeral, the "actual" Clifton returns to assume control of the film and give everyone a happy ending. This was all a bit much for Universal Pictures at the turn of The Eighties, and rewrites tried to simplify matters (i.e., the villain became an evil agent who caused trouble for both Kaufman and Clifton). Ultimately, the far more conventional Heartbeeps was Kaufman's first lead role in a film; when it bombed, The Tony Clifton Story was dead in the water.
  • There were plans for a fourth The Naked Gun movie titled Naked Gun 4 Score: And 3 Sequels Ago (or possibly Naked Gun 5, just to screw with people more). However, this was shelved when Leslie Nielsen passed away.
  • When casting The Italian Job (2003), Jason Statham was not the producers' first choice for Handsome Rob. Originally they wanted to go with a younger actor with classic movie-star good looks, being "Handsome Rob" and all. Eventually they decided instead to make his attractiveness into more of a state of mind than a purely physical thing, making him not conventionally handsome but still cocky and swaggering enough to make the ladies weak.
  • The Cannonball Run
    • It was originally planned as an action movie starring Steve McQueen. Unfortunately, he had to turn it down due to being terminally ill with cancer. Burt Reynolds was cast in the lead, and the film was rewritten as a comedy.
    • Reynolds himself only turned to acting after injuries derailed a promising football career at Florida State.
  • There were so many proposed actresses to play Cosette and Eponine in Les Miserables (2012) including Emma Watson, Jessica Biel, Evan Rachel Wood (who actually got the part) for Eponine, and possibly Taylor Swift and Lea Michele.
  • Acclaimed Austrian actor Klaus Marie Brandauer was originally cast as Captain Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October. He had been fitted for costumes and had attended several rehearsals when he was in an accident and broke both of his legs. Unable to proceed with filming, it was he who suggested that Sean Connery replace him. There is no doubt whatsoever that had Brandauer been able to continue, the movie would have had a very different feel.
  • Before the legendarily bad Roger Corman-produced The Fantastic Four, there were plans on making a film starting the Human Torch. This is the main reason why the Torch didn't show up in The Fantastic Four (1978) cartoon.
  • Tower Heist originally started as a 2005 movie concept from Eddie Murphy in which he would lead an ensemble black comedian cast as a group of disgruntled employees who would rob Donald Trump and the Trump Tower, affectionately titled Trump Heist. Aside from Murphy himself, the cast included Chris Tucker, Dave Chappelle Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, and Martin Lawrence; and at a later point swapped out the latter three with Chris Rock.
  • Wonder Woman
    • At one point, there were plans in 2001 for a film by Joel Silver, with the then-current script drafted by Todd Alcott. It was set to feature both Diana Prince and Donna Troy in the role of Wonder Woman. Donna would have been an ordinary woman that suddenly gained super powers similar to Diana's, and would spend the movie trying to locate her would-be mentor so both could fight off the wicked Dr. Psycho. But the script was also said to ditch Wonder Woman's classic costume in favor of giving her a black catsuit, although her classic uniform would be referenced at some point.
    • Joss Whedon became attached to the Wonder Woman project in 2005, but left two years later, citing Creative Differences with Warner Bros. over the direction of the film. This version would have covered Diana's meeting with Steve Trevor and her journey to the outside world. Cobie Smulders would have played Wonder Woman.
  • Masters of the Universe
    • There were plans to make a second film, this one involving cyborgs in the plot. However, interest in the He Man franchise began to wane at the time and the film was scrapped, what was already done fusing with the aborted Spider-Man film to become Cyborg.
    • The DC Comics adaptation placed in a scene that was cut from the original movie - the revelation that Eternia was future Earth.
  • In 1989 Debbie Gibson was set to make her starring film debut in Skirts for Columbia Pictures, with choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday making his big-screen debut as a director - but then-studio head Jon Peters put his foot down thusly:
    Jon Peters: No choreographer will ever direct a picture here!
    Executive: But what about Bob Fosse?
    Jon Peters: I don't want him, either.note 
  • Henry Cavill was called by one magazine, "the unluckiest man in Hollywood". There is a rumor that fans wrote in to have him play Cedric in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but he lost out to Robert Pattinson. Stephenie Meyer herself wanted him to play Edward Cullen in Twilight, but by the time production started, he was too old and again lost out to Pattinson. He also lost out to Daniel Craig for the role of James Bond in Casino Royale. Ironically, he also was nearly cast as Superman in Superman Returns, 8 years before he played Superman in Man of Steel.
  • The View Askewniverse
    • The ending to Dogma would have been a little different: originally, Silent Bob was to confront the Golgothan and one of the demon kids that were killed previously in the hospital after God is rescued which would have God turn the Golgothan into a bunch of flowers, but was cut.
    • There's also the original ending to Clerks which would have had Dante killed by a robber out of nowhere.
  • Scooby-Doo: Tim Curry was originally going to play Mondavarious, but he backed out when he found out that Scrappy-Doo was going to be in it. The role would be taken up by Rowan Atkinson.
  • The various Brothers Gibb were at times destined to have a much more illustrious film career....
    • In the late Sixties, a version of Hair was pitched, starring Barry as Berger and Maurice as Woof. Barry turned down the part as he refused to appear nude.
    • Andy Gibb was considered for the male lead in Xanadu, but turned down as his drug addiction was at an all-time high at this point.
    • Likewise, Andy was considered for the male lead in Grease 2, which ended up going to Maxwell Caulfield.
    • This has never been proven, but it seems logistical that Andy, whose career was at its peak at the time, would've been considered for the male lead in "Sgt. Pepper" alongside his brothers.
    • Maurice Gibb recorded a score for low-budget B-movie "The Supernaturals" - coincidentally starring Maxwell Caulfield - which was replaced in most editions of the film. Ironically, reviewers bashed the replacement score (which Maurice had nothing to do with), claiming it to be annoying and unnecessary.
  • The 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors was intended to be MUCH darker, not only including the infamous "Audrey and Seymour die and plants take over" ending, but featuring gorier shots such as Seymour feeding Orin's dismembered head to the plant and more of Seymour squeezing blood out of his finger, as well as a surreal dream sequence in the middle of "The Meek Shall Inherit" featuring a bleeding portrait of Mr. Mushnik. Only the "Don't Feed The Plants" ending has made it to an official release, though the other scrapped footage can be seen online thanks to the fairly recent discovery of an existing workprint.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show could have been considerably different in a number of ways:
    • Mick Jagger was originally slated to play Frank-N-Furter, before Tim Curry returned to the role.
    • Steve Martin originally auditioned for Brad Majors, while VINCENT FRIGGIN' PRICE auditioned for the Criminologist.
    • The creators asked Susan Sarandon to appear nude during "Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me," and she refused. (Ironically, as she would appear nude in many films later on.)
    • As is well known, the singing lips replaced a rather dull sequence of sci-fi film clips meant to accompany "Science Fiction Double Feature."
  • The entire "Rocky Horror" franchise may have worked out differently, had Richard O'Brien's 1979 sequel "Rocky Horror Shows His Heels" been accepted by Fox and not mutilated into "The Brad and Janet Show" (which in turn became "Shock Treatment"). Oddly enough, the unmade 1994 sequel "Revenge of the Old Queen" was a direct sequel to this script rather than acknowledging any of "Shock Treatment," which has led to quite a bit of confusion from fans who have read it.
    • Fan club founder Sal Piro once joked that if the terrible "Heels" script had seen production, the Rocky fan-base might not exist today. The relatively few fans who are aware of the contents of the script (which is kept under wraps for legal reasons) tend to agree with this sentiment.
    • No-budget Rocky fan film "Bedroom Scenes," which consists only of three individuals (Magenta, Columbia and an interviewer) conversing, was originally written as a much more involved film in which a character wakes up in Magenta and Columbia's bedroom, unaware of how he got there. He would then witness the events of RHPS unfold from 'behind the scenes,' culminating in his failure to prevent Columbia's murder.
      • Prior to becoming its own script, the character waking up in Magenta and Columbia's bedroom was originally a brief dream sequence in the script for an unmade indie flick titled "Hopelessly Devoted," which got as far as seeking music rights and location scouting before one of the lead actors passed away suddenly.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Rapper Common was offered the role of Heavy Duty's cousin Roadblock, but film screenwriter, Stuart Beattie, chose Heavy Duty instead.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation was originally slated for release in 2012, but was held back a year to do some reshoots with Channing Tatum, expanding Duke's role in the film. Carrie Vaughn suggests this expansion must have come at the cost of other scenes (such as a possible reaction shot from the British Prime Minister when London was destroyed or any characterization for Flint at all) which had to be cut to stay at a 110-minute running time.
  • There were scenes in the script for The Dreamers depicting much more blatant sexual relations between the characters of Matthew and Theo, but they were not filmed. Director Bertolucci said, "The gay sex was in the first script, but I had a feeling that it was just too much stuff. It became redundant." Actor Pitt said in interview, "It was in the script and it's what I'd signed to do. But they said we weren't going to do that."
  • Universal had a One Step Beyond movie in the works in 1983, but according to Paul Bartel Steven Spielberg indicated he wasn't too keen on another movie based on an anthology TV show coming out in competition with the one he was doing at Warner Bros... and as Starburst wrote, "at Universal, whatever Steven wants, Steven gets."
  • In the mid 1990's, Ted Turner was planning to get a Gilligan's Island movie produced with Adam Sandler as Gilligan and Chris Farley as The Skipper. Though the idea never got passed the development stage, you can't help but imagine what the end result would have been with Sandler and Farley's on-screen chemistry.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness:
    • Casting considered tapping Michael Dorn, who played Worf in TNG, to play one of the new-look Klingons. They ultimately decided not to "mix the old with the new".
    • Benecio del Toro was the filmmaker's original choice for the role of Harrison, but negotiations fell through. It's fascinating to imagine what he would have done as Khan.
  • The entire career of George Lucas might not have happened. In high school, he had aspirations of being a race car driver and did amateur races. Just before graduation, he was involved in a serious crash that destroyed his car. (Ironically, he survived because he was thrown from the wreck due to his seat belt failing.) After the crash, he decided to make movies instead. Interesting because there are two other possible outcomes: he might have become a race car driver or he could have died.
    • Lucas had also planned to become a pilot and filled out an application to join the Air Force. When he took his physical, he found out that he was diabetic and was turned down.
  • In the 1950's, Warner Bros. intended to film a number of titles in 3-D but didn't due to the trend dying. Titles that could have been in 3-D included East of Eden, the 1954 version of A Star is Born, The High and the Mighty and Mister Roberts.
  • World War Z:
    • An early treatment for the film (which was leaked in 2009) was much closer to the book, and had Brad Pitt's character (Gerry Lane) interviewing survivors after the outbreak.
    • Ed Harris and Bryan Cranston were originally intended to star in the film, but scheduling issues kept them from participating.
    • The last forty minutes of the movie were reshot when it became clear that there were much deeper plot issues than the filmmakers originally thought. Everything from the point where Gerry boards the plane leaving Israel is completely different. In the original version, the plane not only doesn't crash, but lands safely in Moscow. The passengers are rounded up by the military and are conscripted to fight the infected, and Gerry's phone is taken away. There's a Time Skip showing that he's formed an anti-infected unit that is utilizing the cold weather to take out as many of them as possible, and he later saves Segan from a Russian soldier who tries to rape her. He then gets his phone back and calls his wife, only to discover that she's selling her body to keep their kids safe in a refugee camp. The end of the movie had Gerry, Segan and a British soldier named Simon boarding a boat and traveling to the U.S. to rescue Gerry's family.
    • Matthew Fox (who appears in one scene of the film as the paratrooper who saves Gerry during the rooftop escape) originally had a much larger role as the man Kirin is prostituting herself to in the refugee camp in exchange for safety. He would have appeared in the original ending (and was likely planned for a sequel), but most of his scenes were cut.
    • The film originally had a more breakneck pace, with very little time focusing on character relationships. Several scenes (including Gerry and his family having breakfast, and a phone call Gerry makes to Kirin) were added to the film during the reshoots.
  • Originally, Elysium was about escaping genetic experiments getting out into the real world from a factory, the eponymous Elysium (which sounds a lot like Blomkamp's commercial for Adidas).
    • Blomkamp originally wanted Eminem for the lead but the latter dropped out after they couldn't film in Detroit.
    • Kruger was originally going to be an android, then he was changed to a human who would be turned into a cyborg after getting horribly injured, until they finally settled for having him be a regular human with a powered exoskeleton.
    • The original process for attaching the exoskeleton would have been far more graphic, requiring removing the subject's internal organs and replacing them with mechanical parts, and cutting off the top of the subject's skull in order to plug the control systems directly into the brain. This was likely dropped because it would pretty much eliminate Max's entire reason to want to go to Elysium.
  • At the 2009 D23 Expo, Robin Williams announced that he would star in a Disney comedy called Wedding Banned, which would have been about a divorced couple who kidnap their daughter from her own wedding so she wouldn't make the same mistakes they did. It ended up being cancelled after the failure of Old Dogs.
  • Quentin Tarantino was at one point interested in making a movie about Vic Vega aka Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction whom he revealed were brothers, it was to be titled "The Brothers V", the project was cancelled after Michael Madsen and John Travolta had aged to the point where they no longer looked like they did in their respective films.
  • The Lone Ranger was originally supposed to have a plot focusing more on supernatural elements and Native American mysticism, in keeping with the idea of Tonto being the big player. This mainly would've taken the form of werewolves, which would've explained the whole "silver bullet" thing. However, this draft was supposedly part of the initial $250 million proposal that Disney quickly shit-canned after John Carter underperformed; when the project was revamped to meet Disney's approval, it came more in line with the current script.
  • According to Mike Myers, less than a month before The Cat in the Hat Live-Action Adaptation was released, the producers of the film had already begun plans for a sequel based on The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, published just a year after the original children's book was released. However, when the film's critical and domestic commercial reaction came in, Theodore Geisel's (known by his pen name Dr. Seuss) widow Audrey Geisel levied sanctions declaring that live-action adaptations of her husband's works were forbidden, resulting in the shelving of the sequel. A script was never written.
  • Scottish director Lynne Ramsay was originally set to direct the film version of The Lovely Bones, and had written a script in which all the scenes of Susie in heaven are clearly shown as being in her grieving father's imagination, and where he has befriended Mr. Harvey, never suspecting him of Susie's murder.
  • Bean would have ended with Mr. Bean returning to the National Gallery, only to find it abandoned, so he ends up mailing himself back to the Leary family. (In truth, the staff of the Gallery staged the whole thing to drive Bean away.)
  • A deleted scene from Doctor Strangelove gave the film a Framing Device of being made by aliens, based on records found in an Earth bomb shelter After the End.
  • There was buzz of a movie version of the novel Gates of Fire, about the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, with George Clooney and Bruce Willis and directed by Michael Mann. It dined in Development Hell long enough to be shelved because of 300.
  • The rights to the remake of the 1976 movie Sparkle were bought by Whitney Houston's production company in the 1990s, and Aaliyah was intended to play the title character, however, she passed away in 2001 before the movie started production. In 2005 Raven-Symoné was also in talks to star in the movie, which was finally released in 2012 with Jordin Sparks as the lead.
  • Chris Pratt initially turned down the role of Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy because he felt like he was too fat for the lead role. He eventually ended up losing over 60 pounds to take the role. Pratt also auditioned for the role of Jake Sully in Avatar (the role which went to Sam Worthington) and Kirk in Star Trek (2009) (the role that went to Chris Pine). This may be somewhat of a subversion since Chris Pratt didn't think he would get either of those roles anyway.
  • Otto Preminger liked to have several film projects going at once, and he never got around to filming many of them:
    • In 1954, Preminger traveled to India, and then began work on The Wheel, a Hindu drama in which Mahatma Gandhi was to "play a symbolic role."
    • Preminger acquired the film rights to Alexander Fedoroff's novel The Side of the Angels, and had Elmer Bernstein compose a Title Theme Tune that could have been used to promote it. Nothing more came of this project.

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