Mickey Mouse was originally going to be named Mortimer Mouse, after Disney's pet mouse. However, a number of people, including his wife, convinced him that children wouldn't want to watch a character named Mortimer. That was when Disney's wife suggested the name be changed to Mickey. A character named Mortimer Mouse was later introduced as a rival of sorts for Mickey, in an animated short and in House of Mouse.
Mickey Mouse was only created because Disney was Screwed by the Studio on the earlier Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts he made at Universal. If not for that, who knows how long Walt Disney may have stayed at Universal working on Oswald cartoons.
The setting and plot of the series were originally supposed to be quite different from the finished result. The series was originally going to have a futuristic setting that was recreated into a pre-industrial society with heavy elements of Steam Punk. The original series summary from the Universe Bible shows that the planned plot started out largely similar, but it deviated to a greater extent as time went on. Everything involving the Earth King and the invasion of the Fire Nation by the Earth Kingdom was the exact opposite of what was originally planned. The Grand Finale was also originally going to have a scene of Zuko finding his mother, which was compressed into a Sequel Hook by the showrunners because they felt such a brief, drive-by scene resolving that plot point would be unsatisfactory.
Many of the characters were modified from their original concepts, in both small and important matters. Zuko originally had a pet messenger hawk, as seen in the pilot, but the writers realized this would not work in the series and it never appeared. Zuko's and Mai's comic "Going Home Again" was also originally going to reveal that Zuko had always carried a rock of hardened lava shaped like a heart that Mai gave him when they were children. Katara's name in the pilot was Kya, a name they used for her mother. More fundamentally, many female characters were added to the cast, some as gender-swapped versions of proposed male characters. Azula was originally supposed to be male, and the original plan for the second season shows no sign of any equivalents of Mai and Ty Lee. Toph was originally supposed to be a big man and look like the Earthbender in the opening, whose model appears to have been reused as Roku's earthbending teacher. After that but before her final designed Toph was changed into a teenaged boy and a love interest of Katara. Toph's original design even got a reference in the already very meta 'The Ember Island Players'. However, one of the most drastic alterations was the nature of Uncle Iroh who was, originally, supposed to be evil! The plan was for Zuko to fight his uncle in season 3 and learn that Iroh had taught him incorrect firebending all along, under Ozai's orders.
Behind the scenes, pacing issues necessitated changing the third season to twenty-one instead of twenty episodes, as Sozin's Comet was originally three episodes long instead of four. After realizing how rushed the finale would have been as a result, Mike and Bryan expanded it to four episodes.
Aang was originally going to be voiced by Mitchel Musso, yeah thatMitchel Musso
Judging by this concept art and premise from Fil Barlow's Deviantart the original concept for Captain N, originally known as Buddy Boy, was going to be very different. The only things that really survived from that iteration were a couple of the designs.
Ĉon Flux: There was supposed to be a straight-to-DVD animated Aeon Flux feature that never materialized, Peter Chung and Japhet Asher collaborated on a script that would focus more on a visual storytelling. For some reason at the last second the executives who greenlit it decided to can it. The rumor mill says that Peter Chung's comments regarding the Aeon Flux movie and how bad it was, worked against him.
Futurama was originally centered on a gruff deliveryman named Fry, who worked under evil overlord Mom in a dystopian future. The series was originally named Aloha Mars!, though it also had the working title of Doomsville at one point. These titles, among many others, were rejected until the network and creative team were satisfied with the final choice.
Charlie Schlatter was to originally voice Fry, but due to a change in casting, Billy West was given the role (which he'd originally read for).
Nicole Sullivan was the first actress chosen for Leela, but unexplained circumstances also led to the part being recast and given to Katey Sagal.
Phil Hartman was originally cast as Zapp Brannigan. Billy West took over after Hartman's murder and Fry's first name (Phillip) was used as a memorial to Hartman. In addition, West played the role as an impersonation of Hartman.
"Jurassic Bark" was originally going to be about Fry finding the fossilized remains of his mother and trying to bring her back to life, but this was branded as "too depressing." It still resulted in one of the series most famous Tear Jerker moments (Fry found his fossilized dog instead).
Following the events of the fourth movie where the main characters go on the run by disappearing into a gigantic wormhole, half the writers wanted to continue on from that while the other half wanted to pull a Writer Cop Out. Guess which side won?
Also, one of the latter seasons' 11 minute episodes, SPANKENSTINE, was originally penned as a Thanksgiving 30 minute special. Numbuh 2's addiction to chocolate sauce? Actually was supposed to be cranberry sauce.
In a crazy case of this, the official website (no less) for the show has under Numbuh 5's entry: "Her big secret: She wears glasses." Which is the case in the pilot (and CARAMEL, and her opposite-verse self in POOL), but not the character as we know her.
Originally, the kids of Sector V were side characters for an rejected pilot called Kenny and the Chimp. They were five friends who lived next door to Kenny, had a different name for themselves every time they appeared, and were just out for trouble. Also, their tech was originally supposed to be traditional shiny stuff, but Cartoon Networkasked this to be changed since Dexter's Laboratory had already done the same thing.
And according to some rumours, OP ZERO was originally going to be the series finale but a few more seasons were announced (though the series did end with a movie: Operation: I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S., where live-action adult incarnations of the Kids Next Door tell an unseen reporter about their final mission — with all shipping questions answered: Yes, Numbuhs Three and Four ended up married — though most people saw through that like Grandma's underpants, and yes, Numbuhs 2 and 5 ended up together.
Hey Arnold!: Long before All Grown Up was a twinkle in Klasky and Csupo's eyes, Craig Bartlett had announced his intention to make a flash-forward series after Hey Arnold ended centering around Helga Pataki named "The Patakis," and would focus on what Helga's life would be like in high school. The jury is still out on whether that would have been a good thing, but in the end, none of the nets he pitched it to wanted it, as they felt the series was too similar to Daria on MTV (and too depressing to watch as a whole, given what viewers have seen on such episodes as "Helga on the Couch" and any episode where Olga comes over and her parents fawn over her and neglect Helga). Bartlett also pitched two movies to Nick: a made-for-TV one and one meant for the movie theaters. Only the made-for-TV one was created — but it ended up being released theatrically and it flopped so bad, that a planned sequel (which would have focused on Arnold trying to find his missing parents, who were last seen flying off to yet another jungle exploration) was scrapped. The troubles with the other movie are well-documented. See here.
Originally, there was supposed to be a sexy, female boarder who was infatuated with Arnold and hit on him, making him feel uncomfortable. For obvious reasons (specifically, Media Watchdog groups protesting against the pedophilic undertones), this never came to be. The character (Lana) did appear among the boarders in a few episodes of the first season, but as Bartlett could never go through with his original plans for her and couldn't figure out a new characterization, she swiftly vanished.
Originally, The Powerpuff Girls were going to be called "the Whoopass Girls", but Cartoon Network's censors, in one of the few times they've ever cracked down on anything considered risque for children, objected.
Also (in McCracken's first sketch), the girls originally had slightly different designs such as different dress styles, having lines drawn on their hands to represent fingers (as opposed to the fingerless nubs they currently have), their hair being drawn slightly different, etc. However the biggest design change was that Bubbles was originally the green one and Buttercup the blue. No one knows whether that design would have an impact on their names and personalities (or even the show itself).
Buttercup's name was originally going to be Bud, to accentuate her tomboy attitude. The reason it didn't stick was because one of McCracken's friends found the name too short and abrupt when compared to the other two, the current name was suggested and taken as it had a nice ring to it (also, it started with a B!)
Season 5 was to have an episode, "Deja View," that had the girls being whisked to an alternate universe Townsville with their alternate counterparts, the "Powerpunk Girls," trading places with them. Deadline and budget issues (the alternate universe scenes were to be CGI) caused the episode to be scrapped but the storyline was retooled as issue #50 of the comic book.
Also Rainbow the Clown was originally not going to be beaten up by the Powerpuff Girls at the end of "Mime for a Change". The executives wanted the Powerpuff Girls to beat him like they would with any normal villain.
Season 7 of the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon was originally supposed to be a second set of "Fast Forward" episodes, which would have included an appearance by SPAAAAAACEEEEEEUsagi, and a Stockman-focused episode featuring what appeared to be a Triceraton version of the Shredder. Said series was cancelled, and several rejected pitches for its replacement were made before all parties settled on "Back to the Sewer". Art for the rejected series is now being released here. There is also the scrapped Season 5 episode "Nightmares Recycled", which was left unfinished due to objections from standards and practices; although not all the details have been confirmed, it would have apparently have revealed that Hun and minor villain Garbageman were originally cojoined twins who were separated at birth, with the latter being supposedly then doused with acid and left in a dumpster.
Another thing that was ultimately scrapped was an arc called "The Shredder Wars" in Back To The Sewers, where we'd find out exactly how the conflict in the first episode of the season started, but these plans were discarded, possibly in favor of Turtles Forever.
Also, Peter Laird suggested crossovers with other comics created by Mirage employees, like Michael Dooney's Comic Book/Gizmo.
Freakazoid! was originally designed as a fairly straitforward superhero show with comedic overtones. By the time it aired it was pure comedy with little action. On the DVD, the show's creators commented that the DCAU version of the Creeper is how the original Freakazoid would have been.
Code Lyoko was originally Garage Kids, with a darker theme and lacking Aelita. The digital world was called "Xanadu" instead of "Lyoko". Also, Yumi could use telekinesis in the real world. It was later revamped, with a clearer boundary between the digital world and real world.
The Secret Saturdays was originally pitched as the adventures of three animal heroes (all of them previously thought to be mythical in Real Life) as they prevented an evil dodo bird from exposing the existence of other cryptids. Nobody wanted the show like that, so it was reworked heavily into what we know today.
The ABC cartoon Sonic the Hedgehog (the SatAM version) would have gone on to feature Snively working together with Ixis Naugus as the new villains of the show...but it was canceled at the end of the second season. One of the writers has said that he's actually got ideas for most of the third season, but it's unlikely it'll be picked up again after so many years.
Before the series they had a series idea similar to it which used very heavily edited versions of Sonic's animal friends.
The original SatAM opening was much more cartoony, almost reminiscent of AoStH. It had the implication that Bunnie Rabbot's creation was due to a quick short circuit that hit her roboticization chamber while Sally was trying to free her. Of the original concept, only Sonic distracting the SWATBots and Sally tossing Sonic a Power Ring to use his Sonic Spin Attack were the only holdovers into the darker opening.
New classic designs for certain characters were recently discovered. A very early design for Princess Sally turned her into a full-fledged human wearing a blue bodysuit and boots with a later design making her a squirrel, but wearing a fancy outfit. Bunnie had two variations, as well - one had her head mounted on a crude robotic body with her ears done up in a braided ponytail while a second made her a cyborg, but more slender and only the legs were robotic. The biggest change was Robotnik (here spelled "Robotnic") - one version had him big, fat, green and with horns, somewhat resembling Ganon from the The Legend of Zelda cartoons. A second one made him pig-faced with an energy ponytail. Both versions still gave him a chicken. There was also a design for a "golden glow" Sonic, which probably meant they were going to translate Super Sonic at one point.
Many fans of that series may not realize that it was the first idea DIC presented to ABC of a Sonic-themed television series. Upon seeing the pilot workprint, however, ABC was not fond of it and instead preferred SatAM over Adventures, resulting in that series going to broadcast syndication once it was green-lit.
Woody Woodpecker's debut short, Knock Knock almost didn't get released because Bernie Kreiser, then distributor of Universal Cartoons, thought Woody was the ugliest thing he had ever seen. "You're not paying for these pictures," Walter Lantz told him. "All you're doing is distributing them, so release him, because I'm taking a chance". And so he did. The cartoon was a smash with moviegoers, and Kreisler asked for a series of comebacks, pretending nothing ever happened (very similar to Warner Bros. Studios' Eddie Selzer accepting the Oscar for the 1949 Pepe Le Pew cartoon "For Scent-imental Reasons" after berating Chuck Jones for coming up with the character and telling him that Pepe wouldn't appeal to anyone).
Several Transformers Animated characters' names were changed (implicitly changing the character they are supposed to be an alternate version of). Bumblebee was actually supposed to be named "Hot Shot" before it was changed due to the popularity of the movie version of Bumblebee, and Sentinel Prime was originally supposed to be "Rodimus Prime" but Hasbro didn't like the idea of the name being associated with the Jerkass the character was. Meanwhile, The Medic for the Autobots was originally supposed to be a female named Red Alert, but later became Ratchet, who in this continuity is an old guy. Blitzwing was originally conceived as a character that could change into anything and had an unstable personality. Since they couldn't make a toy from that they tried the Animated version of Sixshot, but Hasbro told them a six-changer was too expensive. Then they decided to make a triple-change with a changing face and split personality and they used Blitzwing. It worked out fine.
The third season featured a team that has Red Alert and different characters named Rodimus Prime and Hot Shot (who are more like the characters they're named after).
Some scenes also had to be cut for time or for other reasons, as revealed in this interview. The most major one? Megatron beating the tar out of the Dinobots.
Another one was that Starscream was apparently supposed to have a fairly quiet voice, as Marty Isenberg really disliked the screechy voice G1 Starscream had. However, after advice from Derrick J. Wyatt and hearing Tom Kenny's performance he decided to compromise with a voice that was high and a bit whiny, but not outright shrill.
Speaking of G1 Screamer, his name was originally going to be either Ulchtar, Silver Snake or Pretty Poison.
Slipstream was originally intended to appear in "Endgame, Part II", in which she would revive Starscream after the Autobots left Earth, but the scene was cut for time.
The second Allspark Almanac mentions several plots the writers might have used if the series had gotten a fourth season. These included the team traveling to a 'Shattered Glass' Mirror Universe and a ghostly Prowl bodyhopping between various Transformers in an attempt to warn the Autobots of an oncoming threat.
Another plan was a Season 4 episode would introduce a new character, Primal Major, who would be a failed cloning experiment by Blackarachnia. The title of this episode? "Trukk vs. Munky!"
Beast Wars had an episode missing from its lineup known as "Dark Glass", dealing with Rattrap finding a copy of his friend/foil Dinobot's memory engrams and attempting to install them into Dinobot 2. While it never got past the script phase (replaced due to its extreme dark storytelling for the more lighthearted "Go with the Flow") many fans still consider it canon, if only because it fills up a nasty little Plot Hole during the show's finale. There was also going to be a series following Beast Machines called Transtech, possibly dealing with a resurgence in the Great War on a now technorganic Cybertron, but various factors canceled it.
The Merchandise-Driven nature of the franchise also played a part in cancelling Transtech. Hasbro suffered major losses from unsold Star Wars Episode 1 toys, so to save money, they imported the Japanese Car Robots anime to buy time and create the Unicron Trilogy.
The Transtech design sketches and toy prototypes eventually got used by Fun Publications by 2008.
Lugnut was considered to join the Decepticons, but because the crew felt they had a lot of aircraft on the 'Cons side already, they opted to use Breakdown instead.
Smokescreen was considered for the role of the original sixth Autobot and would've died at the end of the first season. However, it was decided to replace him with Cliffjumper and the death moved to the series premiere, with Smokescreen debuting in season 2.
Raf was originally intended to die in the season one finale from the Dark Energon poisoning, as the prophecy foretold. Rumor has it that the studio refused to allow the writers to kill off a child, and forced the writers to give Raf a speedy recovery.
Greg Weisman had so many scrapped ideas for Gargoyles spin-off series. These included the continuing adventures of King Arthur, the New Olympians, and a few other characters introduced during the Avalon World Tour, a series where Brooklyn travels through time, and a number of Punch Clock Villains earning a measure of redemption. He has said that he will try to re-integrate these into the comic.
None of these ideas quite match the original series proposal: a comical derivative of Gummi Bears with Xanatos as the bumbling descendant of a wizard.
This version also had Broadway as a female, but the network didn't like the idea of an overweight female lead. The clan was also led by another female named Dakota, but she was deemed uninteresting, so they created Goliath and retooled her into Demona.
There was even originally going to be a brief revival of the show in 2002.
The original concept for Danny Phantom was quite different: Its title would have been called Danny Phantom and the Specter Detectors, about a normal boy who fought ghosts with his superpowered friends and an owl named Spooky. He and Sam were supposed to have a psychic link, and the creator wanted him to ride a motorcycle. The owl was ditched because the first Harry Potter movie was due to come out soon, and Danny didn't need the motorcycle since he could fly once he decided on giving him ghost powers. Also, Vlad was gonna be a vampire (makes sense considering his Plasmius design and the fact that the real-life inspiration for Dracula was Vlad Tepes.)
Steve Marmel, the former head writer for Danny Phantom (and former writer of Butch Hartman's Fairly Oddparents) has also stated his vision for Season Three would have been gravely different than what we have now.
An unmade Wallace & Gromit story involved Wallace finding some dinosaur bones, opening a Jurassic Park with robotic dinosaurs, have them malfunction and go on a rampage. And much earlier in development, Gromit was going to be a cat.
Originally, Gromit was going to talk. Then they filmed a scene in A Grand Day Out in which Wallace uses Gromit as a saw horse and Gromit looks disgusted and rolls his eyes. This cemented his position as the silent, suffering, Straight Man.
The Fairly Oddparents: Originally Timmy was going to be a redhead because Butch Hartman hates brown hair, but forced to change his mind because he didn't want Timmy and Vicky to have matching hair color and be mistaken for brother and sister. Also Timmy was almost named Matt after Butch's other brother, but an argument with his brothers changed that. Timmy's shirt and hat were meant to be blue, but Hartman ran out of blue marker and grabbed the next nearest color, which just so happened to be pink. It stuck.
Also, the original script for Wishology Part III was very different from what was finally shown; In the final scenes, there was no Reset Button and Timmy in fact used his Turbo Pits to create a type of light show for the party celebrating the victory. It was also stated in the script that the Darkness' Eliminators were created from the weapons that Turbo Thunder's people fired into it.
Black Canary was originally going to be in a BTAS episode (a team-up with Catwoman that saw the usual Batfamily appear only near the end), but at the time Executive Meddling dictated that Robin had to be prominent in every episode, so the episode was scrapped.
Plans were made for the Birds of Prey to guest star in an episode of Justice League Unlimited with a Broad Strokes retelling of their origin. Barbara Gordon, as Batgirl, would be hospitalized while on a mission and be forbidden by Batman from pursuing the matter further. Unwilling to let the matter go, she would recruit Black Canary and the Huntress and use them to finish the mission while monitoring them over the radio. Unfortunately, the 'Bat-Embargo,' a moratorium on using Batman related characters due to conflicts with The Batman and Batman Begins, necessitated the removal of Batgirl from the story and it was re-written into Double Date.
Tim Curry auditioned for the role of The Joker, but his performance was deemed "too creepy". Too creepy for the Joker. Think about that. Although according to Paul Dini, Curry was recast due to the strain the voice put on his throat. Others have stated that the Fox Executives felt the voice he used was too similar to the voice he was using for Peter Pan & the Pirates which was also on at that time.
Nocturna was meant to be in an episode of BTAS as a vampire. The episode was axed because the Fox censors didn't approve of the story, which involved Batman being turned into a vampire and craving human blood.
The writer's bible for BTAS reveals that Two-Face's origin was originally to be a little closer to his comic one, with Harvey Dent winding up scarred by acid thrown in his face. Renee Montoya was also slated to be a widowed cop and against Batman, which would have made things much different. Catwoman had a much different design reminiscent of the '60s Adam West series, but it was retooled so she'd have her head covered (and her hair was changed to blonde, to match up with Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal in Batman Returns).
Speaking of Superman: The Animated Series, Clancy Brown, who voiced Lex Luthor, originally auditioned for the role of Superman.
The JLU episode "The Greatest Story Never Told" was originally supposed to star Firestorm, but was rewritten to feature Booster Gold instead. Consequently, Firestorm never appeared on the show at all, though he was in in a few issues of the tie-in comic book.
There was a planned DTV movie called Justice League: Worlds Collide that would have involved the Justice League facing the Crime Syndicate and would have served as a bridge between Starcrossed and Justice League Unlimited. The movie would have explained the formation of the expanded League and the newly built, much larger Watchtower. The movie never materialized and, after JLU was cancelled, the script was re-written to fit into the DC Original Animated Movies line and was published as Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. The story remains nearly identical and addresses the same plot points, with only alterations in animation, cast and minor history references serving to distinguish it from the DCAU.
In an interview before the movie came out, Bruce Timm said that Vanessa Marshall, WW's voice in the movie, was also in the running for WW's voice during Justice League before they settled on Susan Eisenberg.
Actor Sherman Howard had played Luthor in The Adventures of Superboy and apparently gave a great audition when the DCAU team was looking for their Lex. They were very interested in offering him the role until they heard Clancy Brown. Howard was subsequently cast as The Preserver in two episodes of Superman, and later Derek Powers on Batman Beyond.
There had been plans to have a DCAU appearance of the Teen Titans, and groundwork was even laid for it in Static Shock, where Batman referenced Robin being a member of the group. However, the more wacky and cartoony nature of the Titans cartoon put a kibosh on the plans.
Similarly, there have long been rumors for a DCAU Legion Of Superheroes show, with LSH episode of JLU serving as something of a Backdoor Pilot. However, the LSH show that was eventually produced was not a part of the DCAU, although it did borrow some characterizations and voice actors.
The Justice League series was originally pitched as being a show about the JLA and their sidekicks, being more aimed for the Saturday Morning Cartoon kids crowd. Thankfully, wiser decisions were made. A reel of test animation for the early concept shows Robin and Impulse to be the sidekicks, along with a teenage girl version of Cyborg, who ironically ended up becoming a Canon Immigrant.
Way back when Bruce Timm first pitched a Justice League show (that didn't pan out), the team included a number of different characters. In addition to the likes of Supergirl, Vixen, Doctor Fate, and The Question, the team also would've included Black Lightning, Mister Miracle and Lightray of the New Gods, and Nightshade.
The then-believed-to-be-final episode of JLU was to have ended with Clark Kent revealing his identity to Lois Lane.
Hilary Bader pitched a Lighter and Softer sequel to Batman Beyond, which would've seen Terry and his family moving to a Terraformed colony on Mars.
After the success of The Batman vs. Dracula, there had been plans to make a second movie, where The Batman would face his rogues' gallery, led by Hush, which would have been his first animation appearance. However, Warner Bros. wanted to continue with the idea of The Batman fighting supernatural creatures. In the end, the entire movie idea was scrapped.
Two other ideas had came up which would of had Superman and Batman allying with each other. The first idea would have involved the two heroes in a grim and gritty, Escape from New York-like setting, but the creators realized that was too dark. The other would of had an early-in-their-careers Superman and Batman getting together and living together: Clark Kent would still be a cub reporter who came to Gotham for a story, met and befriended Bruce Wayne, but their identities as Superman and Batman would have hated each other. They would have figured out their secret identities, realized they were on the same side, then partner up.
Gotham High probably deserves a mention here. The premise was "What if all the Batman characters were in high school together"?
Also, Alexis Luthor was to have a major role as The Dragon to Imperiax and end up making a Heel-Face Turn that got her elected to a position of great political power, free to screw around with the Legion legally. But the network executives demanded less female characters, feeling that boys didn't want them, so Alexis' role was scrapped.
Jimmy Two-Shoes originally was going to have Jimmy dying in the first episode and ending up in Miseryville thanks to an administrative error. The fact that Jimmy was Dead to Begin With would allow him to do some pretty crazy things, like unscrew the top of his head and pull bones out of his body. Also, Heloise was originally going to be a Serial Killer arranged by Lucius to make Jimmy miserable, but she ended up falling in love with him instead.
Originally, the titular hero of Ben 10 would have transformed into HUMAN superheroes, with the show seeming to be more inspired by Dial H For Hero. Ben's first design had him as a freckled redhead as well. Gwen was originally going to be a classmate and friend of Ben's (this was probably changed because then it made no sense why she was on vacation with him), and she appeared in earlier concept art with a long ponytail and a pink shirt.
Man of Action's idea for the sequel series was Ben 10: Hero Generation, in which a teenage Ben and Gwen would become mentors to a group of kids with mysterious alien powers. However, Cartoon Network gave the sequel project over to Glen Murikami and Dwayne McDuffie, and Ben 10: Alien Force was developed instead. While some remnants of Man of Action's concept can be found with the "Plumber's Helpers" characters, they take a backseat to the action and are not mentored by Ben and Gwen, who instead fight evil alongside a reformed Kevin instead.
The writers for G.I. Joe had some intriguing plans that never materialized, mostly due to Executive Meddling — some of it understandable, some of it not. The most notable is probably the original movie idea, "The Most Dangerous Man in the World", which would have offered a very different spin on Cobra's origins.
Specifically, "The Most Dangerous Man in the World" would have started with Cobra suspending all other schemes for a worldwide manhunt for a single man, and the Joes investigating the reason for this abrupt shift. The Joes would eventually find the subject, who would be revealed as a political science professor who invented the socio-political system that Cobra was based on. The professor was planning to publish a paper documenting a newly-discovered fatal flaw with the system; Cobra wanted to eliminate him to keep the weakness hidden. The entire storyline was scrapped when Hasbro insisted on including Serpentor in the movie and cartoon.
The "Kamp Krusty" episode of The Simpsons was originally conceived as the first Simpsons full-length film. They eventually scaled back their vision as they couldn't come up with a decent way to stretch the plot to 90 minutes (and even had problems with it when they rewrote the episode as a typical 30-minute episode, as heard in the DVD commentary), and a Simpsons film would not be made until more than a decade had gone by.
Lisa was going to be voiced by Nancy Cartwright while Yeardley Smith would voice Bart. The reason why this never came to be is because Nancy Cartwright couldn't do a convincing girl's voice for Lisa and decided that Bart would be more fun to voice.
Some of the DVD creator commentary mentions plotlines or episodes that never got off the ground. For example, the B-story of "New Kid on the Block" was originally going to involve Homer and Marge going to see Don Rickles comedy show, and a brawl breaking out between Rickles and Homer after Homer became the target of Rickles' insults. This never manifested because Rickles refused to lend his voice or image to the show (which might explain the gag in "Viva Ned Flanders" where Rickles gets caught in the casino explosion and run over by The Simpsons)
The "Robot Richard Simmons" scene on the episode "Burns' Heir" where Bart gets adopted by Mr. Burns got cut because table readins didn't get consistant laughs (it was shown at conventions and college events, which convinced the writers to put it on that clip show episode where Troy McClure narrates The Simpsons' history and behind-the-scenes moments). On the episode DVD commentary, then-showrunner David Mirkin stated that Richard Simmons wanted to voice in a Simpsons episode, but not as a robot.
The season 10 episode "Bart the Mother" where Bart kills a mother bird and has to care for the eggs was originally a B-story that didn't have a place in any episode and was originally supposed to be used as a subplot for a season seven episode. The original B-story involved Homer saving a nest of eggs found in the nuclear plant chimney from being orphaned in the winter.
"New Kid on the Block" had another subplot idea involving Homer after the Don Rickles one fell through that had Homer trying to get a job as a barber (this was in season four, well before the episodes where Homer is put into a new job every other week and doesn't acknowledge that he's a nuclear plant safety inspector unless the plot called for it), but this was scrapped in favor of the subplot where Homer sues a seafood restaurant manager (Captain McAllister, a.k.a The Sea Captain) over not getting his fill at the "All You Can Eat" buffet. The "Homer as a barber" plot would later be changed to "Homer as a hairdresser" and be the main plot to the season 22 episode "Homer Scissorhands."
Otto the bus driver's original name was supposed to be "Otto Mechanic," (instead of Otto Mann) but the writers thought the joke was too predictable.
The episode "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" was originally going to have Japanese businessmen trying to buy the nuclear plant, but, at the time, Japanese businessmen buying out major American companies was a reality, and would have been too predictable (or Too Soon) for a lot of viewers, so the writers made the businessmen German to keep things fresh. Had they kept the original idea, the episode would have been a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment following the 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.
Originally at the end of "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", there was going to be a scene where Homer held a barbeque, and was being approached by the other characters for the actions he pulled earlier. Unfortunately, the scene couldn't be edited smoothly enough to fit near the end, so the episode ended with Homer telling Marge he was going to live life to the fullest, followed by a cut to him just watching TV and eating pork rinds as the credits rolled.
O.J. Simpson turned down an opportunity in appear in Last Exit To Springfield, what is often hailed as the series' greatest episode. The writers consider this, in hindsight, to be a good thing, considering O.J.'s murder trial a few years after the episode originally aired.
Similarly, Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates from Psycho) was cast to voice the dentist, but passed away before he could record his dialogue, and the role ultimately went to Hank Azaria. Additionally, Clint Eastwood and Anthony Hopkins were offered the part, but both turned it down.
"Stark Raving Dad" note (the season 3 episode where Homer is put in a mental hospital and meets a big, bald mental patient who thinks he's Michael Jackson) was originally supposed to have a sequel where the same big, bald mental patient returns and now thinks he's Prince and encourages everyone in town to be open and free with their sexual sides. While the premise of Springfield being free and open with their lives (with disastrous results) would be visited on the season five episode "Bart's Inner Child" (only it would be changed to everyone acting like Bart, and the man who encourages them is a motivational speaker named Brad Goodman, voiced by Albert Brooks) and, to some extent, also visited in the season 23 finale "Lisa Goes Gaga" (which has a famous pop singer whose clothes and music are considered offbeat and highly sexual trying to change Springfield), the original episode with Prince was written, but never made, due to one of two reasons: either Prince turned down the chance to do voicework or the producers gave Prince the chance to write the script himself and rejected the results (which were too weird and sexual for primetime TV at the time). Bill Oakley remembers it being the second reason, and that Prince and the producers could not reach a compromise, as Prince wanted his version on TV while the showrunners preferred their tamer script.
In another Season 3 episode, "Radio Bart" (the one where Bart gets a radio microphone for his birthday and tricks the town into thinking a boy is stuck in a well), Bruce Springsteen was originally going to guest star in the role that eventually went to Sting.
Also, originally, when Bart tricked Homer into thinking aliens were invading Earth, Homer was supposed to mix a batch of poisoned Kool-Aid so he and his family can commit suicide. The censors voted it down as they felt it would lead to a lot of copycat incidents, while the writers realized that it would have been too dark to be funny, so they changed it to Homer getting a shotgun and running for the front door, until he finds that Bart is the one who's making the announcement.
In "Marge vs. the Monorail", before it was decided to have Leonard Nimoy voicing himself, the producers originally wanted to have William Shatner voice himself. Shatner declined, as did George Takei, who stated that he didn't want to do an episode making fun of public transit. At the time this episode was in production, Takei was a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District (RTD) in Los Angeles.
There was an alternate ending to the season 12 episode "I'm Goin' to Praiseland", where Ned Flanders' Christian theme park, Praiseland, he built for his deceased wife Maude (who originally sketched the idea in a notepad), blows up, caused by a gas leak, and Flanders ends up in the hospital. The alternate ending can be seen on the Season 12 DVD as a deleted scene.
Jim Carrey originally wanted to voice the Singing Hobo in the Season 12 finale "Simpsons Tall Tales", but the producers were unable to work it into Carrey's schedule. The hobo was instead voiced by Hank Azaria.
Tom (Bart's big brother figure from "Brother From The Same Planet") was meant to be voiced by Tom Cruise. When Cruise declined the role, Phil Hartman stepped in and the rest is history.
The Halloween specials have loads of stories that never made it off the ground. For example, there was a segment parodying The Exorcist with the ghost being voiced by none other than Gary Oldman, but scheduling conflicts scrapped that (though a light Exorcist parody was used at the end of the "Treehouse of Horror" story, "B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence," which revealed that Bart's story of becoming a robot to fight back against his equally robotic replacement turns out to be a dream from the mind of a possessed Homer as he's being exorcised). More recently, a storyboard (from 2008), which shows two large carnivorous dinosaurs fighting in the Simpsons' house came up and was to be used as a segment that was a parody of an obscure British sci-fi show called Primeval. The parody was apparently scrapped when Impossible Pictures demanded excessively high licensing fees and the fact that Douglas Henshall flatly refused to lend his voice to the show. In interviews after the segment was scrapped, Tim Haines expressed remorse at the idea not being used and Ben Miller (the actor who plays Lester) mentioned that he would have loved to do the episode.
For "Krusty Gets Kancelled", there were many possible guest stars who were being discussed. According to the DVD commentary, producers looked at getting The Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would subsequently appear in "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation"), as well as a former President of the U.S. who was still alive at the time.
The part that James Woods had as himself in the season 5 episode "Homer and Apu" when he replaces Apu at the Kwik-E-Mart was originally intended to go to Michael Caine.
The season 23 episode "Holidays of Future Passed" was originally planned as the final episode of the entire series, due to FOX having budget issues with The Simpsons and planning to replace the show with another Seth MacFarlane cartoon (a revival of The Flintstones), but when MacFarlane announced that he was putting the project on hold and the cast and crew of the show agreed to take a pay cut in order to keep the show afloat, "Holidays of Future Passed" went from being a Series Finale to a Christmas Episode.
There were several spin-offs planned, including a live-action Troy McLure movie (presumably starring Phil Hartman), the adventures of young Homer, a feature length film parody of Fantasia, and a live-action Krusty the Clown sitcom starring Dan Castellaneta, where he hosts a talk show in LA. The Krusty sitcom came the closest to being made. Whether it would have branched continuity or Krusty would have dramatically left Springfield like Cleveland is unknown, though it would have had Krusty's house be on wooden stilts slowly being eaten by beavers. When Groening was told that trained or animtronic beavers would have been prohibitively expensive, he decided to abandon the idea instead of compromise, and ended up making Futurama.
An episode called "Thirtysimpsons" was written for season 3, but never produced. It would have been a crossover with Thirtysomething. Bill Oakley also revealed that there was an season 8 episode that would have parodied Scientology with Lisa joining the religion. The script was written by George Meyer, but the episode was never produced due to fear of the Church of Scientology suing, as well as potentially offending cast members such as Nancy Cartwright (though that didn't stop Trey Parker and Matt Stone from doing a similar episode for South Park, which not only got them in trouble with Scientologynote or rather, Tom Cruise, but also led to Isaac Hayes leaving the show). A rejected season 7 episode involved the topic of racism and was called "Homer vs. Dr. Hibbert on the Issue of Race", but it was deemed to be too potentially controversial and heavy-handed in exploring the subject. "Homer's Phobia" was also going to be called "Lisa Goes to Camp," where Lisa gets into kitsch culture, and Bart does the same thing, only for Homer to worry that Bart will end up gay.
The original Mega Man cartoon would apparently have had a third season, rumors circulate that in the third season, Proto Man would finally switch sides, given that episode quality and story quality was increasing at the time, it looked like it was going to be great... But the toys weren't selling, despite good ratings, the show was canceled, gipping everybody of what would have probably been one of the best seasons on the show, even with all the inaccuracies.
Early drafts of the series also suggest that, originally, the characters would have their child-like looks from the games. The whole "teenagery muscled"-look was used since, according to the higher ups, boys would never identify with a hero who looked like a little kid.
Invader Zim. According the shows post production supervisor, 40 episodes were originally contracted, while only 27 were made. One can only speculate what might have happened in the unmade episodes like "Nubs of Doom", "Day of Da Spookies", and "Return of Keef" if the show hadn't gotten the axe. And just when the tone of the stories was getting darker and it looked like the writers were going to put a bit less of their body weight on the Reset Button and introduce a story arc.
Also, Skooge (the Irken Butt Monkey from Hobo-13) would have gone on to be a regular character and a pseudo-sidekick of Zim's alongside Gir and Mini-Moose as well as a finale that involved Dib taking on the Irken Empire.
Also, Jhonen Vasquez's original idea would have been about Zim flying around space rather than being stationed on Earth.
The hour long final episode would have ended with Zim finally taking over Earth, with Dib stranded on a moon/planet.
The original premise for Total Drama Island was called "Camp TV" and would have had 12 main campers instead of the 22 we know now (although some of the others would've appeared, just not been very important). Some of them looked exactly like their present counterparts (i.e. Geoff), some had minor differences (e.g. Lindsay, Harold, Trent, Duncan, Leshawna, & Owen) and some looked nothing like they do now (e.g. Tyler, Ezekiel, Katie, Sadie, DJ & Cody). Also, Heather, Noah, Izzy, & Courtney didn't exist in the original pitch, although the concept art for Eva has her looking very much like Heather. While some characters had the same personalities in the final product (e.g. Geoff being the party guy, Duncan being a delinquent, & Harold and Beth being the resident nerds/geeks), others had different personalities or had different relations with their fellow campers (e.g. Gwen was still a loner but was originally Geoff's girlfriend and hated Trent, & Lindsay was the intended main antagonist, though she still maintained a relationship with Tyler). More information can be found at the official TD Wiki.
If Sierra wasn't made, It would have been very likely for Beth to take her role as Cody's Stalker with a Crush
Additionally, Heather's role of "Highest-Ranking Contestant", which she achieved in the current series, would've gone to someone else in the "Camp TV" era, since she wasn't made back then.
According to the Fresh blog, one of the locations they decided not to do for World Tour was Hershey, Pennsylvania. Toronto, Russia, Scotland, Taiwan, and Mexico were also left out, though the cast did spend some time crossing Mexico in the second to last episode, and Russia appeared in Bridgette's post-elimination bonus video.
The theme song was originally meant to be sung Barbershop Quartet style. Disney decided kids wouldn't identify with a musical genre that stopped being popular a hundred years ago, so they had a rock band record it. Interestingly, the lyrics and melody were barely changed.
In addition to the above about Ferb being The Voiceless, he originally wasn't supposed to be British and was intended to be voiced by Mitchel Musso while Jeremy Johnson would have been He Who Must Not Be Seen. Once the decision was made to make Ferb British, the creators wanted to retain Musso's voice so they expanded on Jeremy as a result.
The Animaniacs bible reveals some of the concepts that were considered but never used for the show, such as a soap opera parody about amoebas called As the Petri Dish Turns. Additionally, one of the original ideas for Pinky and the Brain was that the scientists would continue experimenting on the mice, and that in each episode they would have different powers. In the end, producer Tom Ruegger said, "We decided maybe vivisection wasn't the best idea for a kids' show."
The earliest concept for the show didn't feature the Warners at all. Instead, it centered around three duck brothers: Smakky, Yakky, and Wakky. The latter two were pretty close to the personalities of Yakko and Wakko, but Smakky was completely different: he was a sourpuss with a short temper, and also the trio's leader. The original idea was that Smakky would be the lead character, having to put up with his two insane brothers. A few scripts later it became clear that this dynamic wasn't working, as it was very difficult to sympathize with the humorless Smakky, while the other two seemed more funny without him. So Smakky was replaced with a sister, the three were renamed, and it was eventually decided that they shouldn't be ducks, because Disney already had two duck shows on the air at the time, DuckTales and Darkwing Duck.
One can only wonder what might have happened if Charlie Adler didn't feel jealous of Rob Paulsen getting the lead role, which also contributed to his leaving Tiny Toon Adventures. Perhaps he would have been a good voice actor on Animaniacs, but we'll never know.
American Dragon Jake Long is a show that's pretty hard to view outside the context of its positively epic and vindictive degree of Executive Meddling. After it finally got cancelled, much of the key staff stayed together afterward. Once out from under Disney's abusive shadow, their very next project was...Avatar: The Last Airbender . Now imagine what the former show might have been without Disney being idiots.
A few specifics: the Huntsclan's plot with the Aztec skulls was originally going to last the entire second season, with the third season dedicated to Chang resurrecting the Dark Dragon. "Homecoming" would have been a two-parter involving Sun Kim being Killed Off for Real and a revelation that Chang was Jake's grandmother. However, when it became clear the series would not be renewed, the two seasons were crammed together, and Disney vetoed the above ideas, declaring it too dark (and resulting in Writers Cannot Do Math, since they couldn't say Jake's mother was born out of wedlock). Also, Rose was supposed to stay in New York after losing her memories, with Jake attempting to rebuild their relationship, but Disney decided this was "too confusing", so she was relocated.
KaBlam! was just only going to be made up of Action League Now and reruns and/or revivals of older Nick shorts from the early 90's. Henry and June were still there, but not as the hosts, They would have their own shorts. It also was going to take place in a live-action comic book. Then in 1995, different studios created shorts for the show, and Henry and June became the hosts. The old Nicktoons shorts? Sniz and Fondue made it. That was it.
W.I.T.C.H. never got a third season, but Greg Weisman, showrunner for season two, gave some details on how he envisioned how the season would've gone down: "I have to admit that my memory on WITCH's never-happened third season are a bit vague now. But Sylla and Riddle were very important, and Taranee, and I think Martin and Cornelia would transfer to Riddle's school. The Guardians would take on a temporary new member, as in the comics. There were other elements from the comic, including characters I can now picture in my head — but whose names I can't immediately call to mind. But Irma's mom would have been very important."
Pieces of the original pilot animation can be found around YouTube and the US opening, but the original idea would have put the girls (minus Will again) at full power in civilian form. As well, Irma's Guardian form color scheme was reversed in the pilot, but set back to normal when the series started.
Many people would like to see the third, fourth, maybe further, seasons of The Ren & Stimpy Show produced and envisioned by Spumco, considering that towards the end of the second season, they were getting incredibly good at what they were doing, with episodes like "Son of Stimpy" and "The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen". The later episodes, made by Games Animation, aren't even comparable to any of the earlier seasons' cartoons. If only John K weren't busy being fired...
... and now, we can definitely add The Spectacular Spider-Man. It was planned for a five-season run (ending with Peter's graduation from High School) - the timing of the Disney/Marvel buyout would have limited it to only three seasons, but because the show also switched networks, it only got two. And because of that, we wind up ending with the revelation that all of Peter's friends save Mary Jane are alienated from him, Harry hates Spider-Man, Gwen remains his girfriend after some emotional blackmail from Harry, and Peter didn't even stop the bad guy. One assumes later seasons (even just one more given a few episodes' warning it was about to end) would have chosen a more upbeat coda. Some fans have even went as far as to pretend the non-canon Spidey/Gargoyles radio play produced months later is a more upbeat and hopeful conclusion to the series.
Greg Weisman has stated that the third season was to include Hobgoblin and Scorpion. Norman Osborn was not to return until at least Season 4. Carnage and Hydro-Man had both appeared in non-powered form during Season 2. Dr. Miles Warren might have finally gotten to upgrade himself and become a proper supervillain. And some statements made online indicated that Molten Man was being groomed to join the fight alongside Spider-Man.
Apparently Weisman had more backstory for the nature of Flash and Peter's rivlary planned out and how they stopped being friends. Also although the rights were tied up, Weismen said he would have liked to have been able to have had a Spidey/Human Torch crossover. The Big Man/Tombstone was going to be Wilson Fisk, but his rights were tied strictly to Daredevil adapations and thus couldn't be used. He apparently approached Marvel about continuing the series in comic form, but they never got back to him (Disney/Marvel and Sony's iffy-ness about the rights probably played a factor).
Spider-Man: The Animated Series' adaptation of Secret Wars was originally going to feature a number of additional characters, most notably Mister Sinister. These were later scrapped for numerous reasons, namely costs since Sinister's voice actor, Chris Britton, is Canadian based (the cast of the X-Men series had previously been flown to LA from Canada for their appearance in the crossover, which proved expensive).
The oddest of the bunch for the heroes of that storyline was the Lizard. That was because originally, it was supposed to have been the Hulk. However, he had his own cartoon at the time and was replaced with She-Hulk. However, she ended up joining the Hulk in his series so the green-skinned character was replaced again with the Lizard.
Had the series continued, Peter and Madame Web would have found the real Mary Jane in an alternate Earth version of Victorian London around the time of Jack The Ripper, with the ripper turning out to be Carnage.
The show was originally supposed to feature Black Cat in an episode. However, once the producers got the popular rapper Eve to voice the part, they instead created a new villainess named Talon, who was essentially an African-AmericanExpy of Black Cat.
It ends on a similar coda to The Spectacular Spider-Man: After Spider-Man is influenced by the Gainestwins to mistakenly throw Indy off of a building, putting her in a coma, New York comes to hate Spider-Man. After defeating the twins, Peter packs his Spider-Man suit into a briefcase, loads it with bricks, and throws it into the river. A second season was planned, where Peter retrieves his suit, and other villains emerge, such as the Vulture, but it was canned.
The South Park episode "The Coon" was intended to be more of a parody of Watchmen, with all the kids as superheroes. It also had a main plot of The Coon trying to fix the economy. However, Matt and Trey realized that Cartman was stealing the show, so they scaled it back and used the economy plotline in the episode "Margaritaville." The original concept seems to have returned with "Coon and Friends" trying to fix another BP oil spill.
In "Wacky Molestation Adventure", Cartman was originally going to block out the sun. However, after learning that It's Been Done by The Simpsons, they scrapped the idea. Their frustration made its way into creating the episode "The Simpsons Did It."
"A Million Little Fibers" was originally going to be about Towlie on Intervention. However, they couldn't fit it in right, so they ended up revamping it. The original idea was later used in "Cripple Summer".
"Pinewood Derby" was going to be an hour long special where Randy finds out that dinosaurs had killed themselves off after inventing guns, and convinces everyone to do away with them. After this, an alien would have arrived and taken over the world with a handgun, with no one able to stop him. The entire plot was torpedoed by, once again, The Simpsonshave done it earlier in two different Treehouse of Horror vignettes.
Kenny's semi-permanent death in season 5 was originally considered for Kyle, who Butters would then replace, allegedly because they felt that Stan and Kyle were too similar. In the end, they decided they didn't want to kill Kyle, but Kenny, being an overused Running Gag, was expendable. (Stan and Kyle, meanwhile, eventually underwent enough Divergent Character Evolution to fix any problems.) The creators had also intended for Kenny's death to be permanent. When that idea fell through, they simply considered dragging out Kenny's death even longer, with more characters besides Butters and Tweek replacing him.
Nancy Cartwright was the original choice for the female characters on the show, but she refused because of the vulgarity. Barry White was also considered for Chef, but declined because the show went against his Christian values.
"Quintuplets 2000" had its plot heavily reworked: Originally titled "Rosie O'Donnell Eats Children", it would have involved the quintuplets moving to South Park and becoming a media frenzy due to Rosie O'Donnell promoting them. Kenny's mother would then wind up jealous of their fame and attempt to get pregnant with multiples, while Cartman would have a crush on one of the Quints. The Quints were also originally to be American, and the original broadcast promo for the episode featured them with different voices. After the Elian Gonzalez case happened, the entire episode was quickly reworked from the ground up to parody the story. Kenny and the Quints were also to be exchanged and return to their homes safely, but Parker and Stone decided it'd be funnier if it ended with Kenny dead and the Quints deciding to become celebrities. Other scrapped plot points from earlier drafts included Timmy making an appearance, and the Quints displaying the ability to multiply themselves.
An "Iron Chef" episode was slated for season 5, but never happened. An episode parodying Michael Jackson and one with the Easter Bunny were both slated for inclusion in early season 7, but the creators threw them aside. Two episodes with similar premises would be written for later seasons.
"The Lemmiwinks Easter Special"/"The Return of Lemmiwinks" was an episode scripted for season 8, but the crew quickly ran into trouble with animating it, as well as finding ways to make it seem funnier. AWESOM-O was aired in its place (with a joke referencing the original plot before the episode), and the story was put on hold, with the crew suggesting that it'd air later on in the run. Eventually, Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided to scrap the idea completely.
Kyle was originally to move away in season 4, due to the creators feeling that him and Stan were interchangeable. Trey Parker explained that they didn't go through with it, as they felt things would get too depressing with only three of the boys around.
A scrapped episode for the tenth season involved Sharon Marsh undergoing a mastectomy and having her breasts replaced by a pair of hooks.
Other more vague scrapped ideas noted by the creators included an episode parodying the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a season 13 episode with Saddam Hussein, and a story where Warren and Jimmy Buffett find out they're long-lost relatives and team up to take over the world.
In early planning of the show, Trey Parker and Matt Stone had the idea for the boys to be involved in more plots focusing around aliens and the supernatural. This was quickly scrapped, as they then decided it'd come off as too much of a ripoff of The X-Files. The random aliens placed in the background as easter eggs were a remnant of this concept.
Cartman was to have a father and younger sister, and both of these characters cameo in the longer (unaired) version of the pilot episode. They were both dropped, as it was decided that it'd be better if Cartman were only raised by his promiscuous mother. Kenny was to also have a younger toddler sister, who would resemble Ike note All South Park babies were originally intended to appear this way, but after Terrance and Phillip were retconned into being Canadian, Ike's unusual appearance was explained away as him being adopted due to the split-head similarity., but she never made it into the first season (she was originally to appear in "Starvin' Marvin"). However, the sister idea was eventually reused with Karen McCormick for later seasons, although Matt Stone initially regarded her first appearance as an oversight.
Matt and Trey considered letting the end to "You're Getting Old" stick, and having Stan spend the second half of the season growing to accept it. However, every plan they came up with involved more drama than comedy, so they decided to hit the Reset Button.
Storm Hawks: In the original concepts for this show, the Storm Hawks are a bunch of prison kids who escape into the Wastelands, where they meet Oriole (Piper). In addition to the war against Cyclonia, the plot involves their quest for the Helix, an artifact holding the world together. The Helix is broken up into numerous crystal fragments around the world and it's the Storm Hawks' job to find them with help from the Guardian of the Helix, the White Hawk. (Who, incidentally, is the one who leads Oriole to the others in the first place.) Instead of Master Cyclonis, we have Master Anarchis (Cyclonis's mother?), a fashionista who was formerly exiled to the Terra of Thorns by her brother, Heron, the rightful king of Cyclonia. Piper is a well-traveled, crossbow-wielding adventurer. Finn is younger and smaller (but still the main turrets guy), has a knack for telling tall tales, and fights with energy blades in hand-to-hand combat. Junko has a temper, although he tries to control it. Stork is an expert metal-smith and a loyal friend who is largely confined to the Condor due to a leg injury. Also, there are living storms that have their own names and personalities. Some of this can be found here, although other things like the Helix plot are no longer up.
Season 4 of ReBoot was originally going to comprise of 3 TV movies, followed by a musical episode. Unfortunately, only the first two movies were actually produced, resulting in a nasty Cliff Hanger.
Once upon a time, a scraggly young man walked into the Spumco offices stating his intention to write a song for Ren and Stimpy and gave them a sample of his work. The song was immediately tossed in the trash and an instrumental was used instead. That young man who pitched the song in the first place? Kurt Cobain.
After the animated special Snoopy's Reunion was aired, Charles Schulz thought of working on a miniseries about each of Snoopy's siblings, but the network declined.
But not turning the Batman Rogues Gallery into High School stereotypes...
The original pitch for Darkwing Duck was very different. It was originally going to be a James Bond spoof called Double-O Duck, with Drake Mallard as a globe-trotting spy working for SHUSH. All the villains were going to be agents of FOWL (Fiendish Organization of World Larceny) with Steelbeak overseeing them as the show's big bad.
The DuckTales episode "The Masked Mallard" inspired the writers to think up some more episodes featuring Scrooge's heroic alter-ego. Eventually, they came up with so many episodes, they decided to create a new show starring a different character.
The writers came up with the idea of a spin-off set Twenty Minutes into the Future, featuring Gosalyn as either a teenager or young adult, and featuring her own superhero alter-ego, Quiverwing Quack (who had previously appeared on Darkwing, and was a Green Arrow parody, right down to the trick arrows). It never got past the planning stages.
There were also several episodes planned that never got produced, including the return of such baddies as Paddywhack and Taurus Bulba.
Taurus Bulba did in fact come back as a cyborg. It's just that after that episode, they never did anything with the plotline.
Also, Darkwing and Morgana were eventually going to get married and have kids together down the line if the show had continued.
There were plans for an episode where DW and Evil Twin Negaduck had to team up to defeat a somehow revived Manifest Dark Side Negaduck.
Heavy Gear deserves a mention. The original plotline for the show was much closer to the Tabletop Game it was based on, with the Heavy Gear Tournament only taking up the first arc of its run. The story after that involved renewed conflict between the North and South, and then with both factions having to team up to fight off an Invasion from Earth. This storyline was however scrapped because the executives thought the plotline would be too hard for Children to follow (despite the fact that the Tabletop Game was originally NOT marketed at that demographic). As a result, the Tournament Arc was kept, but the episodes after that became mostly Exhibition Matches and a pair of Clip Shows.
The main six kids in Recess had very different character designs at first. The first drawing of the kids from early 1996 had a much more realistic design, and the characters looked nothing like they usually do. In mid 1996, when the pilot was made, a "cuter" character design was made for them. But they all looked very different. T.J. looked nothing like he does in the series proper and was called P.J. (But was renamed shortly before the pilot was finished) He had messy reddish-brown hair, green eyes, a different outfit, and was much taller and skinnier. Gretchen had a darker hair color, and the blue part to her dress was white. Vince had a different hairstyle (he went through ten before the creators decided on one) and a slightly different outfit, Spinelli had three pigtails, had a different outfit, and looked like a kindergartener, Mikey didn't look any different (Aside from his shoes being red instead of grey), and Gus was dropped. By the time the series aired, they brought Gus back, and everyone was re-designed.
Miss Grotke, the gang's fourth grade teacher, was just going to be a minor character in the show. The audience loved her so much, so she joined the main cast (But then went Out of Focus much later).
Recess: School's Out was planned for a direct-to-video release, but Disney liked it so much that they expanded the entire movie and put it in theaters.
After the final episode aired in 2001, ABC noticed how high the ratings for the sixty-five episodes were and wanted to order more episodes for the 2002-03 season. However, Disney declined during development of the new episodes and opted to release three of them as a direct-to-video movie, which eventually became Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade.
There's a pony in the G1 pilot that doesn't look like any pony ever created. She has the colors of Confetti but the wrong Cutie Mark. So fans have decided that she's a scrapped design for a pony or an early design of either Confetti or Peachy.
It's been revealed that she's actually an unreleased pony, First Born.
Storyboard sketches show that originally G3.5 looked more like G3 except the characters were smaller; even their manes were the same. Eventually though they decided to change the proportions and gave everyone unique manes.
The show was originally going to be much more adventure oriented, but it look longer to do them, so it ended up much more of a slice of life show with the odd adventure episode thrown in.
Ever notice why a lot of the gang don't act like, and/or resemble, their previous incarnations? That's because several of them weren't meant to be those horses. Due to legal issues, a few of them had to have their designs and names changed. For example, Pinkie was originally supposed to be a Pegasus◊ and Fluttershy an Earth Pony.
One of the background characters (Mr. Greenhooves, an old stallion) was originally meant to have a corncob pipe to smoke real tobacco. The corncob pipe was part of a gag, as his pipe would overheat and randomly shoot popcorn while he minded his own business, but of course, the idea wasn't approved and the pipe was replaced with a hay straw.
Lauren Faust revealed a synopsis for an episodethat was turned down, which would have centered around Big Macintosh, taking on a mediator role between his family, highlighted by his usual laconic style of speech as compared to his more verbose relatives. The concept generated an overwhelmingly positive response from bronies, wishing the episode had been made.
When Lauren Faust prepared the pitch, Tara Strong was brought in to voice three of the ponies (Applejack, Rainbow Dash) and almost ended up being Pinkie Pie. Then Lauren heard her as Twilight Sparkle and pretty much said "you're Twilight Sparkle".
The season 3 episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On" was originally titled "Fluttershy's Home for Reformed Dracoequi", but was changed, mostly due to the fact that it heavily spoiled Fluttershy reforming Discord.
On the flip-side, season 1 episode "Call of the Cutie" gives us an example of what couldn't have been: Lauren Faust originally intended for Apple Bloom to actually earn her cutie mark by the end. However, Executive Meddling kept that from happening which led to the very popular Cutie Mark Crusaders being formed instead.
Speaking of the CMC, Lauren Faust wanted them to have their own spin-off, which would have been aimed at preschoolers. However, Hasbro did not like the idea.
"Wonderbolts Academy" had a different ending planned. The ending would of had Lightning Dust suffer a Heel Realization and swap positions with Rainbow Dash as a result. As well, Rainbow Dash would have returned with a "First in Class" medal, with a hint that she was on the fast track to being part of the Wonderbolts.
Originally, Nightmare Moon was called Discord, but still had her regular design.
When the show was in the pre-production stage, composer William Kevin Anderson once produced a few tracks that sounded more psychedelic than the orchestral stuff in the actual show, as revealed in this interview.
In the DVD commentary of the Family Guy episode "And Then There Were Fewer", they said that there was a deleted scene after Derek's death in which Jillian revealed to be pregnant. However, since the scene was deleted, this may not be the case anymore.
Chris originally was supposed to be as fat as Peter or even fatter, but the creators decided to slim him down, claiming that Chris being so morbidly obese just looked too damn sad.
A radio advertisement for the episode "Meet the Quagmires" featured Peter dismissing Brian's explanation of the split timeline "...as ridiculous as the theory of evolution." Whatever they had planned for the ensuing Cutaway Gag went unused, and the joke was replaced with "That's about as ridiculous as why Tom Cruise runs in all of his movies," with a cutaway of Tom Cruise running to escape his closeted gay thoughts.
FOX ran a 7-minute preview of Family Guy in 1999, which was taken from a much earlier version of the pilot, titled "Death Has A Shadow". Meg and Chris had different voices, the animation and designs were much rougher, and many color schemes were not yet finalized: Lois was a blonde, Stewie wore green overalls and a purple shirt, and Meg had a blue hat and a white shirt. Although the footage that FOX show survives in a video rip, the rest of the preliminary pilot has never been shown.
Originally, Seth MacFarlane was going to be hired to do cartoon shorts for MADtv (not the Cartoon Network sketch show, but the FOX one that was a competitor to Saturday Night Live), which would have included a family similar to the Griffins on Family Guy watching warped parodies of popular TV shows and comment on them (kinda like how Beavis and Butthead have the segments where they watch bad music videos or episodes of MTV's reality shows, like Teen Mom and Jersey Shore), but FOX opted instead to give MacFarlane six months and a $50,000 budget, and that was the start of Seth's strangehold on FOX's Animation Domination line-up (after years of Executive Meddling, three years of cancellation, and a boom in popularity thanks to cable reruns and DVD sales).
A very important in-universe example recently occurred. Brian was hit by a car and killed in "Life of Brian" and replaced by a new dog. This managed to be carried over into the next two episodes, but was eventually undone by Stewie, who went back in time to save him. Now, only Brian is aware that this tradgedy could have occurred.
The 1980s Filmation series Hero High was originally meant to be a new entry in their line of Archie-based cartoons, but was changed at the last-minute due to their rights to Archie having expired!
New tugboat characters in central roles - though he revealed this would've been curbed somewhat so the original Star Tugs and Z-Stacks wouldn't be neglected.
More stories would've taken place "Up River," in part because they found filming in the Bigg City Harbour set very complicated.
Speaking of David Mitton, in early seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine, several other stories adapted from The Railway Series such as "The Missing Coach" and "Gordon Goes Foreign" were planned and semi developed, however, the two episodes were binned, the former due to being too dialogue heavy and difficult for young children to understand, whilst the latter was canned due to the requirement of extra one-shot sets. For the latter story, a modified Henry model would have been used to represent The Foreign Engine. Several finalized stories were retooled drastically to befit this (eg. the original "Tender Engines" would have been a more accurate adaption of "Tenders For Henry" with the Flying Scotsman making a full appearance rather than just his tenders) with the show eventually choosing to focus on original stories featuring the original cast. By the time new props could be afforded, the show had traded hands and separated itself completely from the original novels (to the point where several established plot points were retconned, though the seventeenth season undid several of these).
Certain installments of The Railway Series such as "Drip Tank" and "Thomas And The Evil Diesel" were written at the request of the TV producers to use as story material. Though some were republished under the show's label, they were never adapted into episodes.
There was to be a planned feature length special that would have involved The Fat Controller loaning the railway to the king of Sodor. For whatever reason, this special was scrapped and replaced with Blue Mountain Mystery. It's unknown if any elements of the scrapped special ended up being reused in any of the later specials or episodes.
Derek was meant to appear in the sixteenth season with a non-speaking role, but this never materialized. It is believed that his absence may not have been deliberate- Derek's alternative name is Paxman, and so some theorize that he was confused with Paxton at the animation department.
Quack Pack was meant as a direct sequel to DuckTales, where Donald returned from the Navy and Scrooge, realizing that Donald would inherit his business one day, returns his nephews to him to teach him some responsibility. Considering the amount of negative press the finished product got, maybe the original idea would have worked better.
Haim Saban was once in talks with Gene Simmons for a KISS cartoon in the 90s. Then Saban made the big mistake in insulting Gene in Hebrew... and Gene replied back in the same tongue.
Back in The Noughties, when Nick adored Rugrats, there was meant to be several spinoffs. Alas only three of them made the light of day:Angelica and Susie's Pre-School Adventure, Tales From The Crib and All Grown Up!. There was originally going to be a spinoff where Susie and her family moved to Georgia to live with her family called The Carmichaels but it never saw the light of day. Tommy And Chuckie's The Adventures of William Shakespeare was similar to Tales From The Crib but set in high school and involving the two imagining the Rugrats characters in William Shakespeare roles.
Team Umizoomi was gonna be named Umi Zumi and had Milli and Geo less human-like and more toy-like. There were also 2 character that were supposed to be the Milli and Geo of that prototype.
The Dreamstone was originally planned as a children's storybook. It was later made into a five minute pilot by Mike Jupp to sell the idea. Some differences are noticable, the setup is Darker and Edgier, the Urpneys are minor characters with Rufus played more as the main protagonist (who differs greatly in design and is voiced by a young Christian Bale), who must journey throughout a very warped universe to save the stone. In addition the dreams themselves would seemingly have a larger play into the story, with the Daydream Bubbles (just a generic form of transport in the finalized series) capable of travelling into people's dreams.
Originally, the main character of Dora the Explorer was going to be a forest animal. A Nickelodeon staffer said that there were no positive Latino humans on animated TV shows back then, so thus came the Dora we know and love today.
Attentive viewers of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes might have noticed a few fleeting references to Wolverine and the X-Men, such as Nick Fury asking one of his agents to send Whirlwind to the Mutant Response Division. Josh Fine, associate producer of Wolverine and supervising producer for the first season of The Avengers, later revealed to have considered making some crossovers between those two shows. Wolverine would have gone on a SHIELD mission with Hawkeye and Black Widow. The Beast would have teamed up with Ant-Man in a different episode. However, Wolverine and the X-Men underwent cancellation before Marvel could make those crossovers. Christopher Yost, head story writer of The Avengers, still went on to publicly confirm that Wolverine and The Avengers take place in the same universe.
The tie-in comic written by Yost himself contradicts this, of course. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are seen as teens who defected from Magneto's Brotherhood, which is completely at odds with their portrayal in Wolverine And The X-Men.
Speaking of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, some early choices for the first villain the Avengers would capture together included Doctor Doom and Magneto. However, it apparently seemed inappropriate for "Earth's mightiest heroes" to team up and defeat a villain who another superhero team had already fought several times before. Thus, the episode about the Avengers' founding saw them overcoming Graviton, whose control over the forces of gravity made him a worthy opponent despite his obscurity. The heroes would later get to fight Doctor Doom in the second season premiere.
As well, Captain America was supposed to fight the Nazis during World War II instead of HYDRA. However, the censors told Marvel that they could either use real ammo for fight scenes, or they could have their Nazis. They went with the real ammo.
Prior to the show's cancellation due to low ratings, the crew had mentioned that the third season would have been the "magic" season. Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch would have appeared, with the latter even having been foreshadowed during the second season (a photograph of her was on Nick Fury's wall during the Secret Invasion storyline).
Wolverine and the X-Men: The end of the series hinted at an adaptation of Age of Apocalypse as the story arc for season 2, which would have featured Cable, Havok and Deadpool, among others, along with the return of Emma Frost. Character designs of both new characters and series regulars in AoA attire have since surfaced on the internet, most notably at Facebook's Save Wolverine and the X-Men page, along with some script samples. There were even designs that put Cyclops and Jean Grey in their 90s era Jim Lee costumes (designs that showed Cyclops actually smiling).
Deadpool was also confirmed to show up in Season 2, but the show didn't make it that far.
Furthermore, Wolverine and the X-Men was originally conceived as a solo Wolverine cartoon (to cash in on the solo Wolverine Origins film), presumably focusing on his early life before he joined the X-Men, but someone apparently decided Wolverine wasn't a strong enough seller on his own so they changed it to an X-Men show where he just happened to be in charge - for better or worse.
Greg Weisman originally wanted Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy as part of the core cast of Young Justice. Brandon Vietti argued against Speedy's inclusion, suggesting they have a female archer instead. Presumably, they bypassed Speedy II (Mia Dearden) and Arrowette (Cissie King-Jones) due to thinking they fit more as second-gen sidekicks like Tim Drake and Cassie Sandsmark. So they came up with Artemis Crock, the daughter of two Golden Age villains from The Injustice League. This led to Artemis becoming Green Arrow's protege while Speedy was given a slightly reduced (but still meaty) role as a supporting character.
According to Weisman, there were several as-of-yet unrevealed teen heroes who were supposed to join the main cast in season 2, but they had to be cut for pacing reasons. A few members from the timeskip also had their planned appearances cut:
Donna Troy and Mary Bromfield were meant to debut at Rocket's bridal shower in "Satisfaction", but their roles were cut for time and budgetary purposes. Weisman later revealed that Donna would have used the "Troia" codename, while Mary would have been "Sergeant Marvel". Donna was also originally planned to be in season 1 as Wonder Girl, but had to be written out due to DC declaring her off-limits for use at the time. By the time she was cleared for usage, it was too late in production of the season to squeeze her into an episode.
The Marvel Family would have also had a storyline in season 2, along with Red Tornado and Zatanna. Freddy Freeman would have used the codename "Lieutenant Marvel" instead of "Captain Marvel Jr.". The limited amount of episodes however, meant that these stories would be quickly scrapped.
There was consideration of having all the surviving timeskip-era members (ie: Troia, the other two Marvels) in the series finale, but there was not enough time for the character designers to work them into a scene. In the end, only Tempest got to make a silent cameo.
There was to be a Marvel Family story in the tie-in comic, but it was shelved when editorial wanted Weisman to switch to the Invasion era.
Brandon Vietti had commented that he wished they could have used Red Hood as a villain, but there was no room for him in the season 2 outline. Meanwhile, Greg Weisman clarified that there were no plans at all for Jason Todd or Red Hood in the second season.
Arrowette was to appear in season 3, had it been greenlit. Weisman had put in foreshadowing towards the end of the first season, by showing a younger Cissie witnessing Green Arrow and Artemis rescuing her father.
At the time of Marvel's near-bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, they were planning solo shows based on two of their heroes: Daredevil and Captain America.
Blue of Blue's Clues was supposed to be a cat, but similar to the Animaniacs example above, they said that there were two many TV shows where the main character was a cat on when the show was produced (Garfield and Friends and Eek! The Cat, to name two), so she was changed into a dog.
A Charlie Brown Christmas almost never made to air - and wouldn't have, had main sponsor Coca-Cola not insisted. The reason being CBS and Charles Schulz butting heads on several major points:
The network wanted a laugh track. Schulz walked out of a meeting and refused to keep working until the network relented.
The network hated the idea of Linus' now-iconic reading of the Gospel of Luke and wanted it gone (because religion doesn't belong in a Christmas special, apparently). Again, Schulz held his ground.
The network wanted Schulz to ditch the jazzy soundtrack, feeling that it was inappropriate for what was ostensibly a kid's show.
When The Beatles cartoon show on ABC became a hit, producer Al Brodax made plans for cartoons of 1960s groups Herman's Hermits and Gerry & The Pacemakers for the network while Hanna-Barbera pitched a cartoon of The Beach Boys for CBS. None of these projects went through, although it's been said that The Impossibles (part of the Frankenstein Jr. show) was created in the Beach Boys' stead.
ABC apparently wanted to make a cartoon of McHale's Navy in 1973, what with cartoons based on prime time properties (Jeannie, The Brady Kids, Lassie's Rescue Rangers, My Favorite Martians, Star Trek) being the rage, but they couldn't get clearance for it. Filmation would have made the show.
Christy Karacas and Stephen Warbrick wanted to do Superjail! as a silent cartoon, but Adult Swim refused and insisted that the characters be voiced. They did concede to letting the Jacknife openings be mostly-silent, other than his gibberish.
In a 2012 podcast interview done for Dragon Con, Karacas revealed that the network had shot down an early episode idea that involved Jacknife building a robotic suit of armor to fight Jailbot. It was rejected as the action took place entirely in the outside world, and that the Warden and jail weren't involved at all.
"Time-Police" was originally thought of as one long episode, but the executives at the network ordered it split into two parts. Both resulting episodes wound up having to be trimmed in production due to running over the time limit, especially in the case of "Time-Police part 2".
"The Budding of the Warbuxx" evolved from a slightly different plotline the creators had thought up, in which Alice would have accidentally sat on ketchup and then gotten the idea that she had started her period and was PMSing. One of the ending shots of the episode would have involved Alice looking at herself in the mirror and imagining herself as incredibly gorgeous.
There was an opening sequence that had to be cut for "Warbuxx", though it was reworked and recycled for "Oedipus Mess": Jailbot would have caught Jacknife stealing babies in a hospital, and he would be arrested for that crime.
"Lord Stingray Crash Party" was much longer in the earlier script drafts, so it had to be revised and shortened significantly for the final product. Scrapped portions were explained in a commentary for the episode: Mistress Kilda and Catastro were to have bigger roles, as were the Stars N Stripes. One sequence that had to go in particular involved Alice having sex with all the members of the Stars N Stripes, which would then be used to explain her anger at their deaths. Although the animatic reel has not been released publicly, a brief glimpse of it in a "Behind the scenes" video shows that the Stars N Stripes and Kilda had much different designs. Kilda in particular was to look even more like GI Joe's Baroness, with long hair and glasses.
"Hot Chick" had part of its climax altered for content: Originally, Hunter would first get her crystal taken away by Alice, and then would be attacked and overpowered by the inmates (who'd be wanting to rape her). She would then shapeshift and melt back into her original goop form, and then would be later seen inside her crystal in Alice's room (without much explanation of how she got in there). In the final product, the Twins seal Hunter away into her crystal, and only then does Alice swipe it away.
Hunter and Ozzal had their character designs revamped as well. Ozzal was to originally be a bald humanoid alien resembling Leigh Bowery and would be more flamboyant and expressive. Hunter had visible nipples on her breasts, pubic hair, and her hair was shorter and curlier. The reasons behind the design changes were briefly detailed in the animatic: Hunter had to have hair long enough to cover her breasts and "look more like a porn star", while Ozzal was not supposed to show that much emotion.
At NYCC 2009, the creators explained that "Mr. Grumpy-Pants" started out with an Easter plotline, rather than a Christmas-themed one. The Warden's monstrous inner child was also originally going to be a friendly, annoying kid who only wanted to play with the Littlest Cancer Patient. This evolved into him becoming a monster who hated her and wanted to kill her.
The 1990 Roger Rabbit short "Rollercoaster Rabbit" was originally to have a scene where while Roger and Baby Herman reached the top of a ridiculously high lift hill, the top would have been a crossroad with a stoplight, which turned red and the cart would stop. There, a long cart that passed them would have contain every animated character that has ever appeared in a Disney film (for example, Mickey and Minnie would have been seated at the front while large characters like Monstro and Chernabog would have been way in the back). In the end, it had to be cut because the animators felt it wasn't worth it (If the cart went as fast as originally planned, the audience wouldn't have been able to see the characters and if it had been slowed down, the cartoon's frantic pace would have been thrown off).
The animators tried to do this again for a segment in Fantasia 2000 where Mickey Mouse would conduct an orchestra of Disney characters performing "Pomp and Circumstance" to an amphitheater audience of all the characters. It was canned because they felt that it felt more like a showoff gimmick and that they would constantly have to cut away from Mickey to see another section of characters. The music piece however, would end up being used in a segment based on Noah's Ark and starring Donald Duck.
Though a Teen Titans animated series eventually came to be, there were several aborted attempts to get one off the ground:
Hanna-Barbera was developing a Teen Titans series in the mid-70s, though it was rejected. Nothing has been said about the premise of the series, though concept art revealed the members: Robin, Lilith, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, Mal, and Kid Flash.
In 1983, Hanna-Barbera tried once more and pitched an adaptation of "The New Teen Titans" to ABC. It almost happened, until the network executives decided that they wanted a show more in line with the Smurfs (which at the time had been very successful). Alan Burnett had developed the proposal, and the team would have included all of the members except Robin (due to him being used in Superfriends). Wonder Girl was stated to be the leader instead, and the Titans would have fought Trigon and Blackfire. Some of the artwork shown at a HB exhibition reveals that Raven and Cyborg would have been given vehicles, for possible merchandise appeal. Cyborg would ride a motorcycle, while Raven would ride upon some sort of hoverboard. Not all was lost, though - the gathered team did show up... in an anti-drug commercial and Cyborg proved popular enough to appear in the final season of Super Friends.
Starfire would have been able to disguise herself as a white woman with Lucille Ball-esque hair, in order to have a secret identity. Changeling was also shown to have a more "normal" looking civilian form, where his green skin and hair would disappear and he'd look oddly more like Dick Grayson would have.
As well, if the anti-drug commercial was any indication, there would have been an original character known as the Protector replacing Robin. Because of the design, it was thought that Protector was originally gonna be Robin until the Super Friends bit came into play. The Protector had previously appeared in anti-drug comics featuring the Titans, as there was a licensing issue with Robin that required all panels to be redrawn to feature the new hero.
At some point in the '90s, there was to be a DCAU Titans series featuring the original five members. It never got any further than some concept art of the characters.
The actual animated series itself had a few plot and character ideas that never happened, due to the limited amount of episodes for each season:
Terra was to initially be in more episodes and the opening sequence of season 2.
An episode featuring the Omega Men was considered but never happened.
There were to originally be 20 episodes in season 5, but Cartoon Network would order it reduced back to 13.
Although there were no solid plans for a season 6, Amy Wolfram developed a pitch called "The New Teen Titans" when the network gave them hope that they could be renewed. It would have involved more teams of Titans being created around the world.
There was to be an X-Men animated series in 1983 for NBC, but similar to the case of the Titans cartoon, it was scrapped in favor of having more cute and child-friendly shows to ape the success of the Smurfs. The lineup would have included Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Kitty Pryde (using the codename "Ariel"), Ms. Marvel (renamed "Lady Lightning"), Thunderbird, and Videoman (who had previously appeared on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends). It would've been a High School AU of sorts, featuring the cast as teenagers attending a public high school. Ironically enough, that's is pretty much the premise of the much later X-Men: Evolution TV series.
The 1989 "Pryde of the X-Men" cartoon was developed as a pilot for a potential series, but Marvel ran into financial issues and nothing further got off the ground, including an idea for a second special detailing the history of Jean Grey and the Phoenix.
Spyke from X-Men: Evolution originally was supposed to have been called "Armadillo," and had a different hairstyle. Several of the other X-Men also had completely different costumes, before the producers decided on a more uniform look for the cast.
The shows "The Proud Family", "Ed, Edd, n Eddy", and "Adventure Time" were originally going to be shows on Nickelodeon. Adventure Time was a interesting case because its pilot was shown on "Random Cartoons" and despite how popular the short was the network rejected it...twice...before Cartoon Network claimed it, and so history was made! Nickelodeon must be kicking themselves for this, since Adventure Time has basically revitalized and reinvigorated Cartoon Network, which was at the time suffering from the fall-out of the ill-conceived CN Real block.
Back in the early 2000s, Nickelodeon had made a pilot for a show called "Constant Payne", an action series starring a teenaged girl and her inventor father living in a steampunk-oriented future fighting the forces of evil. Had it gone on, it would have been the first anime-like cartoon predating the likes of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Teen Titans. While many had suspected that the scene of a blimp dragging itself between two buildings was the cause of the series not being picked up, invoking images of September 11th, it turns out that wasn't the case: the creator was attempting to get Nickelodeon to pay the animators higher wages and not only did Nick say "No.", but they also dropped the series.
Hanna Barbera as a studio famous for a wide variety of ideas getting greenlighted, there's a lot more that got changed along the way
Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines was originally conceived as Stop That Pigeon (the show's theme song), and the two principals, along with Klunk and Zilly, was a jelly-bellied Red Baron-esque character and an orange dachshund with flying goggles. Dick Dastardly and Muttley were originally meant to be on The Perils of Penelope Pitstop as the protectors of Penelope's brother. The two were instead drafted into Stop That Pigeon, replacing the Baron figure and dachshund, and that show renamed.
The Superstars 10 Movie, Yogi's Great Escape was originally pitched to be a globetrekking Wacky Race, it was later retooled (and more than likely to the dismay of everyone reading this)
Originally, Scooby-Doo was meant to be about a traveling band that solved mysteries. However, Scooby Doo wasn't going to be the main character, and he was originally going to be a sheepdog named Too Much. The studio rejected the initial proposal because the Archie Show (on CBS) already had a sheepdog named Hot Dog. CBS rejected the presentation art for the show (first called "Who's Scared?" and "Mysteries Five"). During a plane ride, producer and then-CBS executive Fred Silverman was inspired by a Frank Sinatra song, where the titular singer ad-libbed a line by singing "dooby-dooby-doo". Silverman liked the sound of that line so much that he changed Too Much's to Scooby and decided to make him the main character of the series after he was changed to a Great Dane (inspired by a staffer at H-B who raised Great Danes as a hobby).
Secondary problem: the comics section of the newspaper had a Great Dane (Brad Anderson's "Marmaduke"), so designer Iwao Takamoto gave this animated Great Dane a slanted back, bow legs and bulging chin.
Also there's art circulating showing Scooby and Animated Fonz together for a crossover that was never produced.
Jonny Quest was revived in the '80s as "The New Adventures of Jonny Quest", but only ran 13 episodes. The original intent was an order of 39 episodes (three seasons), but the poor ratings and reception led to it getting the axe quickly. Little has been said about what might have happened past episode 13, though one of the writers on the series had hoped to include Jessie Bradshaw more as a semi-regular character.
A '90s revival of the series, "Jonny Quest's Extraordinary Adventures", was planned to be released in 1995 with an order of 65 episodes. Delays on the series led to the original writer and art director being fired after the first 26 stories. The new creative team started work on a separate series, titled "The New Jonny Quest", which itself only lasted 26 episodes. Due to Executive Meddling, both series were combined and aired as one show: The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest.
Had Real Adventures not been cancelled, the Quest team would have operated out of Palm Key once more. There were also plans to explore the history of Jonny's mother for the proposed season 3 premiere.
While it was not common for the studio to make pilots for most series (as most were sold on drawings or storyboards), one such was entitled The World Color it Happy. This block show contained two animated segments, the first being a new funny animal, Toing Tiger (whom appears to be a proto Cool Cat, but more like Snagglepuss goodness replacing all the Cool Cat badness) and the Gang From Galaxy, a Jonny Quest like show but "Recycled IN SPACE!"
The Patridge Family 2200A.D was originally pitched as a Jetsons teen series, in most drafts feature Judy as a reporter, Elroy and Astro assiting her, and get ready for this, Astro's Son, named Tralfaz after his father. Drawings of this version are circulating on the internet, but other earlier versions find reporter Judy now going steady with Jet Screamer! But when pitched to the network, they gave Hanna Barbera the money but asked they used the Partridge Family instead
Likewise Casper and the Angels was not originally pitched with Casper and Hairy Scary as the "guarians", what was to be their guardians at the moment has not slipped out of the grapevine.
In one last note, when Turner bought Hanna Barbera, everything in development at the time was haulted and most never got funded under the Turner regime (most money going to the cartoon Network shows, this also the real reason why many 90s HB shows ended earlier than fans wanted). Some ideas from this period that never were included:
A whole second round of Superstars 10 films, only two of which ever came to be, Jonny's Golden Quest and The flintstones christmas carol. Others included, another western but this time with Quick Draw as the main character, a Magilla Gorilla movie with him going to the opera, the Jetsons and the Flintstone meeting again but this time ending up in Rome (where another HB family lived), a movie where Yogi is shipped off to Russia and meets his Russian twin Yaki Bear.
HB has also pitched a spinoff with the Trio of Triumph from Yogi's Treasure Hunt in an educational anti-bulling show. Also never funded by Turner
A movie project called "The last herd" was also under way, what it was to be is unknown but is speculated to have been somehow about cows.
Heavy Metal was originally planned to have all the vignettes connected and a cohesive plot between all of them, but time contraints forcing production at several companies made this impossible. This would have included things like Hanover Fitse appearing on Zeke and Edsel's spaceship, declaring that Stern would go free, a vignette called "Neverwhereland", which would have the Loc-Nar landing on a planet and changing its development and culminating in World War II, linking Stern and B-17. There was also meant to be a carousel with a taxi, a bomber, Taarna's bird-thing, and the dragonfly-thing from Den in Grimaldi's house, but this was left out for various reasons. Unfortauntely, there isn't any information on what would have linked the rest of the vignettes.
Back in the early '90s, there were plans for a Wonder Woman-centered animated series and toy line called "Wonder Woman and the Star Riders". This idea only got as far as doll prototypes and a mini comic for a cereal before it was unceremoniously dumped. The designs, minus Wonder Woman, were re-purposed for Tenko And The Guardians Of The Magic. This page showcases the disastrous idea.
In The Eighties, there were plans for a Merchandise-DrivenSaturday Morning Cartoon called Michael's Pets featuring the adventures of Michael Jackson's Real Life menagerie (Bubbles the chimp, et. al.). According to the biography Michael Jackson Unauthorized, it would have aired on CBS, but at the last moment Jackson nixed the show because it would have contradicted the more adult image he was trying to project with Bad. The plush toys still made it to stores in 1987, but bombed, and are now collector's items.
Ever wonder why The Amazing World of Gumball uses so many different animation styles for all the characters? Well, originally, the show was going to be about outcast cartoon characters in a rehabilitation school that vows to make them normal members of society. Despite Cartoon Network's track record for creating animated shows that like to push the boundaries of what's acceptable for kids and what isn't (Regular Show, Adventure Time, Time Squad, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, etc), they found the premise to this show "too dark" and asked Ben Bocquelet (the show creator) to change it.
Metalocalypse was initially titled "Deathclock", which had to be changed to "Dethklok" to write around trademark issues. However, the title soon became "Dethklok Metalocalypse" and was then shortened to keep it from being too complicated. The earliest designs from 2005◊ show a much different look for Pickles as well. According to Brendon Small, Pickles' design had to be overhauled due to likeness issues involving Devin Townsend (his basis).
Originally, Garfield and Friends was going to just be U.S. Acres without Garfield, but since no networks would pick it up because Garfield wasn't a part of the show, U.S. Acres had to one third of the show.
Back in 2004, Nickelodeon aired a pilot episode for a planned Fairly Odd Parents spin-off based on the Crash Nebula character that exists in that show's universe, presenting the pilot as a Show Within a Show. Said pilot aired maybe once or twice and then never aired again. A commonly believed reason for why the pilot never got picked up for a full series is because the plot was said to be too similar to Sky High, a Disney film released around the same time. If it had been picked up for a full series this would have meant that Butch Hartman would have had three shows running at the same time on the same network (Crash Nebula, Fairly Odd Parents, and Danny Phantom). Sadly a "full episode upload" to places like YouTube is very rare to find (even more so in English), but existence of said pilot can be found in this video recording of a 2004 commercial break on Nickelodeon.
Similar to the above, there was going to be a G-Rated Alien animated series named Operation Aliens. It was also never picked up.
There is a quite large book on exactly this subject called The Disney That Never Was, including the original version of The Jungle Book, which was to be much darker in coloration, and much more faithful to the original, and the never-implemented Hiawatha and the Pearl-Father.
Filmation was originally approached to do an animated adaptation of Josie and the Pussycats. It made sense as Filmation had also produced two other animated adaptations of Archie Comics titles, The Archie Show and Sabrina and The Groovie Goolies. However, Filmation had to turn down the show due to their workload and Hanna Barbera instead made the series. How different would the Josie cartoon have been if it were made by Filmation? We'll never know.