What Could Have Been / Western Animation

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Apparently "Freedom Fighters" didn't sound cool enough.note 
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     Based on DC Comics 
The DC Animated Universe had quite a few things like this, given its long length and famous run-ins with characters being Exiled from Continuity and Executive Meddling:
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • The series was tested out on primetime TV but failed for that timeslot. It's possible its success would have lead to more maturely themed stories.
    • There were talks of Neil Gaiman's Sandman appearing in a special Batman: The Animated Series episode — a Christmas episode, where Batman would meet Dream and Death.
    • 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.
    • The episode "Showdown" was originally going to show Ra's Al-Ghul battling enemies across three time periods, starting with Jonah Hex in the 1800's, before moving to Enemy Ace during World War I, and finally jumping to the present to show him fighting Batman. The creators couldn't find a place to fit in Enemy Ace, so they just settled on the Jonah Hex plot.
    • 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. It has also been said that Curry simply wasn't available to voice the character regularly, which led to the casting of Mark Hamill, who has shown more than once that he can be very creepy in the role.
    • 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).
  • Superman: The Animated Series:
    • An early idea for the series was to have it be a team-up show, much like the later Batman: The Brave and the Bold series. Each episode would have seen Superman teaming up with different members of the Justice League, with concept art showing Batman, Robin, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Wonder Woman, The Flash, Hawkman, Power Girl and Blue Beetle. Villains featured in the concept art included Catwoman, the Penguin, the Joker, Star Sapphire, Captain Cold, Doctor Sivana, the Cheetah and Eclipso. Jenette Kahn put the kibosh on the idea, arguing that Superman would have been overshadowed in his own TV show.
    • Captain Marvel was originally going to appear in an episode, but both the infamous problems about his name (I Am Not Shazam) and trouble trying to figure out how to put him in without having to create a Justice League delayed his DCAU integration until Justice League Unlimited. Even then, they were only able to have him in one episode and name-check him in another.
    • Clancy Brown, who voiced Lex Luthor, originally auditioned for the role of Superman.
    • 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.
    • Ma and Pa Kent were supposed to be the ones to die at the end of "Apokolips...Now!", but DC said they would have to be resurrected. Since Bruce Timm wanted to kill off someone for real, the production team settled on Dan Turpin instead.
    • "Little Girl Lost" was originally going to be much darker, with humans being rounded up and sent to some very Nazi-esque camps to be turned into Parademons.
    • Paul Dini and Bruce Timm originally wanted to use Kara Zor-El as Supergirl, but they were denied by DC Comics due to the then-current "Superman is the only survivor of Krypton" edict. Although they went as close as they could get, with Kara being Clark's adopted cousin and from Krypton's "sister planet", Argo (a Mythology Gag to that side of the House of El living in Argo City in the comics), essentially making her as close to Kryptonian as possible. An additional Mythology Gag is her family name - Kara Zor-El's mother was named Allura In-Ze, with said surname given to the show's interpretation of Kara.
    • "Legacy" was intended to be the kickoff for a season's worth of episodes about Superman trying to regain the world's trust, but instead became the series finale. The subplot about the world not trusting superheroes was eventually used in Justice League.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • After being pressured to add a Batgirl-like female hero to the series, Bruce Timm considered introducing a futuristic version of the Huntress. Given that Huntress is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman in some continuities, this could have opened up some interesting story ideas.
    • One rejected script featured the son of Superman and Lashina, who had been conceived during Superman's time under Darkseid's control. The son would have set his sights on Earth after having conquered Apokolips, leading to an all out battle against Batman and the Justice League. A subplot would have been Superman struggling with the guilt of not having known his child.
    • Another rejected script had Terry become an item with Maxine after Dana breaks up with him. That episode is a double What Could Have Been, as Bruce Timm's original plan for the episode would have explored Terry and Dana's relationship more and ended with it being strengthened. Timm rejected the episode script after Alan Burnett changed the entire purpose.
    • Mr. Freeze's role was originally just a one-off gag appearance, where Terry was getting a soda for Bruce and, in an awkward moment, would find Mr. Freeze's head and they'd briefly stare at each other, and then Terry would close the fridge and give the soda to Bruce. This was discarded because it was an insulting and unfitting ending for his character.
    • A second DVD movie was planned after Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, which would have seen the return of Catwoman. Though the film was scrapped, elements of it were used in the "Epilogue" episode of Justice League Unlimited.
    • The Terrific Trio from "Heroes" were slated to return in the early 2000's comic series, but Marvel Comics objected due to their resemblance to the Fantastic Four.
    • Hilary Bader pitched a Lighter and Softer sequel to the series, which would've seen Terry and his family moving to a Terraformed colony on Mars.
  • Justice League:
    • As mentioned in the Superman section, there was talk of a Justice League-style cartoon way back in the late 90's. 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 (in a Psylocke-inspired outfit). Batman would not have been part of the JLA, as he still had his own TV show at the time.
    • Early concept and pitch art shows a different line-up for the series. One piece had Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, the John Stewart Green Lantern (who would've worn a mask), Aquaman (with his classic design) and Orion. Another featured the same line-up, but with Orion gone, and the inclusion of Green Arrow, Black Canary and Hawkman, with Hawkgirl apparently planned to appear as well. Yet another featured Aquaman as he appeared in S:TAS, plus Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
    • Justice League was originally pitched as being a show about the JLA and their sidekicks, being more aimed for the Saturday Morning Cartoon kids crowd (having been pitched to Kids' WB! originally). 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.
    • The then-believed-to-be-final episode of JLU was to have ended with Clark Kent revealing his identity to Lois Lane.
    • Had the show been renewed again, there were plans for an additional 13 episode season of Justice League Unlimited, which would have been one large arc featuring the League traveling through time and encountering heroes like Enemy Ace and the Atomic Knights. There were also ideas for the hypothetical season to take place in the Batman Beyond time period featured in "Epilogue". However, nothing ever really evolved beyond the initial idea phase, as the writers were all sure "Destroyer" was going to be the final episode.
    • 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 a few issues of the tie-in comic book.
    • The JLU episode "This Little Piggy" would have contained perhaps the greatest moment of the entire DCAU: The Joker would have been shown with Harley Quinn and his gang, laying out his plans for a wild and complex crime. He would have then spotted Batman walking by, carrying a pig dressed like Wonder Woman and talking to it. After a pause, the Joker would have thrown up his hands and called the scheme off, saying nothing he planned could possibly top that. Sadly, they couldn't find a way to fit this into the episode's time constraints.
    • Originally the "Justice Guild of America" was going to be the actual Justice Society of America, but pressure from DC necessitated the change to not-quite-exact copies.
    • Plans were made for the Birds of Prey to guest star in an episode 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."
    • 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.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • 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 Super-Heroes 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.
  • Bruce Timm confirmed that after Batman Beyond, the next Batman show was supposed to have been an Animesque series set even further in the future, which he described as "Batman meets Power Rangers." The show would've revolved around a trio of kids who became their time period's equivalents of Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, and would've featured a robot version of Alfred named "Alpha-Red." Timm seemed embarrassed by even the thought of the show, while Kevin Smith thought it would have been Crazy Awesome.
  • In 1999, Alex Ross and Paul Dini began preliminary work on a Shazam cartoon that would've featured Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. as the leads. The series would have had a more exaggerated art style, described as a cross between C.C. Beck and The Powerpuff Girls. Unfortunately, this had to be axed when it turned out WB didn't have the television rights to the Shazam franchise.
  • 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.
  • Prior to the cancellation of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the creation of Beware the Batman, there were a number of other pitches. One of them was a Nightwing-centered cartoon. The design for Nightwing in the cartoon seems to hint that this ended up becoming Young Justice. The other pitch was for the Bat-Family (comprised of Batman, Robin [Damian Wayne], Nightwing, Catwoman and Batgirl [Cassandra Cain]) attempting to protect Gotham after a major disaster left it in ruins, a la Batman: No Man's Land.
    • 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"?
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • The second season was supposed to have featured Mon-El as a major character, but the execs shot this down on the premise that Mon-El was too similar to Superboy. They ended up using the Darker and Edgier Canon Foreigner Superman X instead.
      • Also, Alexis Luthor was to have a major role as The Dragon to Imperiex 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.
    • According to James Tucker in an interview with World's Finest Online, had the show continued with a third season, it would be planned to be the final season and revealed details about it:
      • It would take place three years after the previous season.
      • Superman would return as the main character.
      • The main storyline would focus on Brainiac 5's return and his quest for redemption.
      • Brainiac 6 would serve as the Big Bad for the season.
      • Supergirl, Sensor, Magnetic Kid, Wildfire, Tellus, Princess Projectra and Shadow Lass would be introduced.
      • Blok and Dawnstar would have major roles after having becoming background characters in the previous season.
      • Ferro Lad's twin brother would appear, while Superman X would become a regular character, but in a reduced role.
  • 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 (i.e.: 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.
    • Christopher Jones has stated that had the show been renewed for a third season, Supergirl would have appeared.
    • Weisman, Vietti and Jones pitched ideas to continue the show to Cartoon Network, including a TV film series, an Arrow family-centric spinoff, an Earth-16 set comic book and a crossover with Scooby-Doo.
    • The Wonder Twins from Super Friends and Rose Wilson / Ravager were going to appear in the show had it been renewed for a third season.
  • 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. A Poorly Disguised Pilot was included as an episode of Super Friends, which revealed it to be more of the same, but with younger versions of the characters.
    • 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 Super Friends). 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.
      • When the show was cancelled, Glen Murakami raised the possibility of it one day being resurrected under the new title Titans, citing the way Batman: The Animated Series was cancelled before being revived as The New Batman Adventures a few years later. Unfortunately, this never occurred.
      • Season 6 would have likely been focused on Starfire, as she was the only one of the main cast to not have a devoted season arc. The season might have introduced Starfire's brother, Wildfire, on the show, although he did end up appearing in the comic.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Blue Lantern Razer. That is all.
  • The first season of Beware the Batman was originally going to feature The Creeper as a guest hero. In addition, other villains considered for the show included Mad Hatter, Nocturna, and Hush. The last one's role was replaced by Deathstroke.
    • The show left a couple of loose threads, namely the foundation of The Outsiders and Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face. In addition, there were several hints at the presence of The Penguin, including TV news/newspaper headlines and dialogue. Considering characters like Tobias Whale, Marion Grange, and Dent were foreshadowed this way, it would've been likely that Penguin was planned for season two.
  • 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", the show and characters would have been more of a Magical Girl show akin to She-Ra or Sailor Moon than the comics. 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 2006, a pilot of a new interpretation of Plastic Man was offered to Cartoon Network. Sadly, it was never picked up, despite being impressively well animated, containing a lot of both visual and verbal fun and managing to gain quite the fandom (that still hoped it would "pull an Adventure Time"). It eventually did sort of "pull an Adventure Time," being aired as a series of shorts on the DC Nation block; the version of Plastic Man from the pilot also showed up in Batman: The Brave and the Bold as a major recurring character.
  • While the actual show only showcased Superman, there were design sketches for other characters for Super Best Friends Forever. Robin would have resembled his Dick Grayson incarnation and be just as skinny as Batgirl, Batman would have looked like a big, hulking brute almost reminiscent to his Dark Knight Returns incarnation and Wonder Woman would have had a majorly chiseled look to her.
  • Justice League Action was originally going to be a Batman show instead of a team series.

     Based on Marvel Comics 
  • The Micronauts animated series, set to air on the Sci Fi Channel from 1998-1999, including a five-part miniseries, 26 episode syndicated series, action figures and a Marvel tie-in comic.
  • Jack Kirby's Devil Dinosaur comic book was originally developed as a pitch for an animated series. However, the development deal failed to turn into a production deal, and the comic itself ended up getting cancelled soon after.
  • 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 on UPN 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.
    • At one point, there were plans for Fox Kids to do a low budget adaptation of the first 26 issues of the original Silver Age comics, which would have extended the contract with Marvel long enough to allow the network to continue airing Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
  • Spider-Man Unlimited
    • At one point very early on in production, the producers had briefly considered doing the show as an adaptation of Spider-Man 2099.
    • Spider-Man was supposed to meet his Counter Earth counterpart, with the twist being that this Peter had never lost his Uncle Ben, and as a result had become his world's version of Venom. Marvel demanded that this plot thread be nixed after the unanimously poor response to The Clone Saga.
    • A possible script for "Destiny Unleashed Part 2" can be seen here.
    • Also this website lists summaries for unproduced episodes and other ideas that reveal the following:
      • Spiderman encountering Counter Earth versions of Mary Jane and Black Cat.
      • Lord Tygra defecting from the Knights of Wundagor to form a goverment in order to unite humans and beastials together.
      • Venom and Carnage merging together to become King Carnage.
  • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series
    • 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-American Expy of Black Cat.
    • It ends on a similar coda to The Spectacular Spider-Man: After Spider-Man is influenced by the Gaines twins 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 Spectacular Spider-Man. Greg Weisman hoped for a 65 episode run (ending with Peter's graduation from High School) - however Marvel got the animation rights to Spider-Man back from Sony, but Sony still held the rights to "The Spectacular Spider-Man " work product. Sony couldn't make more seasons of Spectacular, because they no longer had the animation rights. Marvel couldn't make more seasons of Spectacular because they didn't have the rights to that version of the character. 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 girlfriend 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 rivalry 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 adaptations 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).
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was supposed to have Spidey team up with Iceman and the Human Torch. However, the rights to the Torch were still being held up, so they ended up making a new heroine known as Firestar.
    • Firestar was originally going to be named Heatwave. This was possibly changed due to the fact that DC Comics already published a Flash villain by that name.
    • The Black Knight episode almost featured the Dane Whitman version of the character in addition to the original Sir Percy iteration. However, the story editor felt casual viewers would be confused by two different heroes named Black Knight, so Dane ended up being cut.
  • 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. An EMH tie-in comic written by Yost himself contradicts this, though. 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, 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).
    • Avengers, Assemble! was originally going to be a direct follow-up to Earth's Mightiest Heroes, with the focus on a new team of Avengers. After The Avengers broke box office records, the new show was cancelled mid-production in favor of a cartoon starring the cast of the movie.
  • In the 1980's, ABC picked up a series starring Daredevil and a guide dog named Lightning the Super-Dog. The project was dropped due to a verbal altercation between a Marvel employee and an ABC exec.
  • Had Fantastic Four been renewed for a third season, there were plans to adapt Sue's pregnancy arc. She-Hulk and Medusa would also have appeared and joined the team.
    • Iron Man also had third season plans; dubbed "The Fall and Rise of Tony Stark", where Julia puts Tony into a downward spiral after a "put up or shut up" ultimatum, and Tony had to deal with his inner demons.
  • 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 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 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.
  • At the time of Marvel's near-bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, they were planning solo shows based on two of their heroes. First, another Daredevil series was pitched to Fox Kids in 1999, but it was pushed back to air alongside a live-action movie that ended up not being made. Concept art shows that the villains would've included The Kingpin, Elektra, The Punisher and Namor; It would have been Darker and Edgier than similar shows of the time.
  • A new Hulk show called Hulk: Gamma Corps was originally supposed to air to cash-in on The Incredible Hulk. It never got off the ground, but elements of it were absorbed into The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!.
  • According to the producers, Iron Man: Armored Adventures would've featured Wolverine as a guest-star had it been renewed for a third season.
  • 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 A.U. of sorts, featuring the cast as teenagers attending a public high school. Ironically enough, that's 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 (again on NBC), 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. (The original idea ffor the special would've involved the Sentinels, but that was dropped for Magneto and the Brotherhood to pitch toys.)
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • Spyke 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.
    • Iceman was going to be the last member of the original team before being replaced by Spyke.
    • Some elements of the aborted fifth season were foreshadowed in the Bittersweet Ending to the series:
      • Jean was going to become the Phoenix, as it would adapt "The Dark Phoenix Saga" as the main basis.
      • Scott and Rogue were going to be a romantic couple.
      • Psylocke and Emma Frost were going to appear in the season. The former was going to be an agent of SHIELD, while the latter was going to be a new student and member of the Inner Circle.
      • Magneto was going to redeem himself and would become the teacher of the New Mutants, while Wolfsbane and Jubilee were going to return to the team.
      • Gambit, Colossus, Havok, Angel and X-23 were going to join the team, as seen in the final shot of the series.
      • The new X-Men line up was going to consist Cyclops, Nightcrawler, X-23, Iceman, Beast, Shadowcat, Colossus, Rogue and Storm. They would also wear uniforms inspired by the X-Men films.
      • The Brotherhood were also going to redeem themselves and working as SHIELD agents, while Scarlet Witch's hairstyle was noticeably longer.
      • A fleet of Sentinels were going to be led by Nimrod, implying that there were plans to adapt the "Days of Future Past" storyline.
      • Mister Sinister was going to appear, according to producer Boyd Kirland.
      • The anti-mutant sentiment was going to continue.
      • Danielle Moonstar would have met the X-Men, as foreshadowed in Kitty's dream in the penultimate episode of the series.
      • Legion's story arc would've been resolved.

     Cartoon Network 
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has a few of these examples:
    • Numbuh 3 was originally going to speak Japanese (with English subtitles) and Numbuh 5 was originally not going to speak at all. They realized the Unfortunate Implications of doing this to the two female characters and scrapped both ideas.
    • 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; the flash game Operation: STARTUP on the CN website can have her wear glasses briefly to reveal hidden objects), 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 Network asked this to be changed since Dexter's Laboratory had already done the same thing.
    • And according to some rumors, 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, also a Foregone Conclusion.
    • Numbuh 1 originally had a different voice in the pilot however the boy refused to work on the cartoon. They briefly considered Tom Kenny however his voice was deemed too mature sounding.
  • Couragethe Cowardly Dog also has quite a few instances of this.
    • Originally, the mask Eustace uses to scare Courage was going to be a shotgun, but this was later changed due to network censors.
    • In 2015, John R. Dilworth had posted on his tumblr that Cartoon Network had ordered two Courage holiday specials, one being a Christmas special and the other a Halloween special. These two specials were ultimately scrapped for unknown reasons.
  • 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.
  • 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) with a human Tagalong Kid as they prevented an evil dodo bird from exposing the existence of other cryptids. But according to executives, nobody wanted a show like that, so it was reworked heavily into what we know today.
  • Camp Lazlo was originally envisioned as...a children's storybook! However, Joe Murray decided the characters had much more potential if they were put on television 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, and she appeared in earlier concept art with a long ponytail and a pink shirt. The first part was probably changed because it would make no sense for her to be on a vacation with him, especially if their relationship was as antagonistic as it was in the final show.
    • 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.
  • An episode of Time Squad featured a Time Squad unit of the very skilled (yet very rude) JT Lazer and Lance Nine Trillion. Carlos Ramos, a writer for the show, stated that JT and Lance would have become real series villains had the show been renewed for more episodes.
  • The original premise for Total Drama 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.
  • Ever wonder why The Amazing World of Gumball uses so many different animation styles for all the characters? Well, many of the characters were failed product mascots Ben Bocquelet designed while working at a company that created TV advertisements. Rather than throw them away or redesign and repitch them in the hopes they get picked, Bocquelet superimposed them on a photograph of a school and decided to create a TV series out of it for Cartoon Network.
    • When Bocquelet pitched his series to Cartoon Network, he originally wanted it to be about rejected cartoon characters sentenced to attend a remedial school until they become normal. The Vice President of the branch of Cartoon Network he pitched it to found that premise "too depressing" and Bocquelet literally left and returned to the room with a new angle on the series: one that focused on a blue cat named Gumball and his family and the remedial school was rewritten as an American junior high school.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast was to feature a sidekick to Space Ghost, played by character actor Hervé Villechaize of Fantasy Island fame. Sadly, Villechaize shot himself before production began, resulting in the producers throwing out the proposed character out of respect.
  • Over the Garden Wall. Series creator has said that there were actually dozens of alternative endings discussed and planned out before they settled on the final one, including ones where Greg alone made it home, though they felt this undermined Wirt's character development. The very original one had the boys boarding the black train in the very first episode, instead of being hit by it. They realize that it's an Afterlife Express and jump off, getting stuck in the Unknown, a place between life and death. The Beast wasn't a bad guy, just somebody doing his job, trying to get them to board the train. Eventually, they accept their fate and get back on board...only to realize that the train was returning to life, and Wirt was deliberately avoiding his problems until now.
    • Apparently, this original idea was scrapped because a) it had too many similarities to Spirited Away and The Polar Express and b) it's kinda difficult to talk about kids "accepting death" in a child's cartoon.
  • Adventure Time:
    • The Adventure Time Wiki describes several never-produced episodes, a couple of which ended up being "recycled" for later actual episodes.
    • "Tree Trunks" was originally intended to end with the strong implication that Tree Trunks had actually died. Executives decided that this was too dark and demanded the addition of the final sequence of her in the Crystal Dimension.
    • Originally the Cerebus Retcon in "Ocarina" about Jake's (lack of a) relationship with his children would have been even worse, with a final scene that revealed that Kim Kil Whan had a daughter of his own, and hadn't told either her or Jake of the other person's existence because he hated Jake so much.
  • ThunderCats (2011) creators Sharon Eric Denton and Dan Norton gave details about the planned second season of the show before the network cancelled the show as explained in an interview with MTV Geek:
    • It was planned to last for 39 episodes as they planned to have the show last for 65 episodes.
    • Pumyra would remain The Dragon to Mumm-Ra following her corruption in the end of the first season. Not only that, she would be turned into an insectoid creature near the end of the season.
    • Snarf would be revealed to be the result of ancient experimentation by Mumm-Ra to create a genetically-superior race, which would result to the creation of ThunderCats.
    • Tygra would kill Pumyra, which would lead to creating more tension between him and Lion-O.
    • Slythe would have an episode that explain his backstory, which would reveal how he had a special grudge against Lynx-O as it would be revealed that the latter was responsible for killing the hatchlings of Slythe's tribe. The end of the episode would involve him decapitating Lynx-O, avenging his tribe's death. Not only that, he would redeem himself and betrays Mumm-Ra by giving Lion-O the Soul Stone, before Mumm-Ra kills him, in the latter's act of Redemption Equals Death.
  • Since the channel started as an in-name division for Hanna-Barbera, it leaves one to wonder what Cartoon Network would have been like had HB remained operational?

     Disney 
  • 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 for Mickey in an animated short and was later reintroduced in House of Mouse. In fact, 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.
  • 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 Adventures of the 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.
  • The pilot of Phineas and Ferb shows a few original ideas that were scrapped: Phineas was more sarcastic (Word of God says they wanted him to act like an annoying little brother), Doofenshmirtz's name was "Meddleshmirtz," and the boys were going to be canonically nine instead of canonically indeterminate. Also, Ferb never spoke, implying he might have been planned to be The Voiceless instead of just The Quiet One.
    • 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.
  • Milo Murphy's Law grew out of a secondary character in another story that Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh were working on; when Dan suggested making Milo the star of his own show, Swampy said that he'd been thinking the same thing himself. Also, he was originally Mikey Murphy (which was still used in early press reports), and the Time Travel plot was added later.
  • 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.
    • Another is the whereabouts Rose's twin sister.
  • In 1989, Disney negotiated with Jay Ward Productions to produce a revival of Rocky and Bullwinkle, titled The Secret Adventures of Bullwinkle. What would have come of it? New Rocky and Bullwinkle stories, new Peabody's Improbable History stories, new Dudley Do-Right stories, new Mr. Know-It-All segments and a whole new segment called Fractured Scary Tales, which would've been spoofs of famous horror films. The negotiations failed, but as a consolation, Disney was given exclusive home video rights to Ward's cartoons throughout the 1990's. However, because the series was scrapped, the team behind the concept was pressured to come up with a replacement series. The resulting replacement? Darkwing Duck.
  • 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.
  • Recess:
    • The main six kids 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.
  • 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, and how it became the killers of The Disney Afternoon, maybe the original idea would have worked better.
  • Kim Possible:
  • If DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp did better at the box office, there was also going to be a Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers movie as well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil
    • The show was originally going to be about a grade-school girl with an overactive imagination who constantly thinks she's having amazing adventures. It was changed to a high school girl who actually is fighting the forces of evil.
    • The character Marco was originally named Sol, obsessed with shows like Dragon Ball Z, and Star's rival instead of her best friend.
    • Flying Princess Pony Head was originally going to be constantly drooling and have blood dripping from her neck.
  • 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.
  • You can watch Motorcity's original pilot here. Remember, the show was in development for over 10 years.
  • W.I.T.C.H.:
    • The series 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.

     Hanna-Barbera 
  • Hanna-Barbera was a studio famous for a wide variety of ideas getting greenlighted, but a lot more got changed along the way.
  • In the mid-1950s, a young Hollywood upstart named Jack Nicholson sent his portfolio to MGM's cartoon department in the hopes of getting hired as a cleanup artist on Tom and Jerry. The unit closed less than a week after his job interview.
  • 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, were 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 was renamed.
    • The Superstars 10 Movie Yogi's Great Escape was originally pitched to be a globe-trekking Wacky Race to be called Around the World with the Wacky Racers, it was later retooled (and more than likely to the dismay of everyone reading this).
    • Mumbly was in itself going to be a Muttley spinoff with Muttley now a good guy detective. But instead Mumbly was created and had to take over villain duties for Muttley when the rights blocked Muttley's use.
  • Scooby-Doo also has a few never-used ideas, right down to the concept of the series:
    • It was originally 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. (And two other sheepdogs named Hot Dog Junior and Chili 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.
    • The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo was cut short before the last two ghosts were caught. Apparently the writers were surprised when the next season came round and the network was fine with airing reruns instead of getting an order for a second season to finish the plot.
  • Hanna-Barbera had been in the market for a "Gruesomes" show for a long time. Originally with hopes The J Evil Scientist family from Snooper and Blabber could be a 7-minute short. When that failed The Gruesomes were added to the Flintstones which didn't take. From there the idea of "The Gruesomes and the Twosomes" for a modern take. The Gruesome part of that got recycled as the Creeplies on the Laff-a-lympics (The Scientists and Gruesomes too lovable to be bad guys at that point)
    • Also interestingly on an episode of Wait Till Your Father Gets Home a new twosome looking pair of neighbors got an episode that seemed like a Back Door Pilot. Probably these were what remained of that concept.
  • The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang. An animated spinoff to Happy Days was the subject of an Urban Legend of Zelda about a What Could Have Been, but in the end really did have one of it's own. After a successful first season a second was ordered and a Laverne and Shirley animated series with an equally odd story choice debuted. For the third, the Fonz show was shelved to make room for a Mork and Mindy one but instead they chose to combine the other two into "Laverne and Shirley with the Fonz". But this segment was cut short when Cindy Williams quit the real life role. What exactly the future for animated Fonz world would have supposed to have gone from here, no one fully knows.
  • 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.
  • The second season of Western Animation/2StupidDogs was originally going to feature new incarnations of other Hanna Barbera shows besides Secret Squirrel but that didn't come to pass.
  • 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 Partridge Family 2200A.D. was originally pitched as a Jetsons teen series, in most drafts feature Judy as a reporter, Elroy and Astro assisting 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. Curiously, Partridge kids Danny, Laurie, Chris and Tracy (voiced by their prime time counterparts) appeared in cartoon form the previous season on Goober and the Ghost Chasers.
    • Likewise Casper and the Angels was not originally pitched with Casper and Hairy Scary as the "guardians", what was to be their guardians at the moment has not slipped out of the grapevine.
  • Another funny animal named Dan'l Bone has artwork out there. Apparently a canine Daniel Boone probably similar to Touche Turtle in plot
  • The Godzilla Power Hour: Toho let them make a Godzilla cartoon. But: could they get his roar? Nope, they had to let Ted Cassidy growl. Could they get his little mini-dino from the movies? Nope they had to make Goodzooky. Could they get his enemies? Nope, they had to make use of the Expy idea.
  • The Laff-a-lympics teams changed over time. The Scooby team at one point included Melody, Alexander, Sebastian, Alexandra and Jeannie.
    • The opening titles were recorded before Jeannie's removal, she's included in the "45 stars" and if you look really close she's included in a quick background frame they didn't bother cutting.
  • The last episode of Hong Kong Phooey pitched three new shows, but only one took. We never saw Honcho or the Mystery Maverick again.
  • Likewise interviews later stated the character Fumbo Jumbo that took over some spotlight in an episode of Yogi's Gang was a show that had not sold yet and his inclusion in that episode was aimed to sell the show as a Poorly Disguised Pilot.
  • Some interesting finds from Alex Toth's time include drawings of Space Ghost without his mask and presentation art for another show called "Planet of the Dogs", which basically seems to be a take of Planet of the Apes with dogs. This is of course many years before Road Rovers or Thundercats. However funny enough the company would do a dog world just instead of 60s super hero template, it was 80s small village template, The Biskitts.
  • In one last note, when Turner bought Hanna-Barbera, everything in development at the time was halted 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 A 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 Flintstones meeting again but this time ending up in Rome (where another HB family lived), another Top Cat movie and a movie where Yogi is shipped off to Russia and meets his Russian twin Yaki Bear.
    • There more than likely may have also been at least one Scooby movie in there, all three of the last ones had some form of Sequel Hook.
    • HB 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 it's speculated to have been about cows.
    • Another piece of artwork from this time surfaced of what looked like an Elroy and Astro Jetson spinoff with the two in space super hero antics. Possibly similar to Astro's segment on Space Stars.
  • Speaking of Space Stars, that show originally was going to be 90 minutes long and feature the Jetsons in other segments. Funny enough there were more bumpers made for this in mind, but they never aired on tv. The dvd release actually included all of these segments who were now seen for the very first time. On a Warner Archive podcast two of the show's writers were surprised to learn all of those actually got fully animated.

     Nickelodeon 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • 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.
    • This setting would then be used in the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra.
    • 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. Yes that Mitchel Musso.
    • The books were originally named after seasons.
    • Head writer Aaron Ehasz envisioned a fourth season where the politics of the world following the defeat of the Fire Nation could be explored. Said season would also include a two-parter that would explore Iroh's past and a story arc where Toph confronts her issues stemming from her parents' emotional abuse.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Asami Sato was originally going to be a Equalist along with her father. Mike and Bryan liked Asami's interactions with Korra, Bolin, and Mako too much to flush it with a betrayal, so they re-wrote her to be an Unwitting Pawn. After that, they intended to end the series without any endgame hookup between the lead characters, but that plan they too scrapped in favor of her becoming Korra's girlfriend.
    • Apparently there were plans to introduce the Fire Lord's daughter (Iroh II's younger sister) as a Love Interest for Mako. The creators jokingly encourage fans to use this as Fanfic Fuel.
    • Kya had dreadlocks in her concept art however in the final series her hair isn't dreaded.
  • Hey Arnold! has a few:
    • 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: one meant for TV and one meant for the movie theaters. The made-for-TV one was created — but it ended up being released theatrically and it flopped so bad, that the planned second movie (which was meant to be the Grand Finale, and would have focused on Arnold trying to find his missing parents) was scrapped. The troubles with the other movie are well-documented. See here. Fortunately, the second movie has resumed production and will be premiering as a TV Movie in November of 2017.
    • 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.
  • The Angry Beavers: An episode was written, storyboarded, and had lines of dialog recorded that had the Angry Beavers coming to grips with their show being canceled and lampshading the fact it would be stuck in reruns for eternity. This went against Nickelodeon's guidelines, stating no show should ever acknowledge its own ending - a measure put in place to ensure kids would keep watching reruns with the hope that new episodes would soon follow. Mary Harrington, the producer of this and multiple other Nicktoons, says that she thought this episode was brilliant, but didn't want kids to be sad over the end, in which the brothers die and go to Cartoon Heaven.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • The original concept 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 earlier version of the intro exists with different lyrics.
  • The Fairly OddParents! also has some concepts that were scrapped:
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Before the series was canceled, there were plans for a season-two finale where Zim and the other Irkens went to rescue Invader Tenn, who had been captured by the Meekrob in "Megadoomer."
    • 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.
    • One episode which was scripted and voiced, but never animated, would reveal the Irken's were just a host body and their actual sentient parts were their backpacks. The packs were controlled by the Control Brains, who were implied to have taken control of the Irken Empire a la I, Robot making the Tallest little more than figure heads. Other unfinished scripts and concept art also revealed plans to introduce and discuss previous Tallests Miyuki and Spork, with Miyuki still possibly being alive and controlling things from afar. An unwritten episode is also believed to have revealed the Almight Tallests Red and Purple were actually shorter than Zim and only appearing tall via robot bodies.
    • 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.
    • In this early note, Zim species wasn't called the Irkens; instead, he was a Noyng. The design seen there also has a greater head-to-body ratio.
  • KaBlam!:
    • The series 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.
    • Prometheus and Bob was going to get a live-action movie, but it was scrapped due to a lack of interest.
    • Henry and June were to get their own spin-off, The Henry and June Show, and the pilot aired in Spring 1999. Because the ratings for the pilot didn't reach Nickelodeon's expectations, the spin-off was scrapped and the pilot never aired again.
  • 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...
  • Once upon a time, a scraggly young man walked into the Spumco offices stating his intention to write a song for The Ren & Stimpy Show 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.
  • Rugrats:
    • At least fifteen episodes were planned but scrapped for various reasons. Most notable of these is "Chuckie Gets Trapped," which would've dealt with Chuckie getting his head stuck in a stair banister.
    • The pilot episode "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing," while never televised on Nick, was actually planned to be edited into an 11-minute episode in 1993 as part of the series' regular run, but never happened. Not much is known about how this would've played out, with some speculating that there would be all-new animation or would add just an extra 4 minutes and 30 seconds to the existing 6 minutes and 30 seconds of the pilot. This practice would end up being used in the pilot episode for Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.
    • Back in The Noughties, when Nick adored the series, 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.
  • Dora the Explorer:
    • Dora 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.
    • In the test pilot Boots used the Grumpy Old Troll's design.
  • What do The Proud Family, Pepper Ann, Ed, Edd n Eddy, and Adventure Time have in common? They were all originally pitched to be Nicktoons on Nickelodeon. While there's no word on why Nickelodeon didn't pick The Proud Family or Pepper Ann, Ed, Edd n Eddy wasn't picked because Danny Antonnucci (the show creator) was afraid Nickelodeon was going to bombard his show with notes on how to tone down the content and make it more palatable for Nickelodeon's audiencenote . Adventure Time is an interesting case because its pilot was shown on Nickelodeon's Random Cartoons and, despite how popular the short was, the network rejected it twice before Cartoon Network claimed it — and it couldn't have come at a better time for Cartoon Network, since it was in the midst of its 2004 to 2009 Dork Age, where all of its classic cartoons were sent to Boomerang, its Cartoon Cartoon era was over (ending with Ed, Edd n Eddy's finale movie and truncated final season), it was airing live-action shows and movies in a desperate and misguided bid to be like Nickelodeon (the infamous CN Real programming and its airing of such movies and syndicated shows as Goosebumps, Dumb and Dumber, Hellboy, and The Mask), and the few cartoons it had (like Chowder, Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Camp Lazlo, and Class of 3000) weren't favorably received or were getting Screwed by the Network, and it needed something — anything — to Win Back the Crowd.
  • 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.
  • Back in 2004, Nickelodeon aired a pilot episode for a planned Fairly OddParents 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 OddParents, and Danny Phantom). Sadly a "full episode upload" to places like YouTube is very rare to find (even more so in English) but the pilot did air as a regular FOP episode in Latin America, Brazil and Italy at least.The Crash Nebula pilot did eventually see more reruns, usually in marathons, but only after enough time had passed to make it painfully clear it was never going to be more than a pilot.
  • 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.
  • As Told by Ginger:
    • The unaired pilot was quite different from the show we know of today. The main difference were the designs and art style. The hair styles were different, Miranda and Darren were white, and the style was more similar to the Rugrats (Deranged Animation and all). Perhaps the biggest difference in personalities were that Courtney was an Alpha Bitch instead of being Spoiled Sweet, and Blake being an Annoying Younger Sibling and radically out of character compared to how he is in the show. (He crashed the party in his underpants!)
    • Apparently, Nickelodeon had wanted the finale, "The Wedding Frame" to have a less conclusive ending just in the case the show's producers decided to reverse their decision to end it. The proposed "less conclusive" ending supposedly involved Lois discovering she's pregnant.
    • There was talk of having Courtney confess her love for Ginger late into the series however Nickelodeon nixed the idea.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy: Eric Bauza was originally supposed to voice Dudley Puppy, but the producers felt that Bauza wasn't right for the character, so they chose Jerry Trainor instead.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The main character got his name because the name the creators actually wanted to use for the character, SpongeBoy Ahoy, was a trademarked mop brand.
    • As part of a collaboration with other shows on the block, the show was supposed to air on Nick Jr. for one week but this never came to be, likely because the show was never intended for preschoolers in the first place.
  • Blue of Blue's Clues was supposed to be a cat, but they said that there were too 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.
  • CatDog
    • Series creator Peter Hannan originally pitched the ideas as a series of two-minute shorts. Once he recorded the theme song, however, the Nick higher-ups decided to make it a series.
    • Before it was pitched to Nick, CatDog began as an idea for a children's book about a two-headed superhero called The Amazing CatDog Man.
    • An episode based on Les Misérables was proposed, but never went into production.
  • The Loud House was originally about a family of rabbits with 27 children; the same gender dynamic that Lincoln lives under would have been in effect with a buck named Warren dealing with life with 26 sisters (all of whom would have had names starting with B). Eventually Savino was convinced to change the characters to humans, leading to the trim down to 11 kids and the L names; hilariously it was only at this point that Savino realized he was drawing on his real life experiences as a kid.
    • "Loud" was originally just a descriptor. Then a friend who was helping Savino asked if the family's last name was Loud and was told "It is now!"

     Star Wars 

     Transformers 
  • The original Megatron almost had a different name, as Hasbro felt it sounded too dangerous, like nuclear weapons. When Bob Budiansky pointed out that that was the point - Megatron WAS the Big Bad - the name was approved.
    • Likewise, Starscream was originally going to be called either Ulchtar, Silver Snake or Pretty Poison.
  • 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.
    • 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.
      • They also apparently planned on Sentinel becoming a potential antagonist, with his status in the show, this would have been awesome.
      • Sentinel Prime as a villain? Hmmmmm...
      • 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!"
    • Hot Shot and Red Alert were meant to be part of the main cast, but were replaced by Bumblebee and Ratchet. Rodimus was first choice for the 'jerkass on the Elite Guard' character, but this was apparently nixed by Hasbro.
    • Also, Hot Shot was going to receive a toy later in the toyline, along with a triple changing Megatron, but both only made it to the prototype stage before the series was nixed for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
    • In the episode "Autoboot Camp", originally conspiracy crazed Cliffjumper was to be the Autobot framed for being a Decepticon spy, but Hasbro did not approve of that and that role went to Wasp.
    • Derrick Wyatt mentions that they were planning on setting up a fight between the Dinobots and Constructicons in Season 4.
    • The Animated producers were hoping to get Eric Idle to reprise his role as Wreck-Gar from the movie, but he was too busy with Spamalot, so they ended up getting "Weird Al" Yankovic instead. Though the final Wreck-Gar owes a lot more in appearance and mannerisms to Weird Al than Idle, his debut episode still contains a few ideas that were formed back when they were trying for Eric Idle — most notably his team-up with Angry Archer, whose voice is very clearly an imitation of John Cleese.
    • Beachcomber was meant to be a Butt-Monkey, according to supplementary material.
    • Megatron was originally to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to the Dinobots to show how powerful he was, but Word of God stated that the idea was scrapped to not upset Dinobot fans.
      • Also, Megatron's weapon was originally going to be a katana, but it was changed to the traditional fusion cannon and a pair of twin swords.
    • In the fourth season, Soundwave would've joined with Megatron full-time.
    • In the fourth season, Dirt Boss would've been part of a Big Bad Ensemble with Megatron, coming into conflict with him at least once.
    • Michael Bell, who voiced Prowl and Swoop in The Transformers, auditioned to reprise the roles for this show.
  • 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 Phantom Menace 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.
  • Transformers Prime originally had Ironhide as a member of the main Five Bot Band, somewhere during the initial planning process, they realized that his personality was turning out far more like that of Animated Bulkhead, and the character was changed accordingly (a different reason given on the Season 1 DVD set was due to Ironhide dying in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
    • 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.
    • Again, Michael Bell auditioned, this time trying out for the roles of Ratchet and General Fowler. Ratchet went to Jeffrey Combs and Fowler was made into an agent and Ernie Hudson was cast for the part.

     Warner Bros. 
  • Freakazoid! was originally designed as a fairly straightforward 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 DC Animated Universe version of the Creeper is how the original Freakazoid would have been.
  • 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.
  • In the early 1990s, Fox Kids wanted a Tiny Toon Adventures spinoff due to the success of the original show, so WB made pilot episodes for them. The first was "Elmyra's Family", but Fox rejected it. It was inverted, however, with the second pilot, The Plucky Duck Show, which had only the first episode be an original story, and the other episodes were compilation shows of previous Plucky Duck shorts, and it just started to air in other countries as of September 30, 2012.
  • Looney Tunes
    • The short Porky's Party was to have featured Gabby Goat and Petunia Pig as party guests, but they were replaced in the finished cartoon by two new characters.
    • The first short Stan Freberg recorded was titled For He's A Jolly Good Fala, which was to have been directed by Bob Clampett, revolving around about Franklin D. Roosevelt and his dog Fala. Production ceased after Roosevelt's death; it is unknown how much of the cartoon was completed, although it is said some footage was inserted into the Chuck Jones cartoon Fresh Airedale.

     Miscellaneous 
  • 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 and vanish into a gigantic wormhole, half the writers wanted to continue on from that while the other half wanted to pull a Writer Cop Out and end the series there. The side that wanted to continue won, though most Futurama fans feel that, after seeing the Comedy Central episodes, the side that wanted to end the series with the crew vanishing into the wormhole should have won instead.
  • Alien was going to have an animated series, Operation: Aliens, tying into a Topps comic and Kenner Aliens toyline. Another animated series, Aliens: War Games, was planned as a series of short episodes similar to Star Wars: Clone Wars.
  • If he had not been dead-set on becoming an actor, Jack Nicholson could have become an animator for Tom and Jerry and possibly Hanna-Barbera after MGM's cartoon department shut down. One of his first jobs in Hollywood was an errand boy under Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera at MGM, which lasted until the studio shut the department down. He befriended the animation crew and kept in touch with many of them even after he became a movie star. He was in fact offered a starting animator position after Hanna and Barbera saw he had some sketching talent, but he declined. He's at top far right in this group sketch.
  • 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.
  • Æon 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 the series' 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.
  • 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 SPAAAAAACEEEEEE Usagi, 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 conjoined 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 Gizmo.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog has a lot of these, there is a reason this series is the page image:
    • The ABC cartoon (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. As well, the Freedom Fighters would have befriended a magician named Nate Morgan, who was tall and lanky black man. Nate would appear in the Archie Comics, but only his name and race would be transferred over, as there, he was a short man who was into science.
    • Before the series they had a series idea similar to it which used very heavily edited versions of Sonic's animal friends. The header image above also shows the team was going to be called "The Freedom Team," rather than the "Freedom Fighters."
    • 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.
      • Other designs were also found. Bunnie's evolution continued to a design closer to her finalized form, where only her arm and head were still flesh and blood. As well, Antoine was actually much more strong and dashing and not his later lanky and cowardly look.
    • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was supposed to be a prequel to the SatAM show, with a strong Stern Chase plot, Robotnik as a Knight of Cerebus, and his Robomatic functioning more like the Roboticizer from SatAM. Everything else is still the off-the-wall wackiness that defines the actual show.
      • 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.
      • According to character sheets, Adventures was originally called Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in the same vein as The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.
      • Early series bible shows that the show was going to have more game elements and references, with Emerald Hill being a major location, and Mystic Cave appearing as well. Even more evident in the pilot, which shows Emerald Hill and Hill Top, and features game elements such as loop-de-loops and Robotnik's wrecking ball.
  • 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).
  • 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 writers for G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 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.
    • Tomax and Xamot would have been the main villains for Sunbow's concept of season 3, but after the show changed hands to DiC and was Un-Canceled, the new team went ahead with a different idea and the two mysteriously disappeared and were not mentioned.
  • 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.
  • Galaxy Rangers: In the initial demo real, Zachary's children were also captured and implied to have shared in their mom's Fate Worse Than Death. The reaction from the fanbase?
  • 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 Cliffhanger.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • My Little Pony:
    • 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. Fans theorized that she was either a scrapped design for a pony or an early design of either Confetti or Peachy. It was eventually revealed that she's actually an unreleased pony, First Born.
    • My Little Pony: The Movie was supposed to have a Transformers crossover.
    • 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.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the DVD commentary of the episode "And Then There Were Fewer", they said that there was a deleted scene after Derek's death in which Jillian is 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.
    • Before the show's second cancellation, there was going to be an episode title "Queer is Stewie" where Stewie comes out as a homosexual and, after facing discrimination, goes back in time to Bible days to prevent Leviticus 18:22 from being written. It ended up not getting made, and Stewie's exact sexuality is unconfirmed.
    • FOX ran a 7-minute preview of Family Guy in 1999, which was taken from a much earlier version of the pilot. 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 stranglehold 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).
    • One of the cutaway gags has a businessman telling someone else to buy stocks in waffles, causing a global chain reaction where every stock market has a huge boost in waffle stocks. Originally, the gag was going to be Peter walking into Wall Street and loudly calling for his friend Sal several times. The stock brokers would mistake the callout as "sell" and causes the entire market to plummet with mass selling of stocks. Peter would then say bye, causing everyone mishear him saying "buy" and cause the stocks to instantly regain their value.
    • The part of Meg almost went to Cree Summer but this didn't come to pass for conflicting reasons between her and Seth Macfarlane.
    • The mayor of Quahog was to be a guy with the same name as Adam West. Then the real Adam West showed up...
  • 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!
  • A Kind of Magic: According to one press release, Tom and Cindy were initially supposed to actually be Tom Thumb and Cinderella (their namesakes), and pose as children. They are simply named after them, and actually are children, in the final show.
  • The children's show Tugs ended when TVS went bankrupt. David Mitton claimed to have around 96 scripts written, and said Series 2 was in planning while the original 13 shows were shot. Shortly before his passing, Mitton revealed a few points about what Season 2 would've been:
    • 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 (e.g. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 noticeable, 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.
  • 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.
    • CBS was also annoyed with the fact that a Christmas special didn't have Santa in it at all.
  • 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.
  • An Animated Adaptation of Rob Liefeld's Youngblood was supposed to air on Fox Kids during the 95-96 season, along with a Cyberforce series. Liefeld claims the plans fell through when Marvel signed an exclusive deal with Fox to keep comic book properties from other publishers off the network. Test footage can be seen here.
  • Heavy Metal was originally planned to have all the vignettes connected and a cohesive plot between all of them, but time constraints 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. Unfortunately, there isn't any information on what would have linked the rest of the vignettes.
  • In The '80s, there were plans for a Merchandise-Driven Saturday 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.
  • 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.
    • There were plans made for a few other seasons, but they were not broadcast. However, a few animation cels from these lost seasons have turned up on the Internet.
    • After CBS canceled the series, Film Roman pitched a reboot to FOX in an attempt to keep the series going. According to one of the pitchers, right after they rolled tape of this reel to executives, they were immediately rejected and forced out of the FOX network offices.
  • Sgt Kabukiman NYPD: An animated series was planned in order to cash in on the success of Toxic Crusaders, itself a spinoff of The Toxic Avenger. The show was never made, but the promo can be found here.
  • 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.
  • Cheetos' Mascot with Attitude Chester Cheetah was to have his own television series on Fox titled Yo! It's the Chester Cheetah Show!, as part of the Fox Kids block. Nothing from the series got past script form, following a massive outcry from parents and Moral Guardians believing the proposed series was a deliberate marketing ploy to sell more Cheetos to children, similar to Mac and Me.
  • Because Daria has a lot of interesting Recurring Extras (many based on people who worked on the show), animator Guy Moore pitched a Lower-Deck Episode where they would star, with Daria and Jane as the voiceless background characters instead. Episode director Karen Disher (herself the basis of Burnout Girl) nixed the idea, since fans were already complaining about any subplot that didn't focus on the Amigas. Ironically, nowadays the background characters are popular OC Stand Ins.
  • There were two proposed plans for a Jurassic Park animated series.
    • The first concept would have blended graphic novel-inspired traditional animation with CGI animation with art by William Stout. However, Steven Spielberg himself had become tired of the Merchandise-Driven aspect of the 1993 film, so it was cancelled before production. Stout stated on his website about the cancelled project:
    Stout: “This was not going to be a kiddy show (although kids of all ages, including myself, could enjoy it). They wanted the show to be a mature prime time series with top writers and state-of-the-art television animation augmented with quite a bit of CG animation.”
    • Another proposed animated series based on the film franchise, subtitled Chaos Effect was planned with concept art by Tim Bradley but also cancelled. However, the toyline that the TV series was going to be accompanied with, managed to be released in toy shelves. In an interview with JP Toys, Bradley said that he didn't know why the series failed to materialise:
    Bradley: “I think it went pretty far—up to meetings that included Steven Spielberg, I believe. I’m not sure why the decision was made to ultimately not produce the series, but Hasbro had already started work on the toys, and they decided to continue on ahead.”
  • A Crash Bandicoot animated series was in development at Universal Cartoon Studios that was slated to air around the same time as the game's release. It was supposed to reflect the 90s-style slapstick formula that was popular among animation at the time. However, when Universal struck a publishing deal with Sony to bring it to the PlayStation, Sony asked Universal to stop, as they wanted to capitalize on the 3D look of the character. The only evidence of the show's existence is a test reel that was found almost two decades later.
  • There were plans for a 13-episode Austin Powers animated series on HBO that was scheduled to air after the release of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
  • Moonglow from Rainbow Brite originally had Mystical White Hair. It was changed to pink because white hair made her look too old.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • The series was originally pitched as an animesque cartoon aimed at a more teenage audience. Due to troubles getting anyone interested in picking up the show, it was softened up a bit and made into an All-CGI Cartoon.
    • In the change from 2D to 3D one of the main characters was changed. "Felix" became "Adrien", a younger and nicer character. Adrien was changed due to being "too cliche" and because he wasn't deemed a good love interest for Marinette.
    • Early concept art implied that Marinette inherited her Transformation Trinket (in the form of a necklace) at the scene of her father's murder. In later storyboards released, it seems like she finds a pair of transformation earrings in the attic instead. In the series proper, both of her parents are alive and fine.
    • The 2D PV's background lyrics "Every love went through your head/ Giving love turned bad" implied a Dark and Troubled Past for a Sad Clown Marinette.
  • Terminator was going to have an animated series based on Terminator 2: Judgment Day, about a boy and his Terminator.
  • The Trash Pack was set to have a TV series by Mondo TV with at least 26 episodes. Only 7 have surfaced, all in Greek, with the only English information being a theme song and a summary.
  • Bionicle: The Journey to One would have probably gone on further had the toyline not been cancelled. Hints are dropped to the heroes having a forgotten past, and an entirely new setting is introduced via the Shadow Realm and the disappeared capitol ruled by Makuta, but none of these amount to anything, and the ending is incredibly rushed.
  • The Hero Factory animated specials introduce a continuous plot via a Cliffhanger in the Breakout arc, and immediately drop it, with all of the following episodes likewise ending in unresolved cliffhangers. Due to budgetary issues, the last episode even had to replace all of the voice actors and was only screened online. The concept creator also revealed that the series would have actually served as a starting point for a more expansive franchise, one with a somewhat satirical tone leading to a subversive and deep twist (for what it's worth, the books do hint at some unspecified conspiracy regarding the Hero Factory). This aspect was scrapped entirely, the series ended up as a loose collection of highly simplified, by-the-books episode-length toy commercials, and is therefor mostly considered Snark Bait at best by fans.
  • In the 1970's Chuck Jones was developing an adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, some sketches can be seen here:[1]
  • WordGirl was supposed to have an episode written by and starting a Make-A-Wish kid during its' eighth season. Unfortunately, the idea was dropped because of the show getting cancelled.
  • Garbage Pail Kids Cartoon
    • The Garbage Pail Kids trading cards had a cartoon adaptation made consisting of 13 episodes and planned to air on CBS in Fall 1987. Unfortunately, complaints from Moral Guardians forced CBS to cancel airing the show. It wasn't until a DVD release was made in 2006 that the cartoon was finally made available to the public.
    • Alongside the images of priceless sketches and cels from other animated works, this blog post shows a developmental drawing of the five main characters in both their normal and Garbage Pail forms, which has several noticeable differences in regards to the art style of the actual cartoon and how the characters looked in the cartoon.
      • The art style would have originally had the Garbage Pail Kids look more like Cabbage Patch Kids as the original trading cards did. It is possible that Xavier Roberts' lawsuit against Topps that forced them to redesign the cards so that they looked less like Cabbage Patch Kids also affected production of the cartoon.
      • Split Kit, Elliot Mess, and Terri Cloth would have looked a lot more like how they appeared on the original trading cards, though Split Kit's gun was substituted with a blackjack and Terri was still going to have a face on her hand in addition to carrying her face on a washcloth.
      • Patty Putty was going to be a redhead instead of a blonde and was going to wear a blue blouse and a pink skirt instead of purple shorts, a purple shirt, and a green jacket.
      • Clogged Duane would have looked like a male version of the trading card character Oozy Suzy/Meltin' Melissa.
  • Bump in the Night was going to get a third season, but alas, the show got canceled after ABC was acquired by Disney.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Stumpy wasn't going to have hands in the original concept, hence the name Stumpy, but then they decided to give him hands.
    • For the English dub, they were originally going to not change his name from his name in the original French version, Moignon. However, they eventually decided to change it to Stumpy.
  • Land of Oz:
    • During the early 1930's, cartoonist Ted Eshbaugh planned to make a series of animated shorts based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The project was eventually cancelled due to copyright issues with the Technicolor process. However, the first film of the proposed series was completed. Which can be seen here.
    • Sometime in the 1970's, De Patie Freleng Enterprises was planning to make a Wizard of Oz cartoon series.

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