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What Could Have Been / Inside Out

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Early Headquarters. From left to right: Anger, Pride, Sadness, Joy, Fear

The basic idea for Inside Out is 'Anthropomorphic Emotions' used to make a deep analysis of emotional psychology. With that in mind, is it all that surprising how many different concepts the movie went through to reach its final stage?

  • Disgust originally had a purple dress, and a slightly longer hair style. It's unknown why this was changed, although it's probably so that each character has their own individual color scheme. A maquette of her displayed at the former Disney Art of Animation exhibit showed one potential design would have had Rapunzel Hair.
  • In an early draft, Fear (originally called Freddie) was supposed to be Joy's sidekick, not Sadness. One of the reasons this was changed was because it made more sense for Anger, Fear, and Disgust to exist during Riley's culture shocks. Another reason was to remove the idea of shipping between Joy and Fear—not that that hasn't stopped Starnerve from being one of the most popular ships in the fandom.
    • One of those particular Joy-Fear drafts involved Riley getting knocked unconscious in the woods and the movie mostly taking place in her head. Hader protested that worrying about Riley would really distract from the journey.
    • In one article it's stated they would be paired up. Likely in the adventure pairing sense, but there may also have been a few Ship Tease moments.
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  • The film's original plot involved Joy trying desperately to keep Riley from growing up by clinging to her childhood. Joy and Fear's journey involved them chasing after a childhood memory. According to Pete Docter, this version of Joy was too aggressive and the staff feared audiences would find her off-putting.
  • Two characters named Logic and Reason were removed in order to give Riley more free will.
  • There was going to be a sixth emotion, Surprise, but they decided that was too close to Fear. Doubles as a case of Shown Their Work, as joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise are all part of the psychological principle of "the six basic/universal emotions".
  • There was originally going to be an emotion named Pride, but Disgust ended up taking his place. There was also an emotion named Hope, who ended up mostly merged with Sadness.
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  • Joy was going to be named Optimism, until Pete Docter discovered that optimism is not an emotion.
  • A few other plot lines for Riley were considered, including her wanting to be the turkey in a Thanksgiving play, and her trying to decide which kind of chips to bring to a party (the story line was meant to show how small things could be a big deal inside her head).
  • Originally, the film only planned to have Joy with the particle effect, only for it to prove expensive and time-consuming. They decided to scrap it. Then John Lasseter saw it and went "Great! Do it for all of them".
    Production designer Ralph Eggleston: You could hear the core technical staff just hitting the ground, the budget falling through the roof. But it was all good. They found a way to make it work.
  • There was originally going to be more imaginary friends aside from Bing Bong, such as Mrs. Scribbles, a crayon drawing, who helped with the Train of Thought railway system, and a half-Sun that was created from Riley only scribbling half a Sun on the side of a notebook page.
  • There was originally a Stream of Consciousness beneath the Subconscious area. This concept made it into the Expanded Universe picture book The Bing Bong Book, in which it flows through Imagination Land instead.
  • There originally was an antagonistic force/character known as "Gloom". However, it ended up being too close to depression for comfort, and Docter didn't want to demean real depression sufferers by having their condition be defeated at the end of the movie, since real depression never just goes away like that. Gloom was therefore cut to avoid Unfortunate Implications, and his role as the personification of Riley's mental breakdown was taken by a literal breakdown, with Riley's personality islands crashing down into the memory dump whenever Riley does something directly counter to the island's intent (Not responding to her father's attempts at lightening the mood kills Goofball Island, performing badly and Rage Quitting at hockey practice is what does Hockey Island in, Friendship Island crumbles when she finds out Meg has a new friend, stealing her mom's credit card breaks Honesty Island, and Family Island slowly crumbles as she becomes more distant from her parents, culminating in her running away from home).
  • The earliest concepts started with Riley waking up in Headquarters itself and meeting her emotions and another concept where Joy, served as an entity that hung around Riley's shoulder. The author of the fanfic Intercom took the first idea and ran with it.
  • Sadness was originally going to have a more monstrous and furry appearance (most early concept art has her looking similar to a large blue mattress), but was changed to a more human design to make her more sympathetic and non-threatening for audiences. Additionally, the character was initially going to be more demonstrative and constantly wailing, but they decided that would not only get old quick, but that sadness was better displayed with a more somber, dialed-down characterization a la The Eeyore. She was also originally sketched as wearing pajamas (the idea being that sad people often don't feel like changing), which eventually evolved into the sweater she wears in the final product.
  • They were originally going to have 27 emotions in all, but reverted to five to make it less complicated. Concept art for some of them can be found here.
  • There was going to be a Music Island, though that found its way into the Disney Infinity game.
  • Although it's a rather moot point in the final product, Bing Bong's first appearance involves him hoarding memory orbs into his sack. Animator Matt Jones shows some old concepts which clarified that Bing Bong was addicted to collecting memory orbs with him playing with Riley and he eventually came upon the memory where he was relinquished from her childhood. There was also a scrapped scene in that draft where he utters a curse word.
  • Riley's mind went through a lot of different variations. One sketch depicted it as a fantastic city.
  • The next film in Pixar's roster was meant to be Newt. However, due to problems in pre-production (i.e., Rio beat them to it by a longshot), the project was handed to Pete Docter, who instead decided to pitch a completely new idea.
  • The movie's original name was supposed to be "Brainstorm".
  • An early concept art has the emotions literally plugged into Riley's mind as they monitored Riley's physical state, as shown on the page image.
  • Joy and Bing Bong were also going to disguise themselves at some points.
  • The crew went through a lot of ideas about what Riley's conflict would be over. One of the ideas was whether or not to buy lime flavored chips.
  • Disgust went through a lot of different designs, mostly because the staff couldn't figure out whether she was supposed to be disgusted or disgusting.
  • At one point, Riley's growing up was represented by new construction occurring, and Bing Bong was some kind of Well-Intentioned Extremist displeased with the construction being at the expense of other areas (we see remains of that with the demolition crews in Imagination Land) and attempting to sabotage it.
  • Bing Bong's dog-like ears originally came from an early concept of Bing Bong that was part chicken, dog, and pig, but mostly elephant.
  • In the original draft of the film, the slow deterioration of Family Island did not lead to Joy and Bing Bong falling in. According to The Art Of Inside Out, Goofball Island's collapse was supposed to lead to them falling down. The line "See you after school, monkey! We love you!" appears to be an artifact of this idea. Also in the same draft, Riley slamming the door after being told to go to her room led to the collapse of the bridge to Headquarters, not the fall of Goofball Island.
  • Justin Bieber was going to have a cameo in the film.
  • The Pixar team originally had Hayley Mills of The Parent Trap fame in mind for the role of Joy. Mills also played the trope namer for The Pollyanna, a character known for her relentless optimism.
  • Bing Bong was planned to walk on his hands and hind legs to travel rather than standing in one of the later concepts.
  • Bing Bong was originally an angry, gruff-voiced, violent anarchist. This Bing Bong was actively rebelling against any signs that Riley was growing up. In one deleted scene, he spies some construction workers expanding Riley's mind and immediately starts chucking bricks at them. According to director Pete Docter, the idea was that Bing Bong used violence to make sure Riley didn't grow up, all "for his own self-benefit."


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