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What Could Have Been in live-action movies.

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    Back to the Future Series 
  • Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly before Michael J. Fox was hired. While Fox was always the first choice for the role, the production team behind Family Ties didn't want him absent from the series during Meredith Baxter's pregnancy. After six weeks of filming, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale decided that Stoltz was too much of a dramatic actor for a more comedic part. By this stage, Baxter was back fully on the series and the producers finally agreed to let Fox go off to star in the film.
    Gale: Geez, I don't even remember that we read Johnny Depp! So whatever he did, it wasn't all that memorable, I guess!
  • John Lithgow was the first choice for the part of Doc Brown before the casting of Christopher Lloyd. However, Lithgow turned down the offer due to scheduling commitments to Twilight Zone: The Movie.
  • Tim Robbins, Daniel Stern, and Vincent D'Onofrio were considered for the role of Biff Tannen before the casting of Wilson.
  • When Claudia Wells temporarily dropped out of the movie due to scheduling issues, Melora Hardin was briefly cast as Jennifer Parker opposite Eric Stoltz, but had to be replaced after he was dismissed as it was discovered that she was taller than Michael J. Fox. Ironically enough, it was the female crew members who complained about the height disparity between Hardin and Fox, while the male crew members had no problem with it, whatsoever.
  • Zemeckis and Gale originally pitched the film to Disney and then to Columbia Pictures, both of whom turned it down, albeit for completely different reasons: Columbia felt it was too quaint (this was the era of sex comedies like Animal House, Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds), Disney thought it was too raunchy (in particular, they took umbrage with the angle of 1955 Elaine coming onto her future son).
  • The original time machine was a modified refrigerator, changed because it would have been a very stationary prop and Steven Spielberg had images of children locking themselves in the fridge to the horror of their parentsnote  (humorously, he would later use a refrigerator and a nuclear explosion in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). They also would have driven into the blast of a nuclear bomb to fuel the flux capacitor, changed because that alone would have doubled the production costs and the clock tower lightning strike made a fairly simple and stationary location.
  • One version of the script had Biff as a cop that kept "borrowing" stuff from George and had a daughter. After Marty changed the past, Biff became a security guard working for George, who became a boxing champion.
  • The producers considered using "Papa Loves Mambo" by Perry Como when Marty arrives in the 1955 Hill Valley, before deciding on "Mister Sandman", thereby making it the "Mister Sandman" Sequence. "Papa Loves Mambo" would however show up in Part II where it's the song playing on the car radio as Biff drives to the dance..
  • There was originally going to be an explanation as to why Marty and Doc were friends: Doc just showed up one day and hired Marty to clean his garage, paying him $50 a week and free beer.
  • Originally when Marty looked Doc up in the past, Doc was going to be having a party, and was flanked by two women when he opened the door. The scene played out the same, but with Doc's two girlfriends laughing at Marty. Then, instead of getting the idea for time travel from falling down while hanging a clock, Doc was inspired after whispering something into a woman's ear and subsequently being hit in the head with a beer bottle.
  • In the original treatment, the time machine was rigged up inside a car wash. Marty McFly was chronically depressed, and in a hilarious misunderstanding, he mistook the time machine for a suicide device and climbed into it in order to kill himself. Also, there was originally going to be a major plot point where people in the past repeatedly mistook Marty for an alien.
  • The studio wanted Zemeckis to cut the "Johnny B. Goode" scene to improve pacing, but relented because the test audiences considered it one of the best parts of the movie.
  • Doc was originally called "Professor".

    Batman 
  • Batman:
    • Pierce Brosnan was the first choice for the role of Bruce Wayne before Michael Keaton was cast, but turned down the offer due to his lack of interest in portraying a comic book character at the time.
    • Robin Williams was offered the part of Jack Napier when Jack Nicholson hesitated to take the role. Williams had even accepted the part when the producers approached Nicholson again and told him Williams would take the role if he didn't. When Nicholson agreed and Williams was released from the part, he was so furious for being used as bait that he refused the offer to portray Edward Nygma in Batman Forever and even declined to be involved in any Warner Bros. productions until the studio publicly apologized.
      • John Lithgow read for the role of the Joker as well, but personally believed that he was not right for the part and persuaded the director not to cast him.
        Lithgow: My worst audition was for Tim Burton for Batman. I tried to persuade him I was not right for the part, and I succeeded. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal. About a week later I heard they were going after Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson.
      • David Bowie, Willem Dafoe, Brad Dourif, James Woods, and Tim Curry were also considered for the Joker before the casting of Nicholson. Curry would later go on to be cast as the character in Batman: The Animated Series, but was replaced by Mark Hamill due to him coming down with bronchitis, his voice being too similar to Captain Hook in Peter Pan & the Pirates, and being considered TOO scary for younger viewers.
    • Don Johnson, Dale Midkiff, Martin Sheen, and William Petersen were considered for Harvey Dent before the casting of Billy Dee Williams.
    • Sean Young was originally cast as Vicki Vale, but was injured in a horseback riding accident prior to commencement of filming which caused her to drop out of the project. Young would eventually go on to visit production offices dressed in a homemade Catwoman costume, demanding an audition for Batman Returns, before being escorted off the premises
    • Kiefer Sutherland was offered the role of Dick Grayson before the character was subsequently written out of the script. Dick Grayson would later appear in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin portrayed by Chris O'Donnell.
    • The Coen Brothers, David Cronenberg, and Joe Dante were approached to direct the movie before Tim Burton was hired. The Coen Brothers reportedly turned down the offer as they didn't want to do a film that wasn't theirs.
      • Sam Raimi was also in the running to direct the movie, but was overlooked as he was not a big enough name. Raimi was later brought up again as a potential replacement for Burton on Batman Forever, but was turned down in favor of Joel Schumacher.
    • Michael Jackson and George Michael was considered to write and perform the songs for the movie. However, Jackson turned down the offer due to his prior concert commitments.
    • John Williams was considered to compose the score for the film before Danny Elfman was hired.
    • Burton stated in an interview that he had initially wanted Adam West and Julie Newmar, from the 1960s series, to play Thomas and Martha Wayne in the flashback. Audiences would recognize West and Newmar from the series and see them get shot, symbolizing the "death" of the old Batman. Script rewrites caused this to be scrapped, and West later said he wasn't even offered the role (and even if he was, he wouldn't have taken it). West and Newmar would respectively voice Thomas and Martha in one episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
    • In the original script, written by Tom Mankiewicz, crime boss Rupert Thorne hires Joe Chill to murder Thomas Wayne because he is running against Thorne for city council.
    • A later draft written by Sam Hamm also has a large part of the film concentrating on Bruce traveling abroad and training with Henri Ducard, whom Bruce would later discover to be a criminal. This script was later overhauled into the version seen in the film, and Ducard was deleted. Months before the film's release, then-DC Comics editor Denny O'Neil asked Hamm to guest-write a "Blind Justice" storyarc throughout Batman-themed comics as a tie-in, and Hamm introduced his character there (specifically, in Detective Comics #599, April 1989). Ducard would later appear, played by Liam Neeson, as a Composite Character with Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins.
    • That hooker who smiles at Little Jimmy in the film's opening scene? Originally, she was supposed to be only 14 years old. She was also going to be shown chatting casually with a couple of cops, showing us how corrupt the Gotham police are even before we meet Eckhart.
    • Vicki Vale and Alex Knox were both supposed to be killed off in earlier drafts. Knox's death was still planned as shooting began, but the crew loved Robert Wuhl's performance enough that they not only spared him, but gave him a Heroic Bystander moment during the climax.
    • Jon Peters wanted to use a Nike product placement with the Batsuit.
    • In Sam Hamm's draft, the Joker takes down the Batwing in a Joker tank. The ending had the Joker attempting escape via helicopter, the helicopter rouses a swarm of bats that had been sleeping in the rafters, and the bats engulf the Joker, who falls to his death.
    • There were plans to continue the film series as a comic book series taking place after Batman Returns and ignoring Batman Forever and Batman & Robin titled Batman '89, similar to how the Adam West Batman TV series was adapted as Batman '66.
    • At one point, Batman was going to use a giant horseshoe magnet to draw a jet-packing goon into the Batmobile's trunk.
  • Batman Returns:
    • Dustin Hoffman was the first choice for the role of Oswald Cobblepot before Danny DeVito was cast, but turned down the offer due to scheduling commitments to Dick Tracy.
    • Annette Bening was originally chosen for the role of Selina Kyle before the casting of Michelle Pfeiffer, but dropped out of the project due to her pregnancy at the time.
    • David Bowie was the initial candidate for Max Shreck before Christopher Walken was cast, but turned it down to star in Twin Peaks. Bowie was previously considered for the Joker in Batman.
    • Burgess Meredith was meant to have a cameo as the Penguin's father, but had to bow out due to illness.
    • The character Max Shreck was originally written for Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams), thus explaining the character's political ambitions. The film would have ended on a cliffhanger, with the explosion at the end only scarring half of his face.
    • There were brief discussions of having Jack Nicholson return as the Joker, despite his fate at the end of the previous film (though it's not exactly unheard of for the Joker to come Back from the Dead in the comics). All of this was thrown out once Tim Burton agreed to return as director because he didn't want to make a direct sequel for whatever reason (it helped that he wasn't too thrilled about the first film, plus he dislikes sequels in general), though the film did still reference the previous film's events by mentioning Vicki Vale.
    • Penguin was originally going to be slim, tall and handsome in an earlier script for this movie. That idea would later be used for Gotham and Batman: The Telltale Series.
    • The original script had many, many more members of the Red Triangle Gang. Notable members of the circus in the original script included a ringmaster with poison-tipped gauntlets, a duo with razor sharp metal blades encrusted into their heads like mohawks, a teenage clown with a neon medallion that read "CIRKUS" who was the original stun gun clown, and a group of clowns dressed like firefighters who operate a fire-engine that happed to shoot napalm (in a possible dark twist on the clown scene from Dumbo).
    • Sam Hamm's original script for Batman 2 included a few Continuity Nods to the first film, such as Bruce proposing to Vicki Vale, a souvenir store selling scraps of the wrecked Batplane and more insights to the deceased Joker. Catwoman and the non-deformed Penguin were featured, but neither had an origin story, and the Penguin was given the alias "Mr. Boniface" in a Mythology Gag (his original alias in the comics; "Oswald Cobblepot" is nowhere to be found). The Penguin enters the film when he is released from prison for previous offenses, Catwoman comes in when he hires her for her burglary skills, and both go off searching for buried treasure (which would have been revealed to be hidden in the Batcave). Also, in this script, Selina has already taken on her Catwoman persona before the film's events, and is an out-and-out villain, mutilating street thugs and murdering police officers and millionaires in cold blood. Also, Dick Grayson in this iteration of the script is noticeably darker than most of his other portrayals, chastising Batman for not killing criminals.
      • This original script is also, surprisingly, even more violent than the final product.
    • A later script draft revealed Max Shreck to be Penguin's older brother, the "golden boy" of the Cobblepot family, whereas the Penguin was the deformed outsider. He was supposedly ashamed of his father, after he threw his baby brother into the sewer, and he emancipated himself from the Cobblepot family as soon as he became of age.
    • In Daniel Waters' original treatment, the initial attack on Gotham Plaza is a lot more elaborate, with the thugs invading before the tree-lighting ceremony begins and infiltrating Max Shreck's penthouse office, taking Max, Chip, the Mayor, and Selina hostage. Batman has to fight his way up to the penthouse level to save them, in the process leaving the Batmobile behind in an alley - but forgetting to put the shields up on the car. Even more of the Penguin's thugs then approach the exposed automobile and take photographs of it (thus providing an explanation as to how The Penguin got the blueprints to the Batmobile). The novelization indicates the Penguin got the plans from a disgruntled engineer who helped design it.
  • Batman Forever:
    • William Baldwin and Ethan Hawke were approached for the role of Bruce Wayne before Val Kilmer was cast. However, Hawke turned down the offer due to fears of being typecast as the iconic comic book character. Hawke later admitted that he regrets turning down the part due to the career opportunities it could've opened up for him.
    • Robin Williams was offered the role of Edward Nygma before the casting of Jim Carrey, but turned it down due to his anger at Warner Bros. for being previously used as bait to lure Jack Nicholson into committing to play the Joker in Batman.
    • Billy Dee Williams, who previously portrayed Harvey Dent in the first movie, reportedly had a clause put into his contract to reserve the part of Two-Face for him in any potential sequels, which the studio had to buy out in order to cast Tommy Lee Jones instead.
    • Leonardo DiCaprio and Marlon Wayans had discussions for the role of Dick Grayson before Chris O'Donnell was cast. Wayans was originally cast as Robin when Tim Burton was attached to the film, but Joel Schumacher wasn't interested in portraying the character with a Race Lift.
    • Rene Russo was originally chosen for the part of Chase Meridian before Nicole Kidman was cast. However, when Michael Keaton dropped out of the project, Russo was deemed "too old" to play the character and was subsequently sacked.
    • Michael Keaton briefly met with Schumacher about reprising his role as Batman from the first two films, but decided not to join the project after deciding that he didn't like the direction in which Schumacher was looking to take the franchise. When asked about his decision to turn down the offer, Keaton responded with this.
      Keaton: To lighten up and brighten it up and be a cartoon was of no interest to me.
    • Tim Burton had discussions about returning to direct a potential third Batman movie after Batman Returns, but left production after feeling that the studio wasn't too keen on his latest ideas. Burton's third film was reportedly titled "Batman Continues" and would've featured The Scarecrow as the main antagonist along with Two-Face and the Riddler.
    • The original version of Batman Forever, before it was edited to make it more family-friendly. Most notable is the movie originally opens with Two-Face escaping Arkham with "The Bat Must Die" scribbled in blood on the wall (making the ending visit to Riddler in Arkham Book-Ends), further developing Bruce's motivations for retiring from being Batman and an entire story beat after being shot in the head where he got Laser-Guided Amnesia of being Batman and has to revisit the cavern where he first encountered a swarm of bats (a traditional part of Batman lore). The novelization retains most of these sequences, several of the cut scenes appeared in the music videos for the movie, and the comic book adaptation includes a little more violence, specifically the large pools of blood around the fallen Graysons.
    • The cuts also would have changed the chronology of scenes in the finished cut: The Batsignal seen by Bruce at Wayne Enterprises is being helmed by Chase in the final cut, but it would've originally summoned him to the bank after Dent escaped Arkham in the deleted opener (which would explain the sirens Bruce hears when he sees it), and the scene with Chase on the roof would've been slotted before the Batmobile chase where it climbs the wall (with redubbing done to change the location from the circus to the bank).
    • Early concepts of the final showdown on Claw Island had a huge, muscled, Riddler sitting on his throne when Batman finds him. The Riddler twists the two skulls on his armrests and the Riddler's muscled body is revealed to be a shell which splits in two, from which the real Riddler (wearing his white and green jumpsuit) steps out. This "Big Riddle" form of the Riddler was retained for the final showdown with him in the SNES and Genesis video game adaptations.
    • Two-Face’s henchmen Sugar and Spice were originally named Leather and Lace in the script. Their names were changed due to the fact that there were due to be McDonald’s toys of the characters.
  • Batman & Robin:
  • Joker
    • Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Skarsgård were considered for the role of Arthur Fleck before the casting of Joaquin Phoenix.
    • Alec Baldwin and Viggo Mortensen were approached for the part of Thomas Wayne before Brett Cullen was cast. Baldwin turned down the offer due to scheduling commitments to Motherless Brooklyn.
    • Shailene Woodley, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Dakota Johnson, Aja Naomi King, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead were considered for the role of Sophie Dumond before the casting of Zazie Beetz. Winstead would later go on to portray Helena Bertinelli in Birds of Prey set within the DC Extended Universe.
    • Frances McDormand was offered the part of Penny Fleck before Frances Conroy was cast.
    • In a case of what could not have been, Phoenix had been in talks with Marvel Studios to play the titular Doctor Strange after Benedict Cumberbatch initially turned down the part due to scheduling conflicts, but backed out due to his reluctance to take on a multi-picture deal. Presumably, had he not been so reluctant, we wouldn't be getting this film (or at the very least, someone else would be taking on the role).
    • Todd Phillips pitched the movie as having a new label for DC Films that specifically focused on Darker and Edgier, non-canon stories to their shared universe, but Warner Bros. deemed that it was too early to think about doing that and released it under the standard DC Films banner instead. Given the film's success, however, Phillips' plans for the label are seemingly materializing.
    • Joaquin Phoenix wanted to gain weight for the role, having lost too much weight for previous roles and also wanting to look the way a person like Fleck realistically would look. Todd Phillips overruled him and Phoenix reluctantly lost weight.
    • According to the aforementioned Content Leak, an earlier version of the script had a different story arc in mind for Sophie. Arthur originally did go out with her a few times, but she only did so out of pity, and she was romantically-involved with someone else. When Arthur discovered this, he went on an extended, borderline-misogynistic rant to her face, before telling her to watch Murray Franklin's show on the fateful night. This version of the story makes it clear that he didn't kill her, as she's shown watching the show with her child.
    • Another element from the leaked script that didn't make the cut was a scene where Arthur originally told Sophie a story during a date, explaining that he cut a slight smile onto his face as a child to scare off bullies. The scene would get a call-back at the end of the film, where Arthur, now the Joker, would have used a glass shard from the car wreck to carve those wounds open again and spread them even wider in front of the crowd. This idea was ultimately scrapped, and Arthur instead paints the smile on his face with his own blood.
    • The original script leak had a slightly different ending. After Arthur kills Murray, he escapes the studio. The riot occurs but in this version the rioters break into Wayne Manor, dragging out Thomas and Martha Wayne and executing them. Bruce, while this occurs, hides from the rioters and is found by Alfred the next day. Arthur eludes the police for a few days until he shows up at the Waynes' funeral and he is immediately seen. Arthur is chased and tries to flee but during the process is hit by a car and captured by the police.
    • The script was going to have the song "Bennie and The Jets" in the movie but for some reason this was changed.
    • Martin Scorsese had hoped to direct the film for a few years, but ultimately declined as while he loved the whole idea of the Arthur Fleck character, his lifelong distaste for comic book movies meant he was never comfortable with how the movie would have to end with him becoming the Joker, and figured the comic fans deserved to have it be made by someone whose heart was in that ending.
    • An alternate ending intended for the film had Arthur telling the joke he was thinking of to his psychiatrist in Arkham: that he had killed Thomas and Martha Wayne himself and left Bruce Wayne to cry before turning back and killing the boy. The ending was changed because Bruce's death would mean that Batman will never come to exist in the film's universe.
  • There were several plans to have a Batman-Superman crossover film, with either the both of them teaming up or going against each other. I Am Legend contains a Shout-Out to this, with a large film poster bearing a Batman-Superman logo displayed in Times Square. It was finally greenlit in 2013, with Zack Snyder attached as director to the project.
  • A Batman Beyond live-action film was planned, with Boaz Yakin attached as director and Paul Dini having written the screenplay. It didn't get far at all.
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    The Chronicles of Riddick Series 
  • Pitch Black:
    • First of all, this developed from Twohy's unused idea for Alien³. Had Vincent Ward not been brought and decided that the space prison idea was awful there would have not been a Riddick series.
    • The film was originally titled Nightfall and about a female outlaw named Tara Krieg with tribal tattoos and enhancements from her interstellar tribe of barbarians. Imam was named Noah Toth a member of a technology-based version of Christianity and he had no pilgrims, there was no eclipse, only a two-month day and two-month night, there was no geologist's outpost, only ancient ruins and instead of aliens the villains were the ghosts of the creatures who built the ruins trying to defend their homeworld. There was no escape ship, but a distress beacon, and Tara, Carolyn Fry, Jack, Noah Toth (Imam) and Paris were all supposed to make it off the alien world, called "Hades" instead of M6-117. Johns' morphine addiction, the cannon-fodder teens, the solar orrery and the geologist's camp were added by David Twohy.
    • David Twohy's original draft was different, too. Riddick died at the end instead of Carolyn Fry, There were extended scenes of the boneyard creatures, still alive, as well as them being killed and eaten by the other creatures. Paris and Johns would've survived until the third act, underground, which would've explained the planet's climate and temperature changes, the way the star-system worked, and the life-cycle of the creatures along with an entire underground ecosystem of Starfish Aliens.
  • Sequels:
    • Numerous versions of these floated around for a while, too. The original script involved Riddick fighting the hammerheaded creatures in the underground of a city planet for entertainment. He is captured by a merc named "Big Foe" (Who turns out, in the third act, to be Jack from Pitch Black) and brought back to the planet only to find that the creatures were sentient and wanted revenge on Riddick as dictated by the evil god they worshiped. Akiva Goldsman's script was about Riddick and Kyra (Jack) hijacking a prison satellite and landing it on a living planet, which launched various creatures made from elements such as air, fire, wind and water at them to try and stop them before trying to kill them with a giant storm. David Hayter wrote a prequel about Riddick, growing up and being drafted into a war where he'd get blamed for his entire platoon's death (by Johns, whose callousness was actually to blame). This would result in the huge payday on his head and the many encounters with Johns, some good, some bad, and many lost loves and lost friends that rendered him the cold, heartless monster he was at the beginning of Pitch Black.
    • In addition, the sequel we got — The Chronicles of Riddick — could've been directed by Guillermo del Toro or David Cronenberg, with rumors of Alex Proyas, John Landis and Peter Jackson. WOW...

    Die Hard Series 
Every installment of the Die Hard franchise, except Die Hard 2 and A Good Day to Die Hard, began life as a completely different project and/or a standalone film that was reworked to fit the series.
  • Die Hard:
    • The original film started life as Nothing Lasts Forever, a sequel to Commando, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was intended to appear as John Matrix once again. Director John McTiernan got a hold of the script and apparently thought it was a "nasty piece of work", and reworked it several times to remove overly violent elements, including the main character going around and shooting female hostages without much regret. By that time, Schwarzenegger dropped out, and the character was reworked into an "everyman" cop who's having a bad day.
    • In fact, the novel "Nothing Lasts Forever" was itself a sequel, to the book The Detective, which was made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra, and the plan was to adapt "Nothing Lasts Forver" into a movie at the time it was written, but by then Sinatra had grown tired of acting, and that project was scrapped. 20th Century Fox kept the rights, and years later, producer Joel Silver came across the story while looking for projects that the studio already owned the rights to.
      • They were still contractually obligated to offer Sinatra the role of John McClaine, once Die Hard went into pre-production. Sinatra, 73 at the time, turned the offer down. The mind boggle at the idea of how Die Hard would've come out with septuagenarian Sinatra in the lead.
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance:
    • The story was adapted from a script called Simon Says, which was briefly intended to be the third film in the Lethal Weapon series. According to various accounts, the script included a character that would have been played by the late Brandon Lee, and the character of Zeus was intended to be a woman.
    • Two earlier (and rejected) scripts for Vengeance had McClane trying to stop terrorists who've seized control of a cruise ship (which was abandoned after Under Siege went into production) and one where terrorists try to take control of the Los Angeles subway system.
    • Laurence Fishburne was originally intended to play Zeus, but backed out. He had second thoughts and tried to get the part again, but Samuel L. Jackson was cast by that time.
    • The original ending of the film was a sequence where McClane tracks down Simon Gruber in Eastern Europe, and reveals to him that he was thrown off the NYPD because the police thought he was involved with the heist. McClane then challenges Simon to a game of Russian Roulette using a rocket launcher, which results in Simon eventually killing himself by pulling the trigger. The scene was supposed to show that McClane had gone over the edge and lost everything, but was never used in the film (it appears on most DVD copies as a deleted scene).
  • Live Free or Die Hard has the dubious honor of having the longest development time of the series. It took close to a decade to get the project off the ground:
    • The first proposed script was called Tears of the Sun, which the director and Willis apparently hated. Willis repurposed the name "Tears of the Sun" for another project he would eventually star in.
    • There was rumors about taking the idea (specially the location) from the Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas videogame, but instead of a prison riot having just a group of mobs trying to steal some sort of general underground safe from the main casinos, and McClane just passing by one of the casinos, thus evoking the general idea from the first movie. They also thought about taking to the screen the script from the Die Hard: Vendetta videogame, in fact the concept of McClane´s daughter Lucy and her kidnapping latter developed in the actual movie.
    • In 2001, there were plans to make the project a sequel to Enemy of the State (written by the same screenwriter, and based on a non-fiction article called "A Farewell To Arms" from Wired Magazine) called WW3.com, before it was repurposed as a Die Hard film. The September 11th attacks stalled all development on that front, as Fox believed they couldn't go forward with a script about America being under attack.
    • An early script treatment revolved around McClane's son, Jack, who would have been the computer hacker John had to bring to the FBI. This was later reworked to include a new hacker character, with McClane's child being changed to his daughter, Lucy (the idea about his son Jack was later implemented in the sequel A Good Day to Die Hard)
    • Jessica Simpson auditioned for the role of Lucy. Justin Timberlake expressed interest in the (scrapped) role of Jack. Think about that for a second.

    Dirty Harry Series 
  • Dirty Harry
    • Frank Sinatra was offered the role of Harry, but broke his wrist before filming could start and had to drop out.
    • John Wayne lobbied for the role of Harry, but the studio felt he was too old for the role.
    • Burt Lancaster was reportedly offered the role of Harry but turned it down because he found the script offensive and promoted a less than liberal approach to law enforcement.
    • Audie Murphy was offered the role of the Scorpio Killer, but felt it would scar younger fans of his films and was considering turning it down when his plane crashed.

    The Fly Series 
  • The Fly (1986)
    • The original Charles Edward Pogue-penned script had much more in common with the 1958 film (and the short story that preceded it). The main characters were a Hot Scientist, his beautiful painter wife (who uses him as a model for Romance Novel covers), his colleague who's long pined for her and helps keep the secret of the scientist's Slow Transformation, and a scheming boss who, upon learning of the protagonist's Teleporter Accident, steals the teleporters with the intent of cheating him out of the money they will surely make. The extended climax had the protagonist — by then effectively a giant fly complete with vestigal wings — storm the company headquarters to get his revenge upon the boss, ultimately destroying both himself and the booths as well with his wife's help. While many elements of this script would be incorporated into David Cronenberg's total rewrite (among them: strange hairs sprouting from a wound as an early sign of the transformation, vomit drop, the heroine's pregnancy and her Nightmare Sequence inspired by it, etc.), there were enough changes made that Cronenberg could have legally claimed sole writer credit on the finished film had he not wanted to acknowledge Pogue.
    • In the downtime between the loss of original director Robert Bierman (due to his daughter's death) and the last-minute hiring of Cronenberg (who had just disentangled himself from Total Recall), Tim Burton was slated to direct at one point. Michael Keaton would have been the protagonist.
    • Executive producer Mel Brooks's first choice for the role of Seth Brundle was Pierce Brosnan, and John Lithgow auditioned for the part, while Mel Gibson (in favor of Lethal Weapon), Richard Dreyfuss, and John Malkovich turned it down. A key reason the role ended up filled by Jeff Goldblum was that — unlike many, if not most, of the other actors — he was excited about playing a role that would require him to act through layers of hideous makeup.
    • Cronenberg wanted Linda Hamilton to play Veronica, but she was too disturbed by the script, and Laura Dern and Jennifer Jason Leigh were more "known" than the producers wanted. While Cronenberg was ready to cast Geena Davis after her first reading, he dutifully auditioned other actresses at producer Stuart Cornfeld's request; a Cronenberg interview with Serge Grunberg suggests that one of them was Shelley Long.
    • The biggest sequences that didn't reach the filming stage came during the ultimately deleted "monkey-cat" stretch (more on that in a moment): a Roofhopping interlude for Seth as a happy escape from his despair as he approaches the final humanoid stage of his transformation, followed by a darker scene in which he is discovered by a homeless woman and, his insect nature kicking in, kills her with vomit drop.
    • Between the reveal of Veronica's pregnancy and her Nightmare Sequence came a sequence in which Seth, desperately seeking a cure for his condition, uses the telepods to fuse together the surviving test baboon and a cat into one entity — which promptly attacks him, whereupon he beats it to death. He then climbs to the roof of his loft and cries out in despair, only for a searing pain from the growth on his abdomen (the one he points out in the Wall Crawl scene) cause him to tumble off, barely managing to slow his fall by clinging to the side of the building. As he collapses on an awning, an insect leg emerges from the growth, which he bites off before passing out. This was lost after the first Toronto test screening as the upset, nauseated audience no longer had sympathy for Seth, and couldn't focus on the rest of the movie. It passed into the realm of horror legend quickly (it helped that it provided Missing Trailer Scene material — easy to identify because Seth's form is unique to the scene) and ultimately was included as a deleted scene on the 2005 DVD release, as were...
    • The FOUR different considered epilogues that would have answered the lingering question of what would become of Veronica's unborn child. All four involve a Dream Sequence involving a "butterfly baby" emerging from a chrysalis, but each is significantly different regarding her fate. 1: She and Stathis are together again and she is pregnant with HIS child (the scripted ending). 2: Same as 1 but she is not pregnant at all. 3: She's single, but not pregnant. 4: She's single but visibly pregnant with Seth's child (the one Geena Davis seems to have liked best). But the cast and crew really didn't want 1 or 2, there was some Special Effects Failure (the baby was obvious stop-motion in a film that otherwise didn't use that technique at all), and test audiences were too devastated by Seth/Brundlefly's death for a hopeful epilogue to work, so the film simply ends with that scene instead.
  • The Fly II
    • The very first concept broached didn't involve Spin-Offspring at all, but would have had Veronica as the protagonist and Bartok Industries the antagonist, with the Potential Applications of the telepods at stake — stakes raised by Seth Brundle's consciousness turning out to be trapped in its computer, turning it into a horror version of Transcendence. The ending would have had his consciousness being incarnated in a clone body.
    • Mick Garris's initial draft had Veronica convinced to give birth to the Spin-Offspring by a religious cult that would then "adopt" the child as its own, against her wishes. As an adolescent, the son escapes and becomes part of a makeshift family of unusually "gifted" kids as his insect affinity begins to kick in (sort of an X-Men situation).

    The Godfather Series 
  • The Godfather:
    • Laurence Olivier and Ernest Borgnine had both been suggested for Don Vito. Burt Lancaster was also said to have been a candidate for Don Vito.
    • Robert de Niro tested (quite well) for Sonny, but Coppola felt his portrayal was too cold-blooded to be appealing.
    • DeNiro was almost given the role of Paulie (which ended up being played by Johnny Martino). This would have put DeNiro in the first film but would have made it impossible to cast him as young Vito in the second film.
    • The studio wanted Robert Redford or Ryan O'Neal as Michael. Martin Sheen also tested.
    • Robert Evans, the producer, initially demanded that Coppola deliver a 135 minute cut. Coppola, who'd edited the film to more-or-less the extant version, begrudgingly complied, only to be chewed out by Evans for "ruining the film."
  • The Godfather Part II:
    • Richard Castellano insisted on having his girlfriend write his dialogue for II, and so was written out. His participation would have meant it was Clemenza who sold Michael out to the government instead of the new character Frankie Pentangeli. Pentangeli was an awesome character and Michael Gazzo's Oscar nomination was well-deserved, but the revised storyline had less emotional heft.
    • Some of Coppola's friends (including George Lucas) told him that switching back and forth between Michael and Young Vito was too jarring, and to just stick with Michael's storyline.
  • The Godfather Part III:
    • What if the studio and Robert Duvall had reached a salary agreement for III, thus enabling Coppola's vision of Michael and Tom as adversaries?
    • Winona Ryder was set to play Mary, but begged off due to exhaustion.
    • Coppola and Mario Puzo wanted six months to write the film, the studio instead gave them only six weeks.
  • If Mario Puzo had lived long enough, he and Coppola would've made their proposed Part IV, which would have concluded the entire saga. (After Puzo's 1999 death, Coppola lost any interest in continuing the franchise). The film as hypothesized by Coppola and Puzo with have followed two parallel plots like Part II, one following Vito during the family's peak years during Prohibition and the other following Vincent involving the family in the drug trade and eventually getting killed off in a manner similar to Pablo Escobar. Andy Garcia is still interested in doing this film, which would have centered around his character.
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    Mad Max Series 
  • The Road Warrior, Humungus was originally supposed to be Max's partner Jim Goose. They decided against this, but left a few hints, such as horrible burns behind Humungus' goalie mask, his raider's use of police vehicles (which look more like Melbourne Police cars), and his own use of a very similar weapon to the MFP's standard sidearm. Granted, they could never explain how someone of average height and a slender build as Goose could have morphed into a muscle bound giant.
  • Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome was originally just someone After the End who finds a group of children living in the wreck of a plane, until someone suggested that that man be Mad Max.
  • One idea considered for a new Mad Max film was to have the original Mad Max die halfway through the story and be replaced by his younger son.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road:
    • According to George Miller, Mel Gibson was intended to reprise his role as Max, but the constant production delays and Gibson's interest in making The Passion of the Christ meant that it never came to pass. Miller's second pick was Heath Ledger, but the latter's untimely death led Miller to cast Tom Hardy instead. Michael Biehn was also reportedly considered for the lead at one point.
    • The film was originally planned to be an interquel between the original film and its sequel, with Immortan Joe allegedly being Toecutter from the original film (although Hugh Keays-Byrne plays both roles, there is no connection between them in the final product). Rictus was also supposed to survive the pileup at the end of the film and become Lord Humungous in Road Warrior.
    • There were also several actors who initially joined the production, only to leave when filming became delayed for years, including two of the actresses who played the Wives. Abbey Lee (The Dag) replaced Teresa Palmer before filming started, while Courtney Eaton (Fragile) replaced Adelaide Clemens due to scheduling difficulties.

    Planet of the Apes Series 
  • You can see most of the scripts commented below here: http://pota.goatley.com/scripts.html
  • Planet of the Apes (1968):
    • The concept art of the first film kept true to the source novel and depicted an ape society with advanced technology. That first hunting scene? The gorillas would be riding helicopters, not horses (something that hunters regularly did in the 1960s, before the ecologist movement). The huge expenses that a faithful adaptation entailed resulted in the switch to a primitive society where technological advancement is halted by the orangutans.
    • Edward G. Robinson was originally cast as Zaius in the first film, but his ill health didn't mix well with the makeup, and he had to remove himself from the film, after which Maurice Evans replaced him.
    • Linda Harrison did makeup tests for the part of Zira, but ultimately played the mute savage Nova instead.
    • The part where the orangutan judges adopt the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" position originated as a joke between takes and was not in the script.
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes:
    • There were several plans for the sequel; the first written by Pierre Boulle (who loved the first film except for the ending, amusingly), titled Planet of the Men, which had the apes lose their intelligence and go wild again. Another treatment had basically the same plot as the finished film, but with a different ending to the finished product, in which only the Forbidden Zone is destroyed by the cobalt bomb, and apes and humans are set to live in harmony, the final scene having an aged Taylor telling a group of human and ape children the story of how peace was attained. However, there is a Sequel Hook, in which a group of mutated gorillas (possibly including General Ursus) emerge from the ruins to shoot a dove in blatant symbolism, hinting that they will disturb the human/ape peace in future sequels.
    • Fox wanted Charlton Heston to return as Taylor, but Heston didn't want to carry another Apes film. They eventually reached an agreement where Taylor would only appear in the end, and retooled the rest of the film around a Suspiciously Similar Substitute astronaut played by James Franciscus (who was cast purely because he looked like Heston) that had come to look for Taylor and gone through the same time travel experience.
    • Heston demanded to be killed off, so they wrote in the scene where he activates the cobalt bomb. Still suspicious that the studio might bring him again, Heston then "suggested" that when the cobalt bomb exploded the whole planet was destroyed, rather than just the Forbidden Zone as first intended. It worked halfways: Heston was never bothered again, but Fox commissioned a new sequel anyway.
  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes:
    • One of the earlier scripts has the three ape-o-nauts viewing the dying Earth from their space capsule before going back in time.
    • The end would have Zira and Cornelius killed by a pack of military doberman pinschers. This was deemed too gruesome and they were shot instead.
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes:
    • The script opened with a fugitive ape being shot by the police. As they walked to it, the body would be revealed to be covered in open wounds and scars, showing the horrible living conditions of the slave apes. This was cut, again, for being too gruesome.
    • An original script draft showed more of the rapid evolution of the apes from primitive to intelligent and showed the progression of apes from pets to slaves. Caesar leaving the circus, then trying to survive in the desert and being captured by a company that sold apes. Breck was a man whose wife was killed by an ape, and who mistreats Caesar, inciting his revolution. It's also interesting to note that Caesar passes himself off for parts of the film as a deformed human.
    • The movie originally ended with Caesar's yell of "That day is upon you NOW!" and the apes beating Governor Breck to death despite Mr. MacDonald's plea. Poor testing resulted in the addition of Lisa's Big "NO!", which was followed by repeated footage of Caesar's speech dubbed over by Roddy McDowall to make him reconsider his decision and give the film a more hopeful tone.
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes:
    • The earlier version depicting a human leader named Nimrod, an ancestor of 'Beneath's Mendez. A bomb destroys much of the city from Conquest, and the humans and apes flee to another area. It still involved ape-mutant battles but had Caesar more dictatorial and militant than in the final film, partially due to the death of his wife while she was giving birth. Anger against the humans almost resulted in them all being rendered mute, but this is narrowly averted by a hidden microphone in the coffin of Caesar's wife Lisa that allows someone to whisper to him in 'her' voice. The film ends with precursors to the original, setting up the Forbidden Zone and making anti-human proclamations revealing him to be the first film's Lawgiver.
    • Breck was later planned to return as the villain, but the actor wasn't interested. So he was changed to Breck's security chief, Kolp.
    • Mr. MacDonald was also meant to return, but after the actor refused, the character was changed to his brother.
    • A deleted scene showed Kolp telling his aides, Alma and Mendez, to remain in the ruins of New York and activate the cobalt bomb from Beneath if his forces were defeated. Alma then tried to follow Kolp's orders, but was stopped by Mendez who instead turned the bomb into a worship figure. Mendez is, of course, the first in the line to Beneath's Mendez XXVI.
    • The group of kids in the end would include a hybrid ape-human kid, symbolizing the two species coexistence in peace. A make-up test was made before cutting it out.
  • Various remake and Continuity Reboot projects:
    • The first attempt to reboot the series, titled Return to the Planet of the Apes, was pitched by Adam Rifkin in 1988. It was an alternate sequel to the first film, set hundred of years after, with the apes having a Roman-esque civilization and using humans as slave labor. A descendant of Taylor (Charlie Sheen and Tom Cruise were considered for the part) would lead the humans to revolt, basically making the film Spartacus with Apes. Rick Baker was attached to the make up department and Danny Elfman was going to score, but the project was cancelled with the arrival of new Fox executives.
    • Peter Jackson reworked Rifkin's idea in 1992 into a Renaissance-esque setting starring an old Da Vinci-like chimpanzee inventor played by Roddy McDowall, who had to hide a human-ape hybrid from the Orangutan Inquisition while the human rebellion was going on. But yet another rotation of Fox exes shut this project down as well.
    • Oliver Stone was approached in 1993 following a rumor that he was interested in directing a Planet of the Apes remake. He wasn't. In fact, after being told of the rumor by Fox exes he went to watch the films, which he had not yet, and told the studio that they were "awful". He was, however, interested on being executive producer to a new film that would discard all the previous POTA mythos, centered instead on "the discovery of cryogenically frozen Vedic Apes who hold the secret numeric codes to the Bible that foretold the end of civilizations."
    • Taking off Stone's idea, Terry Hayes wrote the ultra-violent and deliciously bizarre Return of the Apes script in 1994. Plagued with references to Led Zeppelin, Altered States, Lost in Space and The Lord of the Rings, but none to Planet of the Apes, Return opens with a sudden world plague of newborn progeria that is threatening to destroy humanity in the near future. Disgraced scientist Robert Plant determines that it is the result of a "genetic tykebomb" in human DNA and travels to Africa 102,000 years in the past to locate the "mythocodrial Eve" and keep her away from whatever infected her. "Eve" is a child named "Aiv" (pronounced "Eve") and the whatever is a Medieval-esque civilization of gorilla-like hominids at war with humans. In the end, Plant and his pregnant colleague succeed and she gives birth to a healthy boy named Adam. The religious angle proposed by Stone was otherwise limited to a scene where Plant makes a prayer and an ape identifies it as his own. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed to play Plant, Stan Winston was doing the effects, Phillip Noyce was directing and Fox allocated $100 million to start filming immediately. But in the last moment, Fox executive Dylan Sellers decided that the script could be "improved" with comedy, and demanded in particular that Plant saw a group of apes trying to play baseball and he taught them to do it properly. Hayes refused, Sellers fired him, Noyce quit and the project went back into Development Hell.
    • Chris Columbus and Sam Hamm wrote a more comedic and kid-friendly script in 1995. The progeria plague still opened the film, but was caused by germs brought by a chimp astronaut from space. A team of scientists then used the chimp's spaceship to go to his home planet, Soror, in search for a cure, and what followed was very much like the original novel by Pierre Boulle, with technologically advanced "apes" (whose society also included intelligent gibbons and monkeys, that they called "exotics") ruled by the despotic Lord Zaius and two baseball scenes. The scientists would discover that Soror was once inhabited by intelligent humans that colonized Earth before they nuked themselves back to the stone age and that ape technology and culture was entirely stolen from these ancient humans or TV emissions from Earth. They also discover the cure in a talking girl named Josie, but on their return after 74 years in hyper-sleep they find that Earth has been also overrun by apes. The film ends with a shot of the Statue of Liberty whose face has been carved into a smiling ape's.
    • James Cameron took the helm as producer after Columbus dropped out in 1996 and went back to the idea of making an alternate sequel to the first film, but refused to write or direct as he was too busy doing Titanic (1997). The treatment called for the use of stock-footage showing the opening of the original POTA, except this time there would be a chimpanzee research facility next to the crash site. Zira and Cornelius' time travel in Escape had changed history and resulted in an ape society dominated by chimpanzee scientists rather than orangutan priest-judges. The script then cuts to a second spaceship crashing that carried the protagonist (whom Arnold was still attached to play), and follows him as he arrives in an Ape City ruled by a Caligula-esque chimpanzee-gibbon hybrid descendant of Caesar, and befriends an old orangutan that directs him to the still living Taylor, now father and leader of a tribe of intelligent humans that use guns. Landon leads another human tribe, and Dodge is the one lobotomized "with a twist". Michael Bay was suggested to direct before Peter Hyams signed in 1998. Fox rejected Hyams, however, and both Cameron and Schwarzenegger dropped out.
  • The Tim Burton Planet of the Apes (2001) "re-imagining":
    • Until late into production, the title was The Visitor.
    • Burton wanted to give a "Cornelius-like role" to his friend Paul Reubens, but neither actor nor character was included in the end.
    • Johnny Depp did make-up tests for an unspecified role.
    • Tiffany Smith was cast as Ari and also did make-up tests before being replaced by Helena Bonham-Carter. She has an uncredited appearance as Thade's sister in the final film.
    • Ari was first planned as an "ape princess" and the romantic interest, but Fox vetoed any kind of human-ape romance calling it "weird and unnatural". The veto stood even after Burton offered to make it platonic or just implied.
    • Thade was first written as a Killer Gorilla, but Burton changed him to a chimpanzee after Rick Baker told him that chimps are meaner.
    • Female chimpanzees weren't going to have eyebrows but they were added after the first results were deemed too unsettling.
    • Limbo was going to have a Heel–Face Turn and become a good guy, but Burton and Giamatti agreed that it would be "kind of lame".
    • The original ending was taken from Columbus' draft: Leo crashes in Yankee Stadium and sees apes playing baseball. The camera then pans out to the Statue of Liberty, that has been remodelled into a grinning ape.
    • Everyone signed for a sequel that would explain the final Gainax Ending in Washington but it was cancelled after the film's poor reception by critics.
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes:
    • The first script by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver originated in 2006 as a completely unrelated project, Genesis, centered around an evil genetically-engineered chimpanzee that was raised at a human home and was very smart, but spoke only in sign language. After finishing the script with the release of other engineered apes from a laboratory, Jaffa realized that he had just written a perfect prequel/reboot for POTA, and pitched it to Fox as such. Over thirty rewrites followed.
    • Originally, the human lead was a scientist trying to cure his wife's alzheimers.
    • Tobey Maguire and Shia LaBeouf were contacted to play Will Rodman before James Franco was cast.
    • Will's first romantic interest was Mollie Stewart, a primatologist in Will's laboratory.
    • Rocket would gain intelligence as a result of biting Caesar at the primate sanctuary, and then collaborate with him.
    • Caesar's mother would survive and remain in the laboratory after her child was taken to be raised at Will's home. After gaining intelligence, Caesar and Rocket would sneak in there to free her, but this would go sour because of Koba. Koba would offer Rocket a necklace in exchange for freeing him also, and once outside Koba would murder Franklin and return to his cage, "framing" Caesar.
    • After getting the ALZ-113, Caesar and Roket visited the San Francisco Zoo to infect the apes there before Buck released them the next morning.
    • After deciding that Caesar's mother would die early in the film, Caesar had a "romance" with a female chimpanzee named Cornelia at the ape sanctuary, who was taken to the GenSys lab, and freeing her was his reason to go there instead. Scenes with the two made it into some trailers before being finally cut (Cornelia still returns as Caesar's partner in the sequel, though).
    • Koba would infect Jacobs deliberately with the ALZ-113 while still in the lab. Then he would hitch a taxi that was in turn hitched by Hunsiker, infecting him.
    • Dodge, not Rodney, was the one placed on a cage by the apes and therefore survived. He in turn helped the police at the Golden Bridge (not Jacobs) and would try to shoot Caesar before Buck threw him off the bridge.
    • Brandon Routh auditioned to play Dodge.
    • Will died on Caesar's arms after a battle between apes and police in the woods at the end of the first cut of the film, but this was changed because of poor testing.
    • Another Deleted Scene in the DVD has Caesar pushing Jacobs off the bridge, not Koba.
    • The original stinger had Koba discovering an abandoned police shotgun in the woods and learning to shoot it.
    • In general, the script was made less violent and complex at Fox's request.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
    • Jaffa, Silver and Rise's director Rupert Wyatt signed to do the sequel, but were replaced later.

    Police Academy Series 
  • Creator Paul Maslansky originally envisioned the franchise to have ten movies.
  • According to Hugh Wilson, the original cut of the first film was around two and a half hours long.
  • Billy Crystal, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Bill Murray, Judge Reinhold, Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, and Bruce Willis were all considered for the role of Mahoney.
  • The role of Commandant Lassard (originally named "Capt. Lewis Lassard" in an earlier draft) was originally written for Robert Conrad, who turned down the part, only to regret it later, to the point that he took the part of the police chief in Moving Violations.
  • Marion Ramsey was asked to wear a fat suit for her role as Hooks, with the idea that the boot camp training would've rendered her slim by the end of the first film. Due to time constraints, the scene showing Hooks after her weight loss was removed from the final cut. By the time work on the sequel began, the filmmakers changed their minds, opting instead to have Ramsey wearing the fat suit in order to garner audience sympathy for her character. However, a brief shot of slim Hooks remains in the film, as a close-up of Marion Ramsey without the fat suit is seen during the graduates' march at the end of the film.
  • James Signorelli was originally scheduled to direct Their First Assignment, but was considered "too edgy" by producer Paul Maslansky and replaced by Jerry Paris.
  • Bill Paxton was offered the role of Proctor in Their First Assignment, but turned it down when the contract required him to also appear in future sequels.
  • G.W. Bailey had hoped to reprise his role as Lt. Harris for Their First Assignment, but was passed over in favor of Art Metrano in both that film and Back in Training. Bailey instead took a job working with Hugh Wilson on Rustlers' Rhapsody. However, on a day off, Bailey made an uncredited cameo as a guest at Tackleberry's wedding to Sgt. Kirkland at the end of the second film.
  • Karen Adams, Mahoney's second love interest from Back in Training, was originally called "Karen Hoover" in a earlier draft.
  • The Japanese character Nogata, who appeared in both Back in Training and Citizens on Patrol, was originally written as a male Indian police cadet named Ramu, which explains why in the third film, Nogata sleeps on a bed of nails that he picked up in New Delhi, and also likes to meditate with his hand over a candle flame.
  • During filming of Back in Training, Bobcat Goldthwait suggested to the filmmakers that the villains in the final chase scene should be the same ones who appear earlier in the film, but Goldthwait was told to just say his lines, and that the filmmakers were not paying him to write.
  • Both Back in Training and Citizens on Patrol were originally meant to be filmed back-to-back, but production got held up due to the death of the third film's director Jerry Paris, so Jim Drake was brought in to direct the fourth film.
  • When Jerry Paris fell ill, Gene Quintano was offered the chance to direct Citizens on Patrol, but turned it down, not feeling confident enough in his abilities, while the offer went to Jim Drake, and Quintano instead wrote the script. On the day of the film's premiere, Quintano told producer Paul Maslansky that he regretted turning down the director's chair. So, Maslansky offered Quintano the job of writing and directing Honeymoon Academy, which this time Quintano accepted immediately.
  • Bobcat Goldthwait and Tim Kazurinsky were both brought on board at the last minute for Citizens on Patrol to replace Fackler, who was dropped from the film due to Bruce Mahler's negotiations over his pay falling apart.
  • In an early draft for Citizens on Patrol, Mr. Kirkland was enrolled in the Citizens on Patrol program. His son Bud Kirkland's role was originally meant to be bigger, but was cut down to only one scene after the death of Andrew Paris' father Jerry, who was originally scheduled to direct the film.
  • Tackleberry's wife Kathleen was not originally intended to appear in Citizens on Patrol, as Colleen Camp was unavailable for the originally planned shooting dates, which were back-to-back with those of Back in Training. However, the delay resulting from having to hire a new director after the death of Jerry Paris meant that Camp ended up being available after all, and her character was given a one-scene cameo appearance in the film.
  • Harvey Korman was the first choice for the role of Tony in Assignment Miami Beach, but was unavailable for the filming dates.
  • Bobcat Goldthwait refused to reprise his role as Zed in Assignment Miami Beach due to not being able to come to a financial agreement with the filmmakers. As a result, Tim Kazurinsky ended up not being involved either because the filmmakers felt there was no point in bringing back Sweetchuck without Zed.
  • If Steve Guttenberg had agreed to appear in Assignment Miami Beach, Mahoney would have been promoted to Lieutenant along with Hightower at the end of the film.
  • The original plan for City Under Siege was to have Lassard and his crew travel to Moscow, Russia under the working title of Operation Glasnost. However, permission to film in Russia would not be granted until five years later with Mission to Moscow. Then, the sixth film's setting was moved from Russia to London, England, with Richard Curtis and Ben Elton being offered to write the script, and a new working title called The London Beat, but was shot down by Assignment Miami Beach performing below expectations at the box office, resulting in a decreased budget for the sixth film, in comparison to the earlier films' massive budgets, as well as Curtis and Elton turning down the scriptwriting offer, thus it ended up being filmed in Los Angeles.
  • After plans to film City Under Siege in England were nixed, the idea was again considered for the seventh film under the working title of Operation Scotland Yard. Paul Maslanky's revisited idea was to have Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, and other former cast members unite with the cast for a Grand Finale to the franchise, with tenative plans for a 1991 theatrical release. However, the final product, Mission to Moscow, ended up being a very different, much lower budget, Direct-to-Video release, with Guttenberg, Smith, and others declining to return.
  • Bubba Smith had planned to reprise his role as Hightower in Mission to Moscow, but ended up withdrawing from the film after being told by the filmmakers that they were not planning to bring back Marion Ramsey as Hooks. As a result, scenes originally written for Hightower (who would've been promoted to Captain) had to be given to some of the other characters (i.e. Tackleberry checking up on Commandant Lassard in his hotel room, Capt. Harris wearing a tutu at the Bolshoi Ballet, etc.), and G.W. Bailey was brought on board at the last minute.
  • The three Russian acrobatic police painters (whose names were Brullov, Dukhov, and Repkin) who were assigned to Lassard and friends in Mission to Moscow were originally meant to have a larger role than what was shown in the final cut.

    Superman 
  • Superman: The Movie
    • Casting choices for the title role before Christopher Reeve was ultimately chosen included Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Paul Newman. Other actors considered included Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Christopher Walken, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, and even Muhammad Ali.
    • Patrick Wayne, the son of actor John Wayne, auditioned for the title role, but dropped out in order to care for his ailing father, who died just a year after the movie was released. Neil Diamond (!!!) and Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner auditioned for the part as well.
    • Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were looked at to direct, with the latter two having to pass due to being busy with Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, respectively.
    • Before production started, Guy Hamilton was the initial choice for director, but for tax reasons he was relegated to directing in the UK for a limited time, and he was unable to take Marlon Brando to Italy due to an arrest warrant for his involvement in Last Tango in Paris. Because Hamilton refused to return to the UK because of being a tax exile there, he was released from his contract, and Mark Robson (Avalanche Express) was almost hired as a replacement, then the producers discovered Richard Donner after watching Donner's masterpiece, The Omen (1976), and set off to have him on the director's chair.
    • Margot Kidder was originally supposed to sing the song "Can You Read My Mind" for the flying sequence with Superman, but disliked it and changed it to voice-over.
    • Originally, the helicopter scene was simply going to have Superman save Lois from falling. Later, Donner decided to have the helicopter drop and the modified scene was called "The Double Jeopardy Scene."
    • The producers wanted Joan Crawford for the role of Ma Kent. Unfortunately, Crawford was too ill to take the part and died shortly before production began.
    • Dustin Hoffman, George Kennedy, Jack Nicholson and Gene Wilder were considered for Lex Luthor.
    • Charlton Heston was considered for Jor-El. He turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with The Prince and the Pauper and Gray Lady Down.
    • In an early draft of the script, one of Lex Luthor's personality quirks is that he likes to chew on Kleenex.
    • Carrie Fisher, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli, Christina Raines, Barbra Streisand and Natalie Wood were considered for Lois Lane.
    • Ed Asner, Martin Balsam, Walter Matthau, Jason Robards, Lawrence Tierney and Eli Wallach were considered for the role of Perry White.
    • Goldie Hawn was the first choice for the role of Eve Teschmacher, but she demanded a higher salary.
    • Peter Boyle auditioned for Otis.
    • Christopher Lee had to turn down the role of General Zod. He had just moved to Hollywood as a tax exile, and did not want to have to return to England.
    • The film's tie-in novel, Last Son of Krypton, was adapted from a movie treatment Elliot S! Maggin had been pitching to DC since 1974. When Mario Puzo was chosen to write the Superman movie instead, Maggin was given permission by Warner Books to turn his unused treatment into a novel. This explains why despite being marketed as a tie-in to the film (complete with an image of Christopher Reeve on the cover and photos from the movie inside), the two projects are clearly not in the same continuity.
  • Superman II
    • Richard Donner was fired from the film halfway through production, as producer Alexander Salkind wanted the film to be more camp and less expensive than the previous film. The result on the franchise was disastrous — many of the stars, including Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, refused to work with new director Richard Lester or participate in later sequels. It should be noted that however disastrous the result was for the franchise as a whole, the Lester version was still a critically acclaimed box office smash, and even Superman III enjoyed good box office (if not the critical acclaim) even if only because III piggy backed off the success of the first two films. Donner had reportedly been at odds with the Salkinds from early on over the tone of the film and reportedly did not get along with Pierre Spengler, a long time friend and frequent collaborator of the Salkinds. Marlon Brando was said to have been cut out of the film altogether because he was too expensive, not just for his paycheck but because he got a big bite of the first film's box office and was entitled to a big bite of the second film's box office as well, which the Salkinds decided they didn't like. Jack O'Halloran, the actor who played Non, later accused the Salkinds of having done a poor job managing the budgets for both films.
      • Fans got a taste of this when the Richard Donner cut of Superman II was released (though it obviously wasn't as polished as it would have been had he been able to properly complete it). The "reversing time" trick was originally intended as a finisher for II, but Donner decided to use it as a memorable climax to the first movie. The directors cut restored it as originally planned, though Donner said he would have worked out a new ending if he was kept on.
    • A bunch of scenes were shot for both versions, some of which went un-used in both versions, some of which were restored in extended TV cuts, such as a rather chilling scene (from the original theatrical Lester version!) of a young boy (the one who is supposed to be from the American mid-west yet talks with a British accent) being brutally killed by Non when he tries to ride away for help. This scene ends with an old woman exclaiming "He was only a boy!" to which Ursa cheerfully replies "Who will never become a man."
    • An early version of the script had four Kryptonian villains who were exiled from the planet before its destruction. Jak-El was supposed to be an evil prankster and source of comic relief. He is described as "a psychopathic jokester, whose pranks and practical jokes are only funny to him when they cause death and suffering to others." The character was never cast.
    • The producers wanted Henry Fonda to cameo as the United States President, but Fonda's other projects as well as his failing health led to E.G. Marshall getting the part.
  • Superman III
    • According to Ilya Salkind, the original script was going to involve Brainiac and Mr. Mxyzptlk (who would have played by Dudley Moore) teaming up against Superman, who would also meet his cousin, Supergirl, who was adopted by Brainiac. The three characters would have been involved in a Love Triangle, with a jealous Brainiac turning Superman evil and Supergirl agreeing to marry him if he returned Superman to normal. Superman would have made a deal with Mxyzptlk to transport him and Brainiac to another dimension in order to settle the matter without superpowers, which they would have done by jousting in medieval armor.
    • The original title for the film was going to be Superman vs. Superman.
    • Alan Alda and Frank Langella were both considered for the role of Ross Webster. At least Frank got a role later.
    • Gus Gorman was meant to be the human guise of Brainiac.
  • Supergirl
    • Supergirl was originally going to wear a completely different costume with a more modern sensibility. The new suit was eventually discarded in favor of the classic, iconic costume, but made its way into the comics as the costume Supergirl wore until her death during Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • Christopher Reeve was supposed to cameo as Superman at one point.
    • Ilya Salkind and screenwriter David Odell originally wanted Brainiac to appear in the movie, and would have featured multiple planets over the course of the movie. If this had come to pass, this would have been the most expensive of the Superman films at that time.
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
    • Wes Craven was originally slated to direct the movie, but was replaced due to Creative Differences with Christopher Reeve. (This should already be obvious.)
    • Reportedly, the original budget was about $35 million, but The Cannon Group slashed it in half.
    • The planned soundtrack album (split between songs - mostly for nightclub scenes - and Alexander Courage's score) was cancelled when most of the scenes for which the chosen tracks were written got cut from the movie. (This was before the phrase "Music From And Inspired By" became the bête noire of film music fans.)
    • Quite a lot of material (45 minutes worth!) was cut for the movie's theatrical release, with some odd choices. One would think an extended action sequence of Superman fighting a super-powered opponent (the Bizarro-esque first incarnation of Nuclear Man) would be something you'd want to keep. Other deleted scenes make the plot hang together a little better, and there's a nice character scene between Lois Lane and the weakened Clark/Superman at Clark's apartment.
  • Another Superman movie after Superman IV went through an incredible sequence of Executive Meddling and What Could Have Been, before finally resulting in Superman Returns:
    • Cannon's Superman V:
      • Originally, Cannon considered doing a fifth movie using the deleted footage of Superman fighting Lex's original version of Nuclear Man, which was played by Clive Mantle. These ideas were quickly scrapped after Superman IV bombed.
      • One of the earliest script treatments would have had Superman fighting Brainiac and dying before being revived inside the shrunken city of Kandor and going off to stop Brainiac for good.
    • Superman Lives:
      • Some of the ideas tossed around included a giant mechanical spider attacking Lois Lane in a pit of webs, Supes being a normal guy who got his powers from his costume a'la Venom (the hell?), Brainiac having a "gay R2-D2" as a sidekick, polar bear fights and a Kryptonian cyborg. This was all real.
      • Kevin Smith was attached to the project at one point (after telling Warner Bros. execs that the other writers knew nothing about the mythos), and comics fan Alex Ford wrote a treatment that, though ultimately rejected, was praised as being well-written and respectful to the source material. Smith tells the story of his involvement in Superman more fully in his "Evening With Kevin Smith" DVD, including the connection to Wild Wild West.
      • Among the people considered for the role of Clark/Kal-El in Superman Lives was none other than Nicolas Cage. And it was at one point to be directed by Tim Burton. Chris Rock was also being looked at to play Jimmy Olsen, which would have made for a Race Lift. Batman also would've made a cameo during Superman's funeral.
      • Jon Peters has said Sandra Bullock was the main choice to play Lois Lane, while Tim Burton has said he wanted Christopher Walken to play Brainiac. Kevin Spacey was actually one of the top choices to play Lex Luthor, years before Superman Returns.
      • Superman would have worn multiple costumes, starting with a more "organic" variation of the classic red and blue tights. After his death, he'd briefly transition to a regenerative alien suit to help the healing process before merging with the Eradiactor, who would have had the ability to transform into a suit of Powered Armor. Superman would then don a black outfit with a silver S during the final battle, as producer Jon Peters thought the classic costume was "Too faggy." A test shot of the regenerative costume can be found here, while one of the red and blue suit can be found here.
      • After Kevin Smith exited, Superman Lives, writer Wesley Strick was brought on to take a shot at it, and the results, in the words of i09, "would have made Batman & Robin look like The Dark Knight." Read more about that script here.
      • After Strick was fired, Dan Gilroy was brought in. His draft was more character driven, and utilized Burton's idea of Superman as an outcast who felt isolated from the rest of mankind. Superman would start the film not knowing he was an alien, and would have spent his life up to that point trying to find an explanation for his "condition." After finally learning his true heritage, he would be devastated.
      • Gilroy's draft also had a subplot involving Superman worrying about his future with Lois. He would be afraid that their offspring might end up being a deadly abomination that could harm Lois while still in her womb.
    • Superman Reborn:
      • The film would see Superman die during his battle with Doomsday, only to transfer his life-energy into Lois Lane and cause her to have a Mystical Pregnancy and give birth to Superman's child, who would rapidly mature into a 21-year old within three weeks and then become the new Superman. No word on what drugs the execs involved in this were taking.
      • One draft of Superman Reborn featured Clark having romance problems with Lois Lane and eventually going to see a psychiatrist just before his death. Other villains featured in the script included the Parasite and Silver Banshee.
    • Superman: Flyby:
      • J. J. Abrams' draft for the film. Let's see... Krypton is designed to be like Naboo, and doesn't blow up; Original character Kata-Zor, brother of Jor-El, would start a civil war on Krypton; Kal-El is shipped away by his parents because of a coup. Clark's powers first manifest as a young boy, when he saves Ma Kent from a rapist landlord. Lex Luthor is a CIA agent pursuing proof of extraterrestrial life... because he's an alien himself. Kata-Zor's son, Ty-Zor, would bring three Kryptonians to Earth to fight Superman. Superman dies in the climax, so Jor-El, still imprisoned on Krypton, kills himself so he can go into the afterlife and talk Superman out of being dead. And so much more what-the-fuckery.
  • A scene that was never filmed for Steel would have had John Henry Irons visiting a disability counselor after Sparky ended up in a wheelchair. The counselor (in a wheelchair himself) would note John's S-Shield tattoo, and talk about the responsibility that comes with that symbol, inspiring him to become Steel. Unfortunately, Christopher Reeve couldn't make it, and without him in the role the entire point of the scene was gone.
  • McG almost directed a Batman vs Superman movie before dropping out to do Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. The movie would've been Darker and Edgier and featured a down-on-his-luck Clark Kent who had just recently been divorced by Lois, as well as a Batman struggling to get over the deaths of Robin, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon. In a bit of Hilarious in Hindsight, Christian Bale was approached to play Superman just a few years before Batman Begins entered production.
  • A sequel to Superman Returns dubbed Man of Steel (no relation to the actual movie of that title) was in the works for a while, with Bryan Singer wanting Darkseid to be the Big Bad and Michael Dougherty wanting Brainiac. Singer claims the film would have been more violent and action-packed to answer the complaints about Returns allegedly being boring and too focused on personal drama.
  • Mark Millar (with Matthew Vaughn directing) pitched an eight-hour trilogy that would chronicle Superman's life from his birth on Krypton to right when he is the last being on earth as the sun goes supernova. Millar himself compared the film trilogy to The Godfather series. Charlie Cox was lined up to play him prior to the pitch being rejected in favour of Man of Steel.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 
  • In the mid-1980's, New World Pictures pitched a movie idea to Turtles creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird that would've been more of an R-rated comedy film. Gallagher, Sam Kinison, Bobcat Goldthwait and Billy Crystal would've played the turtles dressed in turtles shells with their arms and legs dipped in green paint, with no clothes on whatsoever. Not much is known about this idea except that one of the treatments had the turtles fighting half-naked nuns wielding Uzis in roller skates. Since this idea was pitched around the time the cartoon was about to air, there was probably no chance this movie would've ever been green-lit.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
    • Jennifer Beals, Marisa Tomei, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Melanie Griffith, Sean Young, Lorraine Bracco, Winona Ryder, and Brooke Shields were all considered for April O'Neil.
    • Steve Barron wished to replicate April O'Neil's jumpsuit look from the early Mirage comics and the 1987 cartoon. The look was going to closer resemble the cartoon with a yellow colored jumpsuit and a big head of red hair (as opposed to a green jumpsuit and brown hair). However, Judith Hoag found the jumpsuit "horrifying" and the idea was nixed. The yellow raincoat April wears in the beginning of the movie is a homage to the yellow jumpsuit she wears in the cartoon.
    • The scene where Raphael exits the movie theater would have had no poster for Critters showing, and Raphael, apparently having seen a screening of Batman (1989), would have commented, "Cool car. Stupid costume." This would've been Hilarious in Hindsight since Warner Bros., who produced said movie, would take over this film's distributor, New Line Cinema, in 2008. That said, this version of the scene survives in the Comic-Book Adaptation of the film.
    • Originally, a young Foot ninja named Shinsho was intended to be killed by getting brutally beaten by Tatsu due to the Foot Clan's failure, but executives at New Line Cinema felt the scene was too violent for a PG-rated film. The dialogue was re-dubbed with the kid comforting him saying "you'll be alright," to show Tatsu only injured him. Shinsho's death was retained in the tie-in novelization and the French dub of the film.
    • There are a handful of scenes that were deleted from the final cut for reasons unexplained. They would have given the four turtles much more Character Development, expanding on April and Casey's romance, and would have put later scenes into a different context:
      • April and Casey's reaction to Mikey's "turtle wax" joke was originally one of relief after he goes through a severe Heroic BSoD where he destroys a punching bag and part of the barn's wall
      • An extended training sequence where Leo proves a point by turning his mask around and fighting blind followed by the other Turtles taking turns doing the same. The scene rather famously has Donatello sporting a straw hat.
      • Various scenes of the Turtles training on their own or in pairs trying to master the technique Leo shows them earlier
      • Some of the April and Casey scenes involve him trying to help her with a stuck truck door while she declines and exits on the driver's side. Another leads into the scene of the two of them talking on the porch swing where the night before she shows him her drawings the Turtles but tries to hide the one she did of him in a beanie, they both share a laugh over it.
      • A game of "ninja hot potato" where the Turtles toss around an apple and the holder has to defend against the other three while taking a bite out of it. It makes the later scene where Raph finishes off an apple after defeating a squad of Foot ninjas a Call-Back.
    • The original ending had April quitting her reporter's job in order to pitch the story of their adventures to a comic book company while the Turtles listen in outside the window. When the editor rejects her idea as being too unrealistic Mikey falls off the building. Some stills from this ending appeared in the Panini sticker book tie-in at the time of release.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
    • The original draft for the film had Professor Perry revealing himself to be an Utrom in the ending. This was cut allegedly because New Line didn't want people to confuse him with Krang. Much foreshadowing ended up left in the movie though. Perry immediately recognizes what happened to the Turtles upon first meeting them, and even describes the very accident that led to them coming in contact with the ooze down to the year. He even has suspiciously portentous lines like "Sometimes the best way to hide is right out in public," and "You're the last one, aren't you?" If you pay attention, during the two scenes at T.G.R.I., there appears to be a large rock-like object encased in glass with numerous computers plugged into it. And April later mentions in her news report that the company mysteriously (and literally) "disappeared". The most bizarre effect of this though is the resulting Non-Indicative Title - the "secret of the ooze" is the fact that it's alien in origin, but got cut from the movie!
    • The draft also revealed Bebop and Rocksteady planned to appear in the movie, but Executive Meddling from New Line resulted in them getting replaced with Tokka and Razhar.
    • Bits of dialogue explaining where Casey Jones was were cut for reasons unknown. The dialogue never went further than "He was out of town," and caused huge confusion when he inexplicably shows up in the third movie, also without any explanation on why he was gone in the second movie.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
    • Rumor has it that had the original draft for the second movie been taken up, this film would have been based off the Turtles in Space story arc from the comics, rather than the time travel plot it got instead.
  • A fourth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (excluding the All-CGI Cartoon TMNT) went through a lengthy phase of Development Hell and Executive Meddling before being ultimately canceled in favor of a Continuity Reboot in 2014.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: The Next Mutation (no relation to the live-action series of the same name):
      • It would have dealt with the turtles and Splinter finding out that their mutations haven't completed and they develop new powers. Mikey would have developed a human-like appearance that would allow him to go to the surface, Donnie's eyesight would have faded and he would make special goggles that would allow him to see better, Leo would change his skin to a chrome-like surface, Raph would turn more monstrous, and Splinter would bulk up. This movie was quickly scrapped once Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III flopped, and the idea of accelerated mutations was introduced in later seasons of the Fred Wolf cartoon.
      • This page features concept art of what the Turtles would have been portrayed as in the movie. No word yet on what kind of Nightmare Fuel the New Line executives went through.
      • There were plans to have a fifth turtle in the film, whose name is known only in the early concepts as "Kirby." This idea later resurfaced in a short-lived live-action television series called Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, where the turtle is a female named Venus.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: The Foot Walks Again: A Darker and Edgier sequel that would have ignored the events of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and feature the return of the Foot Clan and Super Shredder. Not much is known about this movie, except that it removed the idea of accelerated mutations whilst keeping "Kirby." New characters would be introduced in the movie, and also feature an Evil April. The concept art was also slightly modified.
    • Untitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot (2011): After the All-CGI Cartoon TMNT, which continued the story after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, failed to meet expectations, Warner Bros. decided to reboot the live-action film series, with input from TMNT franchise owner Mirage Comics. This film was to be a direct sequel to the original movie that would outline the turtles' origins, which would have rendered the sequels, as well as the animated movie, non-canon. Like the failed The Foot Walks Again, this was to have a Darker and Edgier plot, but this time written by John Fusco and based off the original black and white comics from Turtles creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Thanks to script disagreements from Paramount Pictures (who was to co-produce the movie with Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, in their second collaboration following Watchmen), the film didn't get very far when Nickelodeon acquired the rights to the TMNT property, directly resulting in Warner Bros. losing the film rights to the series, Fusco getting booted out, and causing this project to be scrapped entirely. Nickelodeon, with Paramount's input, decided to do things their own way, and what we instead got was a complete Continuity Reboot released in 2014.
  • TMNT (2007) ended up being the film that continued the story after TMNT III, though it had some ideas of its own that never made it to the screen:
    • Kevin Munroe stated that he would have liked to do a sequel, either featuring the Foot Clan (which, given Karai's ominous remark at the end of the film, indicated that the Shredder might have come back), the Rat King, or the Triceratons. Munroe also expressed interest in having Sarah Michelle Gellar and Chris Evans reprise their roles as April and Casey in a live action film. Because of Imagi Studios' financial troubles, Warner Bros. abandoned the sequel in an ill-fated attempt to reboot the live-action universe (see above) that went bust after Nickelodeon acquired the TMNT property.
    • Originally the backstory of Yaotyl and the Generals was going to be told by Winters when April and Casey deliver Aguila's statue to him, but the filmmakers decided to just get everyone on the front page in the film's prologue.
    • An abandoned sub-plot would have featured Casey working up the courage to propose to April, which he would've done at the film's end.
    • The opening would've been narrated by Splinter, and the opening sequence thereafter would have introduced Raph as the Nightwatcher. This opening can be found on the DVD.
    • In an earlier draft that found its' way into tie-in materials, Yaotyl and the Generals would've succeeded in destroying the ancient civilization we see them attacking in the prologue, but they would've been cursed with immortality and being turned to stone by a sorceress from the civilization who was not present at the battle.
    • The fight between Leo and Raph would've had them fight barehanded. The nearly completed scene can be viewed on the DVD.
    • As shown in this video, the movie was originally going to have just voice actors until Executive Meddling kicked in, resulting in some celebrity casting. Only intervention by the creators got the turtles and most of the supporting characters to be played by voice actors.
  • Speaking of that reboot:
    • In earlier scripts, Casey Jones was going to be present and be the main protagonist. The movie would've had the turtles as aliens rather than mutants. The Shredder was changed to a white, American military officer named "Colonel Schraeder," with the Foot depicted as a black-ops military unit rather than a ninja clan. Schraeder would've eventually been revealed to be an alien in disguise and a Composite Character of himself and Krang. This was supposedly scrapped after negative fan reaction, as well as vocal displeasure from those who were previously involved in the franchise.
    • Eric Sacks was originally announced to be the film's incarnation of the Shredder. But massive backlash to "White Shredder" from fans resulted in the film having scenes reshot with a more traditional version of the Shredder.note  This change was made so late in development that Sacks as the Shredder was used in the Nintendo 3DS adaptation.
    • K. Todd Freeman was cast as Baxter Stockman, according to IMDB, but all his scenes were cut from the film, presumably for the above re-shoots.
    • Concept art has revealed that at one point, Rocksteady and Bebop from the original TV show were going to appear as well. The sequel, Out Of The Shadows, features them proper.
    • Minae Noji filmed more scenes as Karai, including a fight scene with April. She would have dominated most of the fight, only for Vernon to knock her off balance with his camera, allowing April to finish her off. The entire fight sequence was cut for unknown reasons, essentially making Karai's role in the film a mere Cameo.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows:
    • Its working title was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell, before the trailer officially revealed its real subtitle.
    • CM Punk auditioned for the role of Rocksteady, but lost it to fellow WWE wrestler Sheamus.


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