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What Could Have Been / Pokémon

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  • Ash's original partner in the anime was supposed to be a Clefairy instead of a Pikachu. Think about it: if successful as a franchise icon as Pikachu has been, Super Smash Bros. players could have been able to play as a Clefairy.
    • It's entirely possible this would have effected the success of the series to some degree because Clefairy has nowhere near the mass appeal that Pikachu has (there are plenty of polls, surveys and other things that prove this). While it probably would not have absolutely doomed the show per se as there is more factors to this than just Pikachu, the series dodged a bullet here.
  • Also, the anime was originally just supposed to last through Kanto, with an assumed ending of Ash defeating Gary and winning the Pokémon League.
  • Missing Trailer Scenes are really common in the films:
    • The very first trailer for the movie Mewtwo Strikes Back! in Japan is completely made out of scenes that didn't make it to the final product; the grown-up Misty segment, in particular, is a huge source of speculation and discussion withing the fandom, specially by taking account the movie would be the Grand Finale for the anime. Takeshi Shudō, in a blog entry, explained his concept of a series finale that may have been related: in this ending, elderly Ash would remember that Pokémon never really existed, and his entire adventure had been All Just a Dream; he'd then wake up as a child again, wanting to travel on his own. The adult Misty scene from the trailer may have been part of this, with Pikachu only existing in the girl's imagination. It's speculated that the woman and the girl are characters from the Cut Song featured in the trailer.
    • For Pokémon 2000, an early trailer showed a scene where Ash leaps off a cliff to rescue Pikachu. A tearful Misty (who isn't wearing her jacket like in the final product) tries to run and save Ash, but is stopped by Tracey. There's also a scene with Ash and Pikachu on the boat that isn't present in the final product.
    • A trailer for Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys depicted a space battle between Deoxys and Ash riding on the back of Rayquaza, which was nowhere to be seen in the final cut.
    • Some of the trailers for Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew show Kid's van being caught in the middle of a geyser field, Lucario dodging falling rocks, Lucario apparently dead, and various other scenes cut from the final film.
    • A teaser for what eventually became Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions originally depicted Ho-Oh and Lugia locked in aerial combat, presumably for a Heart Gold/Soul Silver tie-in at the time. Other early trainers showed a shadowy Evil Twin of Ash, which also never made it to the movie.
  • Media Blaster wanted to release uncut DVDs in America at one point, but of course Viz got the rights and they were unable to do this.
  • There was originally going to be an episode (likely just a Clip Show) that celebrated the Japanese New Year during the Kanto run. This episode was intended to air soon after the infamous Porygon "seizure" episode, so production was halted, and after a while simply cancelled.
  • Here's one to consider in light of that 18-month report: Pokémon Gold and Silver was originally scheduled for release in Late 1997, but was delayed to be adapted for the Game Boy Color. The first episode of the Anime aired on 1 April 1997:
    • Had the game been released as originally scheduled, or even with a slight delay (i.e. Spring 1998), would an immediate sequel have followed?
    • Given that the delay happened, what if the "Porygon Incident" never happened and the series ended in October 1998, 1 year prior to Gold & Silver's actual release (as opposed to January 1999)? Would we have had a whole year in the Orange Islands? Or would the Anime have taken the year off?note 
    • In either of the above cases (presuming that they didn't go the Filler Arc route), would Ash still have been the protagonist, or would he (and his companions) have been replaced?
  • The GS Ball was originally going to contain a Celebi that was to star in a large portion of the Johto arc. After Pokemon 4Ever came out, it was decided that having a Celebi in the anime right after a movie featuring Celebi would be redundant, so the idea was shelved.
  • Pokémon 3:
    • Spell of the Unown was originally set to address the question of "What happened to real-world animals in the Pokémon universe?", and instead of Entei and the Unown (Gold and Silver had been delayed at this point of development and they were unsure about doing another movie debut Pokémon), the focal point would be the reanimated fossils of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
    • On that note, Molly's mother was originally supposed to be dead. When Takeshi Shudō was hospitalized, Hideki Sonoda rewrote much of the script so that she survived and was simply hospitalized. Shudō was outraged by this, as he felt it was going against the story he wrote, and never wrote another Pokémon movie again. It's widely believed that this incident also began the process that eventually saw him leave Pokémon altogether.
    • Early previews for Spell of the Unown refer to it as Tower of the Unown.
  • According to ADR director Tom Wayland, in Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life, Arceus was originally going to be voiced by actor Vincent D'Onofrio of Full Metal Jacket and Men in Black fame. However, before his recording session, there were difficulties with D'Onofrio's agent and he was unable to record for the movie. After re-auditioning, Tom Wayland himself was chosen to voice Arceus instead.
  • Team Plasma was supposed to make their debut appearances in Castelia City during Best Wishes, but their episodes were indefinitely postponed after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, as the episodes featured Castelia City being destroyed. This plus the Black 2/White 2 games utilizing a different incarnation of Team Plasma led to the originally intended arc for Team Plasma in the anime being scrapped altogether.
    • A related episode about a fishing competition in Castelia City was also postponed, but was broadcast without any references to the original setting of Castelia City.
  • When the Advanced Generation was in pre-production, there was a discussion on who would get Put on a Bus, Misty or Team Rocket. Misty leaving the show was controversial enough, but one wonders how much the fandom would have flipped their lids if Team Rocket left.
    • Team Rocket was also going to be Put on a Bus in Best Wishes. Ironically, their intended write-off was still advertised as their Grand Finale, which was intentional since there were still plans for them to make some appearances after said write-off and only when Best Wishes ended would they be gone for good, so the promotion about their farewell was testing the waters with fans and getting a response before working on the end of the series and the start of the next series, XY. Because fan reaction was negative, Team Rocket was kept in the anime.
  • Takeshi Shudo had story plans for finding out more about Ash's father. This idea was scrapped and we ended up with the show we have now because of it.
  • Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea was supposedly going to be focused on Jackie Walker as the protagonist, along with Manaphy as his sidekick, but this shifted around as May became a more interesting viewpoint for the story and they realized how May and Manaphy's Mother/"Son" dynamic might appear to be recycling Misty and Togepi.
  • Latias from Pokémon Heroes was originally meant to join Ash for at least the remainder of the Johto season, but that plan was scrapped possibly due to the staff not willing to work with a serious Pokémon/Human relationship on a kid's show (then again Bayleaf did like Ash too).
  • Ash's name was originally "Casey" in the English dub. Ironically, another character — a girl — would later end up with that name in Johto.
  • A Nintendo Power article prior to the anime's release shows that Jessie and James originally wore the standard black uniform, not their signature white. They briefly switched to black over ten years later in Black and White, before switching back not too long afterwards.
  • According to Shudo's blog, there was originally going to be an episode where Ash met Mewtwo. It was scrapped before even making it to the scripting stage.
  • Rachael Lillis was originally going to be the voice of Pikachu in the 4Kids dub before they decided to keep Ikue Otani's voice. However, some earlier episodes and promotional material keep this early voice, with the most noteworthy example being the original ad for the Red and Blue games.

  • Early scripts for Pokémon Live! didn't just have Delia and Giovanni dating in the past. Giovanni was Ash's father! The play still has subtext that Giovanni might be Ash's father, which the writer confirmed was intentional, but it's much more vague than originally intended.
  • Pokémon Adventures: Wally was initially intended to be the holder of third Hoenn Pokédex; in the original magazine run, he registered the Pokédex he accidentally came across. This was changed in the official volume release (where Wally simply picked it up and eventually returned it to Professor Birch), as the writer realized Wally's character wouldn't have fit into the Battle Frontier.
  • When the game was being localized to the USA, the staff there told the developers that the Pokémon were "too cute" and offer their own replacement designs. Their take on Pikachu turned them into something that only vaguely look like Pikachu, in the form of a tiger-like creature with breasts. No really. Perhaps unsurprisingly, GameFreak refused to have the Pokémon designs altered, lest we would potentially have very different childhood.

    Live-Action Films 
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu:
    • Warner Bros. initially wanted to go on the idea of a live-action Pokémon movie alone, having fought against Netflix, Columbia Pictures, and Legendary Pictures for the movie rights to the franchise. This thinking stemmed from Warner's history with the franchise, having broadcast the anime on Kids' WB! and releasing the first three films worldwide outside Japan. Legendary ultimately won the rights and brought their then-financing partner Universal on board. After filming wrapped up, however, Universal told Legendary it would not renew its financing pact with the studio, and that the movie would be dropped from their slate. Hoping to avoid delays in production, Legendary came calling back to Warner for help. Warner, who needed another hit for their summer slate alongside Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) (also co-produced by Legendary), enthusiastically agreed.
    • Detective Pikachu wasn't the first idea for a live-action Pokémon movie. Max Landis (Chronicle) wrote a screenplay centering around a boy named Red (a Shout-Out to the canon name of the trainer the player controls in Pokémon Red & Green) trying to rekindle his relationship with Pokémon after witnessing his mother, a professional trainer, being turned on by her fellow trainers who refer to themselves as Team Rocket (no relation to the criminal syndicate in the franchise). He even pitched the idea to The Pokémon Company, but was rejected due to TPC believing a movie centered around Pikachu was more marketable.
    • Dwayne Johnson, Hugh Jackman, and Mark Wahlberg were considered to play the title role.
    • From the start, fans pushed for Danny DeVito to voice Detective Pikachu, even though DeVito claimed that he had never heard of Pokémon. Co-producer Cale Boyter then revealed that the crew seriously did consider DeVito for the role, and that early character animation tests from the visual effects team had the character speak lines from archive material the comedian did. Ultimately, the producers decided DeVito wasn't fit for the role, but the final character's personality remained heavily inspired by the actor.
    • Natalia Dyer, Katherine Langford, and Haley Lu Richardson were considered for the role of Lucy Stevens.
    • Dean Israelite, Robert Rodriguez, and Tim Miller were offered to direct the movie. Rodriguez declined due to his filming commitments to Alita: Battle Angel, while Miller turned down directorial duties in favor of Terminator: Dark Fate and executive producing Sonic the Hedgehog, both of which were being produced at Paramount. Other candidates for director included Shane Acker (9), Chris Wedge of Blue Sky Studios, and Mark A.Z. Dippé (Spawn).
    • Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch was originally planned to co-write the script, but left before filming began and was replaced with Rob Letterman, the latter of whom also was its director. It was long assumed that Creative Differences led to his departure before Hirsch clarified that it was due to his other projects with Disney Channel he had in the pipeline, adding that he never wrote a single word in the script.
    • The film was originally going to be titled simply Detective Pikachu, like the game it was based on. But according to Letterman, TPC didn't think people would believe it's an official Pokémon movie if the franchise's name wasn't in the title.
    • Mr. Mime almost didn't make it to the film...twice. TPC initially refused to let him appear because they felt he wouldn't translate well in photo-realistic CGI. Letterman ended up having to personally meet TPC's president to convince them to include the Pokémon in the movie. When Mr. Mime did get in the movie, Letterman saw the interrogation scene with him and was tempted to cut it, since he felt it wouldn't do well with audiences. To his surprise, test audiences loved it, and he kept the scene in.
    • As many as 100 species of Pokémon were originally planned to appear in the movie, but due to budget constraints, the number was reduced to 60. Beldum, Durant and Steelix were among the many Pokémon that had their appearances scrapped because of the cuts.
    • Sawk was originally planned to make an appearance, but when the film crew modeled it and sent the model to TPC for review, they were told that the gi it wore was part of its skin. The crew found it to be technically impossible to realize, so it was cut.
    • Arcanine was supposed to be Tim's Pokémon. He was cut because Warner Bros. felt it would take too much focus away from the title character.
    • One scene would've taken place in a museum with ancient Pokémon fossils, and a museum guide would scare some children by having his Ditto transform into a Tyrantrum. Tim and Pikachu were also meant to encounter Rayquaza in the museum at some point.
    • The film would've actually opened with Tim working at his insurance job and having a conversation with a colleague, played by frequent Ryan Reynolds collaborator Rob Delaney. Warner Bros. executives ordered it changed on the grounds that it didn't connect to the franchise in any capacity, and Delaney was removed from the film entirely.
  • Robin Williams claimed in an interview with a gaming magazine that Nintendo once contacted him and told that he was the only actor they would consider to play Professor Oak in a live-action movie, however it failed to appear due to his death in 2014.

    Video Games 
  • Bulbapedia goes into the details about changes between games.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire:
    • In early versions of the game, several Pokémon such as Sharpedo would have no ability.
    • Double Battles with wild Pokémon were planned but never fully implemented. This was later included in future games.
    • There's concept art of a Pokémon that looks a lot like Blaziken and Latias, implying that the two were originally one Pokémon. It's also being ridden by an unused blue-haired woman.
    • Torchic was originally going to have huge, rabbit-like ears and a flame-shape on the back of its head. It might have evolved into the Blaziken/Latias hybrid.
    • A Nintendo Power interview revealed Diamond and Pearl Pokémon Shellos and Gastrodon were originally designed for Ruby and Sapphire, but ultimately they were not implemented due to time constraints.
    • Game Freak considered altering the number of Pokémon that could be kept in the party, as well as the number of moves a Pokémon could know at a time, but eventually concluded that the changes wouldn't improve anything.
    • The ability Levitate and a higher Attack boost were considered for Mega Metagross in ORAS, but Tough Claws and the large boost to Speed won out due to giving it more options in battle.
    • Treeko's concept art resembles a more realistic (albeit bipedal) gecko.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl:
    • Spiritomb was originally going to be called "Phantomb".
    • Buildings were supposed to use the same 3D perspective (complete with 3D props such as tables) as the overworld instead of the forced 2D perspective.
    • There are unused back sprites of another version of Shellos and Gastrodon with slight design differences. These designs are presumed to be the Dummied Out sprites of what they would have looked like in Ruby and Sapphire.
    • All Pokémon were intended to have gender differences. Examples include female Psyduck having heart-shaped hair, female Umbreon having shorter ears, female Bulbasaur having larger spots, female Mudkip having a shorter fin, and female Charizard having only one head spike. Some gender differences were also different, such as female Pikachu and Raichu having downturned ears. According to an earlier interview from the July 2006 issue of CoroCoro, female Pokémon were originally supposed to be smaller or more simplified looking than males.
    • Originally, up to 16 players were originally supposed to connect to one another.
    • The Gible line was originally supposed to be red. Also, Rotom was originally a blue, spark-like being and Arceus originally had a more amorphous and shadowy design.
    • A Pokémon called Kimairan was planned for this region, but was cut.
  • Pokémon Black and White:
    • Professor Juniper was originally going to be an old man like previous ones instead of a Hot Scientist (although we do get an "old man" Juniper, who is the father of Professor Juniper).
    • Cedric was originally a fat male professor. This was before his daughter became the main professor.
    • Concept art shows the cube N wears on his belt as some kind of sliding puzzle that would have revealed a keyhole inside when solved, but the cube has no relevance in the final game.
    • Jellicent and Stunfisk were going to be, respectively, pure Water type and another Electric/Water combination, before becoming respectively Water/Ghost and Ground/Electric to increase type diversity in Unova. Stunfisk was also originally a flounder, not an electric ray.
    • Hydreigon and its evolution line were originally intended to be cybernetic dragons incorporating aspects of tanks within their bodies. The track-like markings on their bellies seem to be a remnant of this.
    • Excadrill was originally violet.
    • Sawk and Throh originally had horns like an oni's.
    • N's original design was more intimidating and less androgynous.
    • Ghetsis' original design had short black hair. He was older looking, shorter, and more resembled a priest.
  • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2:
    • Dummied Out data shows that Hilbert and Hilda were meant to participate in the World Tournament. Unlike Red, they have dialogue.
    • Concept art shows that the Shadow Triad had different designs and more individual designs. They wore slightly different costumes and had different hair cuts. One had medium-length Peek-a-Bangs over his right eye and the other two had longer hair in different styles from each other. In the final game, all three are identical and have the same long hair.
  • Pokémon X and Y:
    • When the games came out, there was a lot of speculation about a number of mysteries, such as certain inaccessible or empty locations and a hidden encounter with a mysterious NPC that's never mentioned before or after, with the assumption that most of it would be expanded on in the inevitable third version or sequels. Said game(s) could also polish up the story and explain just what Zygarde's deal is. Unfortunately, Generation VI ended abruptly before another Kalos game could materialize, and Zygarde was hastily shoved into Pokémon Sun and Moon as a poorly-integrated sidequest. The common theory is that Sun and Moon got bumped up at the last minute to coincide with the series' 20th anniversary, and the hypothetical Z version was a casualty.
    • Going by internal data, two more Kalos games were apparently plannednote , and there's partial coding for two alternate Zygarde forms that would likely have used the Thousand Waves and Thousand Arrows as its respective signature movesnote , strongly implying that X and Y were going to get a pair of followups ala Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, featuring said Zygarde forms as version mascots. There's also data showing that more Megas were planned, which would have debuted in said Kalos gamesnote 
    • Among Pokémon that were supposed to receive a Mega Evolution, one of them was going to be Flygon. It was attempted again in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, however, Ken Sugimori had "Artist's Block" when coming up with a good design. Thus, Flygon never received one in the end.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon:
    • It seems that walking Pokémon were originally meant to come back. All the Pokémon have low-polygon models that can also have walking and running animations.
    • There are a number of places that are mapped out, fully or partially, such as parts of the player's house like the garage, the bathroom, and a toilet; another coastal area, and the golf course at the Hano Grand Resort. Places like that golf course can be seen from various parts of the overworld, like a cave in the tall rock pools at Brooklet Hill (said rock pools have also been removed from the in-game map despite being in the official artwork for Alola), a cave in the lake at Poni Meadow, and a lot of land blocked off by debris at the Lake of the Sunne/Moone. Additionally, the external part of Ten Carat Hill from the demo is not in the full game.
    • Every in-game area except for Ultra Space has a map description, but the way the map is designed prevents most of them from being seen. For example, Po Town and the Shady House fall under Route 17 and as a result use its description instead of their own ones.
    • Akala was originally going to have its own meadow. As a result of this removal, Oricorio is found on Route 6, the Cutiefly line (which is normally found in meadows) cannot be found in Akala, and Pink Nectar is obtained from the floral arrangements in Royal Avenue.
    • At one point, the game was supposed to have Gyms or something resembling them. There's an unused battle background that resembles a blue-tinted futuristic background similar to the one in Aether Paradise with two statues near the entrance and a gym logo on a wall.
    • Zygarde has an overworld model that differs from the one used in X and Y, suggesting that it may have been planned to have it exist as an overworld encounter rather than have the player build their own from collected cores and cells, akin to how Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon handled Zygarde and used this model.
  • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon:
    • Looking at Necrozma's concept art, it appears Ultra Necrozma was supposed to look slightly different, as the wings and legs as depicted in yellow don't match up to the final version's. Most notably, what is labeled a tail is instead Ultra Necrozma's chest.
    • Originally, the previous villains only appeared as opponents in the Battle Agency. The scenario writer believed they could write a story around them, however, resulting in the creation of Team Rainbow Rocket.
  • Pokémon Snap originally began as a simulation game on the 64 DD simply called Jack & The Beanstalk, but it was unknown what kind of simulation it would have been. The developers later reduced it to only a photography game, made it on-rails so photography was the only interactive focus, and finally, re-tooled an otherwise generic photography game by adding Pokémon before finally moving it to the Nintendo 64 after the DD failed. The game also featured a desert stage, and a dummied out tune that had a haunted feel to it. Ekans was also featured as a 64th Pokémon.
  • Cancelled games:
    • A major miss is something that not many know about: A Pokémon RPG for the N64DD. From IGN64. This mod on Bulbagarden believes there is evidence it eventually became Pokémon Colosseum. Pocket Monsters RPG, as it was called, was a story-driven game on a home console with a darker tone, featuring a protagonist named Leo who stole Pokémon from other trainers. It isn't difficult to believe that the game was recycled as Colosseum.
    • Pokémon Picross is an unreleased puzzle game for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color that was announced in Spring 1999. The SNES game Picross NP Vol. 1 (which was released in 1999) had some Pokémon puzzles. In 2015, a different Pokémon Picross was released for the 3DS. The Game Boy ROM has been leaked in September 10, 2020.
  • Battle Revolution was once very different from its released version. For example, Red and Leaf were originally supposed to be in the game, but were later changed to Lucas and Dawn. The game was originally more realistic and action-packed in terms of effects, as shown by the original trailer.
  • Detective Pikachu: When the game was announced, there was mention of a blue Pikachu character (reference to the old "Pikablu" rumors from when Marill was revealed) that was important.
  • Pokémon Colosseum:
    • Text data exists in the coding for several more Shadow Pokémon, including a Shadow Minun to go with Duking's Plusle.
    • Rui actually has an HD model for battling and data for standing behind her own Pokemon though lacks a Poke Ball throwing animation or intro animation of her own, implying a battle with or perhaps against her was cut during development.
  • There was a rejected Pokémon design based on the first cloned sheep, Dolly. It's never been mentioned when it was created; however, fan speculation dates it to Gen 2 or Gen 3. It was removed because it was deemed "too controversial".
  • A rabbit Pokémon with a flower on its nose was created, but it was scrapped because its design didn't match the region's environment.


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