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What Could Have Been / Who Framed Roger Rabbit

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Many, many, early storyboards and concept art of the film before Spielberg and/or Williams was involved.
The film went through many years of development to the point when the film went over budget twice just on test animation until Steven Spielberg became director of the film.


  • Harrison Ford was the first choice for the role of Eddie Valiant before Bob Hoskins was cast, but was turned down due to the fact that he was considered "too expensive".
  • Tim Curry auditioned for Judge Doom before the casting of Christopher Lloyd, but was turned down due to being considered too terrifying by Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner.
  • Paul Reubens and Eddie Deezen were considered for the role of Roger Rabbit before Charles Fleischer was cast.
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  • Terry Gilliam was originally approached to direct the film before Robert Zemeckis was hired. However, Gilliam turned down the offer due to the fact that he considered it to be "conceptually inauthentic to use the Looney Tunes genre and character stable as a springboard for a variation on the Howard the Duck story." Gilliam later expressed his regret at turning it down after seeing how successful the movie turned out.
  • Darrell Van Citters was originally announced as the animation director before Richard Williams was hired. Van Citters' version of Roger Rabbit even cameoed in Sports Goofy in Soccermania.
  • A very early script had the cartoon characters being the same as their theme park counterparts.
  • Jack Angel was going to be in the movie as the voice of Captain Cleaver, a tough, gruff Toon human police captain from Toontown and the head of the T.P.D. Homicide Division, who would have been very combative with Eddie in terms of who's going to solve the Acme case.
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  • Gary Wolf, the original author, was offered to do a Creator Cameo numerous times (mainly because he was present during filming most of the time). He turned the offer down due to being very camera-shy at the time (it's also why he's rarely present in behind-the-scenes documentaries or specials concerning the film). He mentioned though on his Facebook page once that, had he been up to it at the time, he would have pitched the idea of him playing a crazed fanboy trying to get Jessica's autograph, only to get carried away by bodyguards.
  • One of the early drafts of the film called for Jessica's act to have a cameo of Tex Avery's Wolf to be seen doing similar reactions during Jessica's performance at the ink and paint club. Sounds like this would have been a tribute to Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood, his best known MGM cartoon.
  • Jessica Rabbit was originally hardly in love with Roger at all, much like in the original book Who Censored Roger Rabbit?. In this version of the story, Jessica married Roger only for the fame and began ignoring him after she became a starlet. Design wise, she wears a sweater and pants, instead of her iconic red dress from the final film. Jessica is more seductive and she's also expressive (such as when she shouts at Eddie for declining her).
  • In an early draft of the script, it would be revealed that Judge Doom was actually the hunter who killed Bambi's mother, which may have been intended to be a Mythology Gag from the original novel, which contained a throwaway line implying Bambi really did have a mother who was murdered by someone.
  • An early draft of the script included Marvin Acme's funeral, which would have been attended by such characters as Popeye and Bluto, Tom and Jerry, Herman and Katnip, Heckle and Jeckle, Chip 'n Dale, Felix the Cat, Baby Huey, Andy Panda, Mighty Mouse, Superman, Dick Tracy, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The scene was dropped due to inability to secure the rights to the characters. This scene would happen after Eddie left Roger at the bar and before snooping in Jessica's dressing room. The scene would have also included Eddie spying on a private discussion between R.K. Maroon and Judge Doom which further raised Eddie's suspicions of Maroon's possible involvement with Doom.
    • Storyboards reveal that Goofy, Popeye, Bluto, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Herman Mouse and Felix the Cat were Acme's pallbearers. Goofy and Popeye would even crack a joke about it, garnering a Dude, Not Funny! response from Bluto and a fight.
  • Speaking of Popeye, Spielberg did try to get the rights from King Features Syndicate to have Popeye appear in the film, but they had wanted three times the amount of money that Warner Bros. was licensing for all of the Looney Tunes characters for just Popeye. When the movie came out, K.F.S. had later admitted it was the worst mistake they made.
  • Originally there were twelve weasels. These were cut down to seven (to mimic the seven dwarfs)note , and finally five, to give them a more prominent role in the movie.
  • In the early script, toons weren't immortal and could get killed by any kind of attacks like in the book. This, too, was changed to the fact that toons can only be killed by the Dip.
  • According to Chuck Jones, due to Executive Meddling the piano duel between Donald Duck and Daffy Duck that you see in the film is not the original storyboarded version. In a scenario lifted from Show Biz Bugs, all of the audience's praise would have gone to Donald, who'd do absolutely nothing but sit there to receive such acclaim, while Daffy would only gain the attention of Chirping Crickets no matter how hard he tried. In a movie meant to showcase the zany and wild nature of '40s cartoons, you can see how this scenario really didn't fit with the film's atmosphere, plus it would've violated Warner Bros.' demand that neither character overshadows the other.
  • The sequel would've had Eric Goldberg supervise the animation instead of Richard Williams. He was heading the animation test that they showed Michael Eisner to prove they could still pull it off without Williams's London studio. But the results did not satisfy him, and the other reasons listed in the opening section attributed to its cancellation. ...just imagine every single classic cartoon character with the movement of Aladdin's Genie! Eric Goldberg would eventually head another film with the Roger Rabbit Effect in Looney Tunes: Back in Action for 2003.
  • In the third draft of the script, instead of Doom dipping the shoe, he was to dip a gopher for bumping into him and soiling his coat. When the gopher complained that he should get a trial first, the weasels take out a briefcase containing a literal Kangaroo Court that immediately declares him guilty, with their joeys holding cards spelling "Y-O-U-A-R-E-G-U-I-L-T-Y", followed by the gopher getting dipped as Eddie and Santino helplessly watched.
  • Also in the third script draft, rather than Judge Doom shooting R.K. Maroon himself, originally Maroon's killer was going to be a weasel disguised as Roger Rabbit by Latex Perfection.
  • Judge Doom was originally going to have an animated pet vulture named Voltaire (after the French philosopher) that sat on his shoulder, but that idea was dropped in the interest of saving time. However, the vulture later resurfaced with Doom when a bendable action figure was produced.
  • Another character whom the filmmakers failed to get the rights to was Gossamer, the big red Looney Tunes monster. The filmmakers hypothesized that, had they been able to get him, he'd have been the bouncer at the Ink and Paint club.
  • The Pink Panther character from the comedy series of the same name was to appear for a cameo but this idea was scrapped, likely because of licensing issues with MGM and the fact that the character himself wasn't created until 1963, 16 years after the movie's 1947 setting.
  • When the Latin American Spanish dub was being produced in Los Angeles, Juan Alfonso Carralero auditioned for Roger Rabbit, but was turned down because Buena Vista International wanted the voice to sound as close to the original as possible. After returning to his native Mexico, Carralero was informed that the situation wasn't working out, so he returned to Los Angeles on the conditions that the client would pay his travel and lodging expenses, and that he would be the ADR director.
  • At one point, there were plans for a Roger Rabbit newspaper comic, focusing on Roger's acting career and featuring a photographed real person as the director.