10 Scrapped Disney Movies I’ll Revive as CEO
Disney and theme park fans woke to come surprising news today. Bob Iger has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of the Disney Company. This is a job that carries much responsibility. In between the standard Disney fare you’re running the Disney Princess Brand, Marvel Studios, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Fox, the world’s most elaborate theme park resorts and much more. It’s the bulk of the world of entertainment, but you get a hand in shaping pop culture itself.
Anyway, following this news I submitted my application to Disney via Twitter, highlighting some of my strongest project concepts:
While I’m waiting for them to accept my offer I want to discuss another initiative. I want to get my hands on the abandoned Disney animated features and punch that green light. There’s some amazing ideas that still have potential. Dust them off, get the animators in. Maybe make it a special collection.
Note: some projects, like Chanticler and Kingdom of the Sun, are certainly interesting but were largely reworked into completed projects and are thus omitted.
This is one I’d be in two minds about, but I’d be driven by curiosity. Sir Terry Pratchett’s long-winding ‘Discworld’ series was a unique brand of fantasy satire and previous attempts to bring it to the screen, while spirited, have been found lacking. We’re certainly not of the view that Disney can provide the magical bolt of lightning needed to bring it to life but we’d be interested to see what happens. ‘Mort’ is likely the best fit to an adaptation, and the characters of Mort, Ysabell, Albert and Death are so charming and well realised that it would be hard to mess it up. The few bits of concept art look good and the excellent Musker and Clements would be at the fore. It was shelved before getting too far due to the dark subject matter and themes of death. On the other hand…Coco.
If your thought Sir Terry Pratchett is an unusually big modern author for Disney to be pursuing, try Roald Dahl on for size. To be fair, ‘The Gremlins’ picture book was commissioned by Disney for the then first time author. Set during the second World War it would involve a group of mischievous green creatures who sabotage British aircraft to protect their forest home, later being trained to repair the planes for the armed forces. One has to wonder if the shelving of this project is the only reason we got Dante’s Gremlins in 1984.
It may have struck you has odd that among the pantheon of classic Disney Animated movies, there’s no definitive full length feature starring their mascot, the iconic Mickey Mouse. Further to that, there’s no feature centred on the trio of Mickey, Donald and Goofy. This would be a fun, pirate themed adventure with the gang getting hold of a treasure map and racing Pete to the riches. This is a fun part of Disney’s history that could well be worth reviving. It’s also the first use of famous ‘dead men tell no tales’ dialogue that appears in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride.
This is a strange one. Intended to be Disney’s first computer animated feature and got a fair distance into production before being shelved for it’s raunchier content and tone. It was about a nightclub promoter seeking out a new star attraction, which comes in the form of a singing elephant suffering from shyness. The film was seeped in 1970’s culture and featured famous figures from the era, such as Andy Warhol. It’s bold art style piques our interest above all else, even if Illumination seems to have outright stolen the shy singing elephant for the tiresome Sing.
ROGER RABBIT TWO: THE TOON PLATOON
This prequel to one of the best films of all time (no, I’m not kidding) would have expanded on the world of Roger Rabbit by dropping him into a war. Beginning with Roger being left on a doorstep and later travelling to Hollywood to seek his family and fortune. He enlists in the army to rescue his future wife Jessica, who has been kidnapped and forced to broadcast Pro-Nazi propaganda. With so little information available it’s hard to determine how successfully this could have been. Steven Spielberg was involved, but understandably soured on the project after making Schindler’s List. Weirder, it would be revealed at the end that Roger’s father was Bugs Bunny.
What happened with this film? It’s possibly the most recent cancelled project, and it appeared to have gone a long way into production. It was finished enough that it enthusiasm was being drummed up at D23 conventions and was featured in a Zootopia gag alongside other future movies Moana and Frozen 2. The project was pushed back time and time again and eventually scrapped. Mostly I just want to know what had them excited before it was unceremoniously dropped.
THE SHADOW KING
If there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s Henry Selick movies. The animated director responsible for A Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline put plenty of work into The Shadow King, spending something in the realm of $50million before the film was dropped. Again utilising stop-motion and a gothic style, The Shadow King was about a boy born with unusually large hands. He eventually learns to use these to create shadow puppet creatures to fight in a battle against evil. It sounds dark and nightmarish and I want it.
One of the more famous entries on this list was to come from Pixar studio. At the peak of Pixar success, this film introduced us to rare blue-footed newts. So rare that there are only two known newts left in the world and scientists are eager to make them a mating pair. Unfortunately the lab animals don’t seem to hit it off and go on an adventure in the wild. It’s not known why the film was cancelled, but it has been suggested that the similarly themed Rio played a hand in the decision.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
Spike Jonzes’ live action adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are is not the adaptation fans of Maurice Sendak’s popular children’s story. Some may have preferred less exploration of how children process emotions and more accuracy to the source. Before leaving Disney to help start Pixar, John Lasseter produced a short test of Where the Wild Things Are feature film featuring hand-drawn animation over CGI backgrounds. It’s a damn good looking test, but Disney baulked at the expected costs. Considering Disney now has all the movie in the world I think they can manage it.
Oscar is a chonky housecat plagued by frayed nerves and anxiety. He’d keep himself safe in his home with his people, but finds himself the victim of mistaken identity. From here we get a tribute to the films of Alfred Hitchcock with a story about kidnapping, detective work and sinister foes. Disney execs at the time complained that people don’t remember Hitchcock’s films, and no-one cares about an “old, fat, dead movie director. I want this movie. Make it happen.
Still waiting for the call from Disney.