Top 10 Disney & Pixar Plot Lines That Almost Happened

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Well, that would've been different! Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 Disney and Pixar Plotlines That Almost Happened. For this list, we'll be going over the scrapped storylines and plot points that were part of development for Disney and Pixar animated films, but that didn't quite make the cut or were removed entirely.

Top 10 Disney and Pixar Plotlines That Almost Happened

Well, that would’ve been different! Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Disney and Pixar Plotlines That Almost Happened.

For this list, we’ll be going over the scrapped storylines and plot points that were part of development for Disney and Pixar animated films, but that didn’t quite make the cut or were removed entirely.

#10: Aladdin’s Mom
“Aladdin” (1992)

One of the more defining characteristics of Aladdin is that he’s a thief and an orphan. However, the latter was nearly not true, as he was originally intended to have a mother, unlike most Disney characters. The unnamed mother would have disapproved of her son’s lifestyle, while providing for her and making her proud of him would have added another layer to Aladdin. Parts of the character’s role can be found in the Broadway musical version of the story, including a song originally written for the film, so we do get some glimpse of what her contribution to the film could’ve been.

#9: Wild Times
“Zootopia” (2016)

While “Zootopia” generally follows Judy Hopps’ story in the eponymous city, the film was originally more focused on supporting protagonist Nick Wilde. The story would have featured the predators of Zootopia forced to wear shock collars to prevent them from eating prey animals and Nick coming up with the idea to create a place where he and his fellow carnivores could be free, in the form of an amusement park named “Wild Times.” While the decision to focus on Judy instead arguably gave the movie a more optimistic tone, we still would’ve loved to have seen more focus on Nick with this storyline.

#8: Modern Day Rapunzel
“Tangled” (2010)

One of the defining aspects of the story of Rapunzel is the setting and her being trapped in a tower. However, at one point, “Tangled” was to be called “Rapunzel Unbraided,” and would have featured a Rapunzel-like character from modern day being transported to a fairy tale world, in a kind of inverted version of “Enchanted.” Unsurprisingly, the folks behind the scenes had trouble making it work and got “tangled” in the logistics, but we’d still be curious to see what that story could’ve been like.

#7: Up, Up, in a Different Way
“Up” (2009)

Sometimes the ideas that spark movies are vastly different from the stories they end up as. One such case is “Up,” where the original idea didn’t focus on Carl Fredricksen or any of the other characters seen in the film. Actually, it didn’t even take place on Earth. The first idea for the movie would have focused on two princes from a floating alien city fighting over their inheritance and coming to understand one another while going on an adventure. As much as we love the version of the story that made it to screen, this does sound very intriguing.

#6: Sequel Instead
“Monsters University” (2013)

The original “Monsters, Inc.” almost had a very different story, focusing on an adult human protagonist facing his childhood fears as monsters. Meanwhile, when Pixar returned to Monstropolis years later, they almost went forward rather than backwards. “Monsters University” was nearly a sequel entitled “Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost in Scaradise,” which would have followed Mike and Sulley into the human world as they try to reunite with Boo after she moves. While “Monsters University” is fine, this scrapped story idea sounds like it had great potential and we’d love for Pixar to revisit it someday.

#5: Arranged Marriage
“Mulan” (1998)

The title character of Mulan chafes under the assigned roles that society and her family push her towards in the film, but both she and those expectations almost went a step further. One deleted scene featured the revelation that Shang, Mulan’s eventual commanding officer and love interest in the army, was set to be her husband as part of an arranged marriage. This, rather than the possibility of her father dying, was to have been Mulan’s motivation to join the military. While parts of the scene are rather good, ultimately, Mulan’s motivations in the finished film are more selfless and heroic.

#4: Foster Dad Scar
“The Lion King” (1994)

After Scar murders his father, Simba is raised by Timon and Pumbaa with a worry-free lifestyle. However, the young lion almost had a very different surrogate father. One early draft saw Scar try to kill Simba too, even taking his nephew by the neck in his mouth. Yet, this action is misinterpreted by his new subjects, who believe he saved the young cub, leading Scar to take the throne and raise Simba himself as a reluctant parent. While not as ripe for comedy as the excellent double act of Timon and Pumbaa, Scar as a father and trying to hide his evilness from Simba could have been compelling as well.

#3: Elsa’s Frozen Heart
“Frozen” (2013)

“Frozen” deviates from the story it’s based on, “The Snow Queen,” in a number of ways and the film originally bore more resemblance to it in earlier drafts. Besides the fact that Anna and Elsa were not sisters , the latter was originally envisioned as the main antagonist, although not a straight up villain; with Hans still fulfilling that role. Elsa would have been more flamboyant and theatrical, which is appropriate given that she was inspired by Bette Midler and envisioned with Megan Mullally in mind, and possessing a heartless attitude after freezing her own heart, which she did to herself after being left at the altar.

#2: Woody Was the Bad Guy
“Toy Story” (1995)

You’ve got an enemy in me? Woody the cowboy doll is a beloved character, even if he can come across as jealous and a bit of a jerk in the first “Toy Story” film. But he was almost a full-blown villain! Early concepts for the character featured him as a sarcastic and mean ventriloquist’s dummy, who the other toys rebel against, not out of a misunderstanding as in the finished film, but because he’s so cruel! Woody as the bad guy would’ve completely altered the direction of the franchise and we’re thankful it didn’t go that way, because we’re pretty sure we ended up with the better Woody.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Señorita Cactus
“Toy Story 2” (1999)

More Emotional
“Inside Out” (2015)

Old Man Abu
“Aladdin” (1992)

#1: ‘Kingdom of the Sun’
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

Most of our previous entries were concepts that were weeded out fairly early on, but “The Emperor’s New Groove” was almost an entirely different film and was changed fairly late in the process of production. Originally called “Kingdom of the Sun,” the story would have been a more traditional Disney musical with songs by Sting, instead of the quirky comedy it became, acting as an Incan version of “The Prince and the Pauper.” While Sting put a lot of effort into “Kingdom of the Sun,” we’re thankful that we got the hilarious cult hit in the end.