Disney movies played a fond role in many of our childhoods. In fact, you may find yourself re-watching many of these animated classics when you’re in the desperate need for a shot of nostalgia — or when you’re simply killing time waiting for the next Pixar movie to hit theaters.
In 1937, Disney released its first animated feature with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and it’s astounding how consistent the quality of its children’s movies has held up over the last 80 years.
With Snow White, Disney also began a long-standing tradition of adapting a dark fairy tale and lightening the tone for younger audiences. As a result, many original story ideas and darker scenes often end up on the cutting room floor.
Because Disney is a master of turning out near-flawless films, they usually don’t end up fully animating any scene that they know isn’t going to make it into the final cut. Therefore, many of these deleted scenes never made it past the script or storyboarding process before they were given the ax. Though in a few rare cases, completed scenes have been abandoned and lost over the years.
Here are 15 Deleted Disney Scenes We’ll Never Get To See.
15. The Lion King — Scar’s flaming fate
Like so many Disney movies, The Lion King’s source material was far darker than the movie it ultimately inspired. In this case, Shakespeare’s tragic play Hamlet served as a template for the story, which meant that a number of original ideas had to be seriously toned down for the G-rated film.
These moments often involved the villain Scar. In one abandoned scene, he tries to force himself onto Nala while singing a super creepy rendition of “Be Prepared”.
There was even an alternate ending that involved Scar defeating Simba following their battle on Pride Rock.
However, after Scar throws Simba from the ledge, the villain is so enthralled by his victory he doesn’t even notice that the wildfires are slowly consuming him.
Of course, this was replaced with a more subtle ending, which only alludes to Scar’s death taking place at the hands of his once-loyal hyenas.
14. Frozen — Evil Elsa
At this point, most diehard Disney fans already know that the character of Elsa from 2013’s Frozen was originally conceived to be the story’s villain. While Elsa was eventually rewritten to be far more sympathetic, a number of scenes that displayed the character’s darker roots still made it to the film’s storyboarding process.
One of the most noteworthy scenes involved Elsa trying to obtain information about her sister’s whereabouts, which prompts the outcasted queen to use her icy powers when interrogating a couple of Arendelle soldiers.
While the storyboards aren’t particularly graphic, they do promote the idea that torture is an effective way to yield faster results — which is not the kind of message that you want to broadcast in a children’s movie.
13. Toy Story — The Black Friday Reel
The first film ever produced by Pixar, Toy Story was a game-changer when it came to feature animation. However, early versions of the story had a much darker tone, which could have resulted in the film being a flop if not for these heavy revisions.
The character of Woody was originally conceived to be far more cynical.
He would do anything in his power to remain Andy’s favorite toy. In an early storyboard, Woody even goes so far as to try and kill Buzz by throwing him out the window. W hen the other toys protest, Woody warns them that they may meet the same fate if they don’t fall in line.
This lead to a disastrous test screening — later referred to as the Black Friday reel — and Toy Story had to be massively reworked before animation was allowed to proceed.
12. The Little Mermaid — Alternative ending
Even if movie-goers have been thoroughly entertained for the first hour of a film, they aren’t very forgiving if the movie fails to deliver in the last ten minutes.
The makers of 1989’s The Little Mermaid clearly worried about this when it came to the third act of their story, and therefore, they decided to up the ante for the final battle between Ursula and Prince Eric.
Originally, Ursula’s size only increased slightly after she obtained the king’s trident.
This reportedly made Prince Eric look like a bit of a weakling while struggling to defeat her before he’s finally able to cast the trident into the evil octopus.
For the final animation, the filmmakers decided to transform Ursula into a monstrous beast. This required Eric to use the entire bow of a ship to impale the queen — making for a much more impressive victory.
11. Beauty and the Beast — 11-minute song “Human Again”
Being the first animated feature to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, Beauty and the Beast is a near-flawless film that features some of the most memorable musical numbers in any Disney movie.
There was one song that didn’t end up making the final cut, despite protests from the filmmakers.
The song “Human Again” was originally conceived to be an 11-minute musical montage that would have taken place near the halfway point of the film. The waltz is sung by the enchanted objects, who dream about being transformed back into their former selves as soon as the curse is broken.
With it being nearly twice as long as any other song in the film, “Human Again” was eventually scrapped due to pacing issues. Nevertheless, a heavily edited version of the song did eventually make it into the 2002 release of the film.
10. Lilo and Stich — Stitch vs Lilo’s friend
It’s fairly well known that the ending of Lilo & Stitch was heavily reworked following the September 11 attacks. It originally featured Stitch hijacking an airplane to rescue Lilo before it was swapped out for an alien spacecraft.
There were a number of other deleted scenes that painted Stich in a far less desirable light.
One of these moments involved Lilo introducing Stitch to her friend, Pudge the Fish. But instead of greeting Pudge with a friendly kiss, Stitch decides to throw the fish to the ground, resulting in the animal’s death.
What makes the scene much worse is that even when Lilo is crying out for help to save Pudge, Stitch actually sits back and has himself a good chuckle. This probably wouldn’t have gone over very well with the majority of parents in the audience.
9. Zootopia — Shock Collars
Released in 2016 to critical acclaim and a box office gross over a billion dollars, Zootopia manages to tackle the complex issues of racism and discrimination by highlighting the unlikely partnership between a fox con artist and a rabbit police officer.
However, there was one concept that the filmmakers wisely chose to abandon so the story wouldn’t be overly upsetting to younger viewers.
Many of these scenes that never made it passed storyboarding or rough animation involved the idea of a shock collar — which predator animals were required to wear to live in Zootopia. These collars were designed to zap the animal whenever they got too excited or upset, which ultimately leads to Nick Wilde becoming severely depressed.
At the advice a number of Pixar employees, the shock collars were removed from the final story and replaced with less overt forms of prejudice.
8. Cars — Graveyard of cars
While most Pixar movies can be enjoyed by both children and adults, the Cars films are specifically aimed at much younger viewers.
It’s a good thing that this slightly darker scene never made it past the storyboards.
The moment in question comes when Lightning McQueen gets lost trying to find his way back to the Interstate, only to stumble upon a graveyard full of cars. Dead tree branches are growing out a number of the abandoned vehicles, which seem to come to life, closing in on McQueen as he attempts to escape.
Of course, the scene wouldn’t frighten an adult in the slightest, but to younger viewers, the cars in the film are tantamount to people. When you consider that Cars has sold more merchandise than any other Disney movie, we’re sure the studio has no regrets over the deletion of this darker scene.
7. Robin Hood — Darker Ending
For their 1973 adaptation of the English folklore, Disney decided to wrap up Robin Hood by letting the eponymous hero escape unscathed despite coming under a barrage of arrow fire.
In an alternate version of the ending, Robin is struck by one of the arrows and rushed to the care of Maid Marian.
While recovering from his wounds, Prince John enters the church and offers to put the hero out of his misery while Robin’s unconscious. Marian stands her ground, only to have King Richard arrive and put Prince John in his place.
While this ending may be a bit on the darker side, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 52%, this alternative ending may have actually been a more interesting way to tie things up.
6. Pinocchio — Geppetto almost eats his pet
Unless you grew up watching these Disney classics, there’s something about old cartoons that can give you the creeps — and Pinocchio is no exception.
For a children’s film, Pinocchio features its fair share of illicit behavior, including smoking, drinking, gambling, and vandalism. Oon top of all of this, the filmmakers almost included a scene where Geppetto fantasizes about eating his own pet.
The moment comes after Geppetto and his cat Figaro are struggling to survive in the belly of a giant whale, and they can’t help but develop a hankering for their pet fish, Cleo.
Although Geppetto ultimately decided against eating his friend, the scene was still cut from the final film — though we can’t say it would have felt out of place with the rest of this story.
5. Mulan — Shan Yu kills his own soldier
Released in 1998, Mulan is based on the true story of a young Chinese woman who impersonates a man so she can take up arms against the invading Huns.
The film’s primary antagonist, Shan Yu, was originally going to play a bigger role in the movie in which he would have been made into more of a mystical character who is able to see through his falcon’s eyes.
One deleted scene involved Shan Yu ordering his men to burn a village to the ground. But when the ruthless leader’s falcon spots one of his own soldiers acting merciful, Shan Yu stabs the man in the stomach, instantly killing him.
Although the scene is definitely on the shocking side — especially for a G-rated film — it was ultimately cut to give Mulan more screen time rather than preoccupying the story with the film’s antagonist.
4. Tarzan — Violent opening
At this point, it should be fairly obvious that many scenes are deleted from Disney movies because they would be far too upsetting for younger viewers.
In the case of Tarzan, the film’s opening, which features a young couple becoming shipwrecked on an island with their infant son, is already intense enough. Here, we’re also introduced to Kala, a female gorilla who loses her child to a leopard — the same one that kills the young couple shortly thereafter.
However, an unused storyboard from the film shows the leopard attack in far more gruesome detail, which might have been too intense for some viewers at such an early stage in the film.
In this alternate scene, it’s alluded that the wife has already passed away, while the husband fails to defend himself with a rifle and is ultimately killed by the predator.
3. Dumbo — The Mouse’s Tale
It was long believed that Dumbo underwent little to no changes between the script and its 1941 release. However, when researching extras for the special edition release of the film, a number of pictures were discovered that correlated to an unused sequence from the script.
Known as “The Mouse’s Tail,” this scene involved Timothy Mouse explaining the mysterious origins of mice and elephants to Dumbo. Because Dumbo isn’t afraid of mice, Timothy believes that the elephant simply hasn’t been educated enough to understand his own fears. Thus, Timothy unspools a lengthy tale about a pre-historic time when mice were a hundred times bigger than today’s biggest elephant.
While the deleted scene seems like it would have been a whimsical addition to the story, for whatever reason, the filmmakers decided to give it the ax.
2. The Black Cauldron — Cauldron Born Scenes
The Black Cauldron is notoriously one of Disney’s darker animated films, which even resulted in a number of children fleeing the theater during one of the original test screenings.
These scenes — which were later deemed too frightening for the final cut — often involved the Cauldron Born, an army of evil undead who have literally had the flesh melted off their bodies.
Scenes of the Cauldron Born slicing through the bodies and necks of their victims were completely removed from the film, and when it was all said and done, a total of 12 minutes was trimmed from the final cut.
At that time, The Black Cauldron was the most expensive animated movie ever produced, which nearly bankrupted Disney Featured Animation when the movie proved to be a massive box office bomb.
1. Bambi — Bambi’s mom’s body
Easily one of the most tragic moments in any children’s film, the opening of Bambi was the first kid’s movie to introduce children to the concept of a parent’s death — which has since become a staple in Disney storytelling.
This depressing scene was actually conceived to be longer and more gratuitous.
Instead of having Bambi simply hear the gunshot and slowly realize that his mother had been killed by a hunter, the fawn was originally going to stumble upon his mother’s impression in the snow, only to see the hunter dragging away the lifeless body.
While this is certainly more visually graphic, it actually does offer more closure. By not seeing the mother’s dead body, the viewer is forced to come to terms with the death in their own time, which is undoubtedly why Bambi has endured as a landmark film for over 75 years.
Do you think any of these deleted scenes should have been kept in their movies? Let us know!
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