Disney has made their name with interesting, dynamic, and adorable characters that gradually improved through their Golden Age in the 1990s. Many of their characters have been beloved by generations of fans.
However, many of their characters never made it to the screen. Dozens of Disney characters have been canceled in development. Many heroes and villains, family and friends were left behind as the stories changed.
Even the most famous Disney movies started out drastically different from the film that was finally released. These earlier drafts included a wide array of characters that never made it to the screen. They were often replaced by the character we now know.
There were still more character-driven stories whose movies never made it out of development. Although some of these canceled characters show up for quick cameos, we will never know their full potentials.
These forgotten characters changed the course of the stories they were in. They aided beloved characters on their journeys. They sided with iconic villains or became their prey. Some even went on incredible adventures of their own. They drove Aladdin’s story, allied with Yzma, aided Belle in her adventure, and went on journeys to magical lands.
Here are the 15 Canceled Disney Characters We Never Got To See.
15. Aladdin’s Mother – Aladdin
In the early stages of Aladdin‘s development, the movie looked very different. This story focused on a younger Aladdin trying to make his mother proud. Aladdin’s mother was disappointed that he was stealing to support the family. She wanted Aladdin to earn money in an honest way.
After failed attempts to make honest money, Aladdin’s mother sends Aladdin to sell her engagement ring, which made Aladdin realize he had not been a good son to her. The rest of the film was similar to the final version with Aladdin pretending to be a prince with the Genie’s help.
However, the climax of the movie came when Aladdin admitted the truth to Jasmine and finally earned his mother’s pride.
14 Breaker – The Little Mermaid
In early drafts of The Little Mermaid, Ariel was accompanied by an adventurous dolphin named Breaker. Breaker was more like the final version of Ariel.
Writer and director John Musker explained, “We got a note in the early development of the script that we had too many characters, so we ended up eliminating that dolphin character and giving some of his personality to Ariel. She became as energetic as the dolphin was.”
Many of Breaker’s lines were given to Ariel, and the timid Flounder was written in place of Breaker. Although Breaker was cut as a character, he reportedly has a cameo in the final movie. During the song “Under the Sea”, a dolphin swims by as Sebastian sings, which is supposed to be a quick appearance by Breaker.
13. Hucua – The Emperor’s New Groove
Back when The Emperor’s New Groove was still a Prince and the Pauper take-off called Kingdom of the Sun, the story featured a talking talisman called Hucua.
Hucua was the emperor’s advisor, but the emperor would not listen to him.
Frustrated by the emperor ignoring him, he decided to ally with Yzma in her plan to summon the god of darkness.
Hucua was meant to be voiced by Harvey Fierstein, who also voiced Yao in Mulan. This talking talisman probably would have fallen into comedic relief sidekick niche, similar to characters like Mushu and Iago.
Hucua was also supposed to have his own song, “Why Can’t a Human Be More Like a Rock”, a My Fair Lady parody song written by Sting himself. Hucua would have been a fun addition to the movie, but he was written out when the story was turned from a drama into a full comedy.
12. Redfeather – Pocahontas
Redfeather was an early character intended to be in Pocahontas. This sarcastic talking turkey was one of Pocahontas’ animal friends. Redfeather was going to be voiced by well-known comedian John Candy. Unfortunately, John Candy died before he was able to provide the voice. Disney preferred to cut the character instead of replacing Candy.
Disney also decided none of the animal sidekicks would talk in this movie, which would have left no need for Redfeather’s humorous commentary. Redfeather’s role was eventually replaced by Meeko.
However, despite his removal from the movie, Disney still included Redfeather in one production. He was shown alongside Meeko and Mushu in Disney’s now-closed Magic of Animation attraction at Hollywood Studios. Despite his removal from the film, this concept art paints a clear picture of what Redfeather would have been like.
11. Puss in Boots
Just as Disney was finishing up production on Beauty and the Beast, it was reported they had an animated version of Puss in Boots in the works.
An adapted story of Puss in Boots was one of Walt Disney’s earliest animated shorts in 1922. The original story of Puss in Boots focuses on a trickster cat who uses deceit to gain wealth and power and help his master marry a princess.
It is unclear how Disney would have adapted Puss in Boots for a feature film.
In the 1922 short, the story was modernized, but it could have been a historical adventure since Puss in Boots is a centuries-old Italian fairy tale.
10. Shakes the Rattle – Toy Story
Toy Story never took Sid torturing various toys lightly, but the sequence involving Shakes the Rattle proved a little too much. While Andy’s toys were all still in Andy’s room watching Sid destroy toys, Buzz talked about teaching him a lesson. At that point, a toy ring was supposed to appear to tell of his experiences with Sid.
According to the toy ring, he once threw a rattle named Shakes over to Sid’s window. He never knew for sure what happened to Shakes, but he heard the screams, and multiple theories of his death were spread around.
However, he says Shakes got off easy because some things in Sid’s room are worse than death. Although Tom Hanks and Tim Allen had already recorded dialogue for the scene, it was cut for being too frightening and uncomfortable.
9. Mheetu and Bhati – The Lion King
The Lion King was another Disney movie that went through drastic changes in development. The original script, titled King of the Jungle, was heavy on characters.
Many characters were cut to save time, but two of the most regretful cuts were Mheetu and Bhati. Mheetu was a lion cub and Nala’s little brother, while Bhati was a bat-eared fox.
They were Nala’s gang– her counterparts to Simba’s Timon and Pumbaa.
Mheetu and Bhati were also supposed to be childhood friends of Simba that grew up with him. Mheetu was innocent with a tendency to get into trouble, and Bhati was Nala’s wisecracking friend.
Long before Pocahontas, Disney almost gave a Native American character a feature film treatment in Hiawatha. In 1937, Disney had made an animated short called Little Hiawatha centering on a Native American boy, and Disney would have considered this a sequel to the popular short.
The feature film would have chronicled the life of the real Hiawatha, a co-founder of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Hiawatha would have been artistically similar to Fantasia with stunning visuals. Even though the movie was canceled before its planned release in 1949, the artwork created for Hiawatha was an inspiration for the makers of Pocahontas, who drew on the canceled movie for ideas about color, character design, and scene composition.
7. Harold the Merman – The Little Mermaid
Harold the Merman’s original role in The Little Mermaid would have demonstrated Ursula’s trickery and ruthlessness before Ariel became entangled with her.
In his cut sequence, Harold approached Ursula to gain spectacular strength to impress the mermaids.
Ursula agreed only if he would bring her a fresh water lily in three days. Three days later, Harold realized he had been tricked because water lilies were out of season, a fact that Ursula did not disclose.
Although he begged for more time, Ursula turned him into a polyp, though he was turned merman again with Ursula’s death. As the runtime of the movie was getting too long, Harold’s sequence was cut.
Despite his removal, Harold remained a favorite of directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who related to the nerdy merman. In the final movie, a polyp with glasses appears in Ursula’s garden, so Harold may have made a short cameo.
6. Music Box – Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast brought all manner of adorable animate objects to life, but the Music Box never got the screen time it deserved. The Music Box speaks only through musical notes, but it was intended to have a large part in the story.
In early drafts of the script, the Music Box belonged to Belle’s mother, and Belle’s father Maurice was going to the market to sell the precious item when he was captured by the Beast. This version of the movie was eventually scrapped.
The Music Box was supposed to stand in for Chip as the cute character. At that time, Chip only had one line, but his voice actor gave such an amazing performance that Chip’s role was expanded. The Music Box does have a small cameo appearance before the fight in the castle.
Sinbad the Sailor was yet another abandoned Disney feature film of the 1990s. The movie would have been an adaptation of the adventures of Sinbad, the fictional sailor from the ancient Arabian Nights tales. Sinbad’s literary counterpart went on seven fantastic voyages to magical lands. Disney’s Sinbad movie was canceled when Aladdin was released.
The Sinbad story was the pet project of studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg. When Katzenberg was forced to resign from Disney in 1994, he became co-founder of DreamWorks animation.
He brought many of his ideas from Disney over to DreamWorks, including Sinbad.
DreamWorks premiered Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas in 2003, but it was a financial failure. Katzenberg decided the failure was because the time had passed for traditional stories using traditional animation.
4. Señorita Cactus – Toy Story 2
Señorita Cactus was a toy intended for Toy Story 2 in its early stages. She was part of Woody’s Roundup Gang along with Bullseye and Pete. Instead of allying with Woody, Señorita Cactus was an antagonist. She did not like children and preferred to be on display.
In the original ending of the movie, Woody was trapped in Al’s trunk as Al prepared to leave for the airport, and Buzz and the gang stole the car to free him. Señorita Cactus and Pete tried to stop them, but fell out and were picked up by children on bikes, making Señorita Cactus’s worst fear come true.
Eventually, the crew decided to replace Señorita Cactus with Jessie, a far more sympathetic character. This change was probably for the better, as Señorita Cactus’ portrayal may have come off as somewhat racist.
3. Nina and Mata – The Emperor’s New Groove
The Emperor’s New Groove is now well-known as an amazing Disney comedy, but it started as a drama called Kingdom of the Sun. In this version of the story, the emperor trades places with an identical peasant boy named Pacha.
Yzma, who is working on her own evil plans, discovers the switch. She turns the real emperor into a llama and blackmails the impersonating peasant.
This script also included two love interests, Nina and Mata.
Nina is the emperor’s fiancé who dislikes him for his arrogance. When Pacha takes the emperor’s place, Nina falls in love with him, thinking that he finally learned humility.
Mata was a sarcastic llama-herder that aided the llama-emperor and kept him in line with her biting wit. The emperor and Mata also fell in love and eventually married. Both characters were cut, as the story turned into a comedy.
2. Clarice – Beauty and the Beast
Clarice was another casualties of the multiple drafts of Beauty and the Beast. Earlier drafts of the story gave Belle a much larger family, including a devoted little sister named Clarice.
Belle was originally supposed to have two evil older sisters who were eventually combined into one evil aunt. Along with the evil aunt, Belle was also given a little sister who the aunt was there to care for.
At this stage in development, the studio chairman ordered a complete rewrite of the story. In rewrites, screenwriter Linda Woolverton removed Clarice. The change was meant to emphasize Belle’s loneliness.
Only Belle’s father was essential for the story. This adorable mini-Belle was still an unfortunate cut, along with her beloved cat Charley. However, since the storyboards of Belle looked very different at that time, Clarice may still have served the purpose of inspiring Belle’s well-known look.
1. Moana’s Brothers – Moana
Although Moana is now known as the only child of the chief, at one point, she originally had nine brothers. These nine brothers sailed away and left Moana behind, but she ended up having to rescue them at sea.
Moana was also the best sailor of the group, but was still overlooked by her father.
Animator Minkyu Lee gave the brothers nine different personalities, which were reflected in how they wore their lavalavas (waist garments).
The brothers were– in order– the leader, the warrior, the artist and dreamer, the lovable big guy, the twins who were in sync, the lady’s man and dancer, the loud and annoying one, and the weird and aloof one. Over time, the number of brothers was cut down, and then the brothers were cut out entirely to focus on Moana.
Can you think of any other Disney characters that were cut? Sound off in the comments!
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