16THE PRODUCTION WAS ORIGINALLY CALLED KINGDOM OF THE SUN
In 1994, The Lion King director Roger Allers began production of a classic Disney style musical epic set in the ancient Incan Empire called “Kingdom of the Sun”. The story was originally going to be about an Incan emperor who switches places with a commoner who shares a striking
resemblance. Basically, it was to be an ancient Incan adaptation of Mark Twain’s Prince and the Pauper.
The Emperor meets this doppelganger and decides to switch places with him for funsies. Yzma, the royal sorceress, discovers the switch and turns the real emperor into a llama, while threatening to expose the peasant if he disobeys her.
By 1998, Disney execs were losing faith in the project, especially after the underwhelming box office hauls other dramatic sweeping musicals like Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Allers later left the project and Mark Dindal become the sole director. By 2000, the film had been reworked and partially recast into the buddy comedy we know now as The Emperor’s New Groove.