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Ever find an old photo of your parents and been shocked by how ridiculous they looked in their youth? Well, don't be too harsh on their Wham! tribute band days, because even our most beloved fictional characters went through phases in which you'd barely recognize them. Accepting the stupid past is just part of growing up, so let's all come to terms with the fact that at one time ...

8
Groot Talked (About His Dumb Evil Plan)

Disney/Marvel

Before Guardians of the Galaxy fan favorite Groot lost most of his vocabulary and hung out with space raccoons ...

Marvel Comics
"I. Am. Marketable."

... he appeared in Tales to Astonish. There he could speak normally (by comic book standards), manipulate anything made of wood with his mind like a hippie Magneto, absorb wood to increase his size (heh), and could turn trees into loyal albeit wimpy soldiers. Oh, and he's the villain.

Marvel Comics
Master of All Wood is a title that strikes terror in the hearts of men but makes 12-year-olds snigger.

The gist is that he comes to Earth, announces that he's Groot, Monarch of Planet X, and then explains to a bunch of people with hats and guns that he plans on taking their village back to his planet to perform vague and presumably evil experiments on them.

Marvel Comics
"Also, can you help me think of a better name for my planet?"

We don't mean he's going to abduct everyone. He's going to surround the town with trees, use their interconnected roots as a net, then use his telepathic woodpower to propel the town into the depths of space, where we assume everyone would asphyxiate immediately.

Marvel Comics
"Trees are really bad at science."

But every alien invasion has its dumb Achilles' heel, and Groot's insane scheme was foiled by termites.

Marvel Comics
"I also invented something I call 'fire' as a backup!"

This is considered canon, by the way. So hopefully it's not too late to add a flashback to Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

7
E.T. Was Going To Be A Monster That Mutilated Cattle

Universal Pictures

Fresh off a hit in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg found himself beset with requests to make a sequel, because Hollywood's problems are not new. After Close Encounters of the Third Kind 2: Closer Encounters of the Fourth Kind was shot down, Spielberg pitched a dark and gritty follow-up in Night Skies, about a group of alien scientists terrorizing a farmer's family and violently mutilating their livestock like so many kidnapped hitchhikers.

Universal Pictures
Trial #37: Mutilation by flash grenade.

Everyone was enthusiastic except Spielberg himself, who couldn't get in the cattle mutilation mood and wanted to make something more optimistic. Luckily, Harrison Ford's girlfriend, screenwriter Melissa Mathison, was around to tell Spielberg that she thought the best part of Night Skies was the subplot where the family's young son befriends one of the younger, less mutilation-inclined aliens. Spielberg, liking Mathison's vision, asked her to write the first draft of a little film that you now know as ... Schindler's List.

OK, not really. It was E.T. A few ideas from Night Skies made it into the family friendly Reese's Pieces commercial, most notably the squat, bulbous design of the aliens themselves. But while E.T. is cute and cuddly ...

Universal Pictures
Aww.

... the original design was a nightmare-inducing horror.

Rick Baker
Ahh!

Goddamn. We would not share our candy with that. It's amazing how just a few minor alterations can completely change the tone of a design, as evidenced by this full body shot that looks like it's capable of coming to life and stealing our organs.

Rick Baker
Oh God, now there are two of them!

Even the friendly alien looks unnerving, like it could jump from cute to "ripping your goddamn throat out" the moment you committed an intergalactic faux pas.

Rick Baker
"Let's be friends, or else!"

Because Spielberg believes in recycling, and also in making a lot of money, other ideas from Night Skies found their way into other films. Gremlins features one cute and cuddly ally from an otherwise malevolent race of monsters, while Poltergeist keeps the basic concept of a family being terrorized by mysterious forces beyond their understanding. Spielberg even considers the latter to be a companion piece to E.T., with one being about suburban good (friendship, love, peanut butter, and chocolate) and the other being about suburban evil (ghosts, terrible sequels, pointless remakes).

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6
Truman From The Truman Show Threatened To Murder A Baby

Paramount Pictures

The Truman Show as you know it already goes to a few dark places, as any movie about a man whose entire life is secretly a reality show would. But the original script has a couple moments that are far more befitting of the intense psychological breakdown that would realistically occur.

For starters, the setting was originally supposed to be a dour New York City, so there goes your fluffy, cookie-cutter town that looks like something out of The Sims. In one scene, Truman is on the subway with a woman and a couple of teen boys who hit on her before following her off the train and waving a knife in her face. Truman is unable to bring himself to react to the woman's screams for help, and the last thing he sees before the train leaves is a hand going up her skirt. When the trio revert back to being actors, the woman finds it odd that Truman did nothing. One of the "rapists" comments "Physical violence paralyzes him. Always has," which raises the ugly question of how many crimes the producers have tried to traumatize Truman with.

Paramount Pictures
#1172: Jaywalking.

Later, now fully aware that his life is a lie, Truman grabs a random woman's infant from her stroller and repeatedly threatens to bash the terrified tyke's head in on the sidewalk unless she proves she knows who he is. The horrified woman is so conditioned by years of pretending to be a stranger that she's unable to say his name, and it's only when Truman backs down at the last minute that she confirms his suspicions by thanking him.

The lesson is clear: If you're ever feeling like your whole life is a lie, threaten to smash a baby. It really is the only way.

5
Blade Was British And Looked Like A Disco Dancer

New Line Cinema

We're guessing that a good chunk of you didn't even realize that Blade was based on a Marvel character, but you all know the film about a badass vampire hunter who runs around decapitating bloodsucking fiends and scowling at everything like a disappointed father. He even has a nifty set of superpowers thanks to his mom being bitten while he was in the womb, because in the Marvel universe dhampirism is like an STD.

Marvel Comics
Not saying Morbius bit Blade's mom, but dude got around back in the day.

Wesley Snipes was so perfect for the role that we can only assume the production process involved handing him a sword and then following him around to film whatever he got up to. However, the Blade that first appeared in the comics had less of a samurai biker look and more of a Disco Stu meets Austin Powers feel. Blade originally sported an Afro and a colorful outfit more appropriate for hosting a children's game show than fighting the legions of the night. Plus he was British, not American, which is like learning that Iron Man is Canadian or that Captain America hails from Myanmar.

Marvel Comics
"Pip pip, motherfuckers."

Also, that whole thing about having all the strengths of a vampire but none of the drawbacks wasn't in the comics either -- Blade's only power was an immunity to vampire bites. Which, don't get us wrong, is handy for a vampire hunter to have, but given that there are a hundred other ways for a vampire to kill you it's not the most practical tool. But at least he didn't have to worry about vampire hickeys.

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4
Popeye Got His Strength From A Magic Bird

Popeye.com

Popeye hasn't changed a bit in decades. He's a sailor, his catchphrases are oddly existential, and he's stood by his lady love Olive Oyl throughout her long struggle with anorexia. He's so affable that it's easy to forgive his role in one of history's greatest acts of false advertising. If spinach actually gave you super-strength, we think that would have shown up on the label at some point.

Warner Bros. Entertainment
"Side effects include forearm tumors and loss of teeth."

In spite of how ridiculous it is, we're all used to the idea of Popeye getting Herculean strength from a common vegetable. But in the original comics, Popeye's power didn't come from some silly food he ate. No, instead of that nonsense, he got his strength from rubbing the head of a magic bird ... named Bernice.

King Features Syndicate
That looked like this.

In Popeye's first appearance he was a minor character who was quickly gunned down, because 1920s children's comics were hardcore. The writers decided to bring him back after he proved unexpectedly popular, but they couldn't resurrect him without a good reason and "Zombie Popeye" didn't really fit their tone. So obviously their only other option was to introduce Bernice the Whiffle Hen, who could grant anyone who rubbed her head incredible healing powers.

King Features Syndicate
"Ugh, being a comic book villain is such bullshit."

Over time the hard-fighting sailor became the star of the series, and a magic hen no longer cut it as an explanation for why he was able to bench press tanks. And Popeye's been a soulless shill for Big Spinach ever since. On a similar note, involving a character dispensing equally poor diet advice ...

3
The Cookie Monster Was A Terrifying Monster That Worked For IBM

Sesame Workshop

Whether it's a vampire teaching kids how to count or a cranky trash can-dweller showing us the harsh realities of homelessness, Sesame Street is a great substitute for educating your children yourself. But perhaps the most important topic they've ever dealt with is the rigors of cookie addiction.

FOX
He had to do the party scene from Requiem For A Dream to get that jackpot.

While the blue-furred Cookie Monster has been on the show since the first episode, his true origins date back to before the series began. Jim Henson designed the character for a series of IBM training films, although there were a few key differences. He had a mouthful of nasty-looking teeth, green fur that made him look like he'd gotten too close to one of Bruce Banner's experiments, and an appetite for machines.

IBM
"I is for Inedible Electrical Equipment, that's good enough for me."

The films taught viewers how IBM products worked by having the ravenous monster take them apart and eat them piece by piece. It's basically an educational robot snuff film. Henson decided to update the furball when Sesame Street was being made rather than design a new creature from scratch, and that's how we ended up with the monster we all love and blame our diabetes on.

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2
Betty Boop Was A Bitch

Walt Disney

1930 was a tough year for America. The country was facing a depression, and it would be over seven decades before people could look at baby otter videos online to cheer themselves up. But from out of the darkness came a flirtatious, fictional flapper by the name of Betty Boop, whose first role was the girlfriend of the star character with the retroactively unfortunate name, Bimbo.

Paramount Pictures
If there were two things folks in the '30s were sure of, it's that Bimbo's
popularity would never wane and that Germany had learned its lesson.

You'll notice that Bimbo is a member of the canine family. And if you're thinking that meant Ms. Boop had one hell of a kinky side, we're going to have to burst your perverted bubble. Betty Boop was an anthropomorphic poodle.

Paramount Pictures
A pretty hot one, but still.

As Boop's popularity skyrocketed, her creators realized it was a tad uncomfortable that their burgeoning sex symbol was a common pet. And so, to prevent accusations of promoting bestiality and allow fans to jerk off to a cartoon character and not feel weird about it, they gave her a species change. Naturally, that also meant putting an end to Boop and Bimbo's relationship.

Paramount Pictures
It was the most honest "It's not you, it's me" talk in history.

1
Pretty Much Every Character In Game Of Thrones Was Completely Different (As Was The Plot)

HBO

As anyone who's ever reacted angrily to one of its plot twists can tell you, Game of Thrones should have been written differently, and it's total bullshit that Hot Pie isn't sitting on the Iron Throne by now. But be careful what you wish for, as George R.R. Martin's original pitch for his ha, trilogy, is full of differences more palpable than your childhood bedroom before and after college.

Winter Is Coming
Seen here under glass, so as not to be corroded by greasy fanboys' Funyun-dusted fingers.

Five key players in this "generational saga" will "grow from children to adults and change the world and themselves," which sounds like a pitch for a Disney movie and not the dragontits fantasy we all know and love. You'll recognize the names of Tyrion, Daenerys, Arya, Bran and Jon, but the Real World-style love triangle he had originally concocted for three of them will be horrifyingly unfamiliar unless you read the right kind of fan fiction.

HBO
Or have us read it for you.

Arya and her half brother Jon fall in love, and "their passion will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the trilogy," which is a serious deviation in that the thought of people actually hesitating to commit incest in Westeros is shocking. To further complicate matters, Tyrion falls for Ayra as well. We're going to guess/hope that their ages were originally different.

In another abandoned plot point Tyrion besieges and burns Winterfell to the ground, which probably would have complicated his attempts to mack on Arya. Sansa bears turbo-villain Joffrey a son and sides with the two of them in the war, only to somehow "bitterly rue" the decision to abandon her loving family for evil incarnate. Meanwhile, Daenerys was going to murder her beau Khal Drogo to avenge her douchey brother, and Jamie was going to murder his dad and blame it all on Tyrion, because somehow Martin's original vision had families that were even more dysfunctional.

HBO
Although Uncle Walder is great at weddings.

All of this actually gives an interesting insight into the mind of an author; while fans think of every single word as sacred canon, to the writer these characters, plots, and scenes are like Legos that can be combined in any number of ways, depending on how said author is feeling that day. "I find that if I know exactly where a book is going, I lose all interest in writing it," said Martin. That right there is a statement that has since proven itself true several times over.

Vicki Veritas is another famous character that you should probably be following on Twitter.

Lots of our favorite characters had unusual origins. Check out 5 Insane Early Drafts of Famous Movie Characters and learn about Indiana Jones' pedophilia beginnings. Or check out the insanity we almost got in Gladiator in 7 Terrible Early Versions of Great Movies.

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