5 Bizarre Early Versions of Iconic Characters
Our favorite characters didn't just pop out of their creator's minds fully formed. Sometimes it was a long, nasty, brutal, and gory birthing process. And just like any messy birth, there's usually some stuff left over that's best swept into the trash and forgotten about forever. For example ...
Homer Simpson Was Secretly Krusty the Clown
The Simpsons is set in a bizarre alternate universe where mankind only evolved four fingers, everybody has jaundice, and children love clowns instead of screaming every time they show their gruesome death masks. Like the other kids, Bart worships Krusty the Clown, but he barely tolerates his own oafish father. That's why Creator Matt Groening originally intended to reveal that Krusty was Homer all along, moonlighting as a beloved children's entertainer, while somehow hiding it from his family.
That would explain the heavy drinking.
This wasn't some passing notion -- there's a reason the two characters look almost identical aside from the hair and makeup. It was supposed to be an elaborate joke about Bart and Homer's relationship. Bart thought his boring old dad was lame, when in reality he was a misanthropic were-clown that entertained children all across town.
Whoa, we're seeing double here! Four father figures!
The idea was eventually dropped for being too complicated. It would have stretched believability a tad to show Homer successfully leading a double life as a local celebrity while maintaining a job at a nuclear power plant and also barely being competent and sober enough to tie his own shoes. Not to mention all those early storylines about the family's financial troubles would have lost a bit of punch if Homer was secretly sitting on a wealth of branded Krusty home pregnancy test and imitation gruel royalties.
The Night of the Living Dead Was Originally an Alien Invasion Movie
George Romero invented the zombie genre with 1968's Night of the Living Dead, but he didn't really set out with any goal more innovative than "shoot a horror flick because it beats working in an office." That's why the movie that kicked off the whole zombie craze originally started off as an alien invasion film. The first version of the script was about malevolent extraterrestrials who came to Earth because they liked the taste of human flesh and the Space Arby's was closed.
"Would you like bullets with that?" probably wasn't a line, but should have been.
There was only one problem, or at least only one problem they cared about: money. All of this alien stuff was way beyond their dinky budget, so Romero came up with the ingenious solution of ripping off I Am Legend, and recasting the aliens as flesh-hungry corpses.
Some of which were killed at a sweet toga party, apparently.
With this one little change, Romero completely reinvented the idea of zombies in pop culture, which up until then were rarely seen at all (and when they did show up, they were little more than brainwashed voodoo puppets). Night of the Living Dead influenced everything from the super serious The Walking Dead to the comedic Shaun of the Dead, and it all happened because alien makeup was just too damn pricey.
Gremlins' Gizmo Was Supposed to Be a Vicious Murderer
If a movie character spends the runtime of the film murdering his own children, he's probably the bad guy. The loveable exception is Gizmo from Gremlins, the movie parents show their kids to convince them they don't actually want a pet. But Gizmo has to kill his offspring, because they're like a bunch of evil, murderous reptile teenagers -- and every one of those descriptors is equally terrible.
If they're not ruining some poor family's movie, they're murdering them. You can't win.
But had the writers gone with their original plan, Gizmo would have led the gremlins' reign of terror instead of foiling it. Remember Stripe, the leader of the evil gremlins? In the first draft, he and Gizmo were one and the same.
So it was actually Gizmo having sex with Helena Bonham Carter that whole time.
The whole reason Gizmo was so heart-meltingly cute was to make it as shocking as possible when he turned into a punk rock Boglin. The original film was much, much darker in tone -- Gizmo was going to bounce Billy's mother's decapitated head down the stairs and eat his dog. In fact, the filmmakers modeled Gizmo after the beloved pet dog of producer Steven Spielberg, in order to make the transformation as jarring and hurtful as possible to the film's main benefactor -- a move some described as "bold" and others described as "pants-on-head stupid."
"Don't transform him yet. Wait until Steve sees his adoring reflection in Gizmo's eyes."
The plan fell apart when Spielberg fell in love with the adorable Gizmo, and insisted he remain cute and cuddly. Weird, he didn't like the idea of his childhood pet devouring his mother? So instead of turning into a monster, Gizmo remained Billy's faithful sidekick and eventually became the hero of the film -- or at least as heroic as one can be while engaging in serial infanticide.
Ghostbusters' Gozer Was Almost Pee-Wee Herman
Cracked's Terms & Conditions stipulate that in order to read the site you must view Ghostbusters at least once per calendar year, so you already know what Gozer looks like: a devil-possessed Annie Lennox just out of the bubble bath. But this form wasn't at all how the filmmakers originally pictured Gozer -- no, they initially envisioned something far more terrifying: Pee-wee Herman.
Seriously, the villain was supposed to be played by Paul Reubens dressed in a simple suit, much like his character in Pee-wee's Playhouse.
And he would pet his monster, much like in his improvisational one-man show.
After Reubens turned down the role to focus on Pee-wee's Big Adventure, the filmmakers went in the exact opposite different direction. Gozer became an otherworldly demon played by Yugoslavian model Slavitza Jovan. And that's probably for the best, considering that she looked pretty freaky at the time, but would've had nothing on a murderous Pee-wee Herman summoning a giant killer Chairy to smother Dan Aykroyd.
If the Gozer we got summoned Large Marge, we could have had a legitimate horror movie.
Frozen's Elsa Was Supposed to Be the Villain
Frozen's Elsa was a princess with ice-based superpowers who lived a lonely and fearful life of self-imposed isolation. But everything was set right when her sister taught her the power of love and how to do Sub-Zero's fatality on that punk-ass rock troll.
Why are you even in the movie?
But for most of the film's development process, Elsa was an evil turbo-bitch who wore a coat made out of living weasels. Here's one of her earlier character designs, complete with shoulder pads of sinisterness, spiky hair of horribleness, and cleavage of corruption:
Along with what appears to be elephantiasis of the arms.
The delightfully self-empowering song "Let It Go" was still in the film, but it wasn't a heart-warming ditty about self-acceptance -- it was about a megalomaniac embracing her complete and utter sociopathy through song. Also, Anna's main goal in the film was to save her own life by getting a kiss from (then-hero) Hans, which meant that 2013's most female-empowering movie was almost about how chicks need to get a man at all costs. Of course, this was all much closer in tone to the fairy tale that Frozen was based on, but if Disney always strived for accuracy, The Little Mermaid would have ended in a suicide and a boom in the child therapy industry. Thankfully, the writers listened to the song and began to think about how lonely Elsa must have felt her whole life. Realizing they had the opportunity to add significant emotional depth, they scrapped the entire script and started over.
Tragically depriving us of the potential classic song, "I'm Going to Build a Snowman on Your Goddamn Graves".
One could say they "Let It Go."
We'll see ourselves out.
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Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements. An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move. A young woman from the trailer park and her very smelly cat. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, a new novel about futuristic shit, by David Wong.