7 Insanely Bad Ideas That Almost Ruined Classic Characters
There's a good chance your favorite character -- the one that decorated your lunchboxes, school notebooks, and undies -- started out as the worst fucking idea ever. As we've shown you many times before, when writers down a big cup of speedball-sweetened coffee and attempt to dream up an icon, they often churn out creative diarrhea instead.
If not for dozens of drafts and hundreds of red-marker notes from exasperated editors, we would've been left thoroughly baffled and un-entertained, because ...
Indiana Jones Almost Slept With His Students
Everybody loves to joke that Professor Indiana Jones never actually professors, but in a deleted scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, we learned that not only does he go to work, he sets up regular bang dates with his hot young pupils while doing so. Yes, this almost happened, and the only positive we can find about it is that at least his students are legal.
In the scene, fellow archaeologist/professor Marcus Brody goes to find Indy and introduce him to some nice government people who will teach him about the Ark. When he arrives, though, he runs into Susan, a comely co-ed who got there first and is absolutely who Indy prefers to spend his time with:
Indy's the one who should have been called Short Round.
We're not sure what's worse: that Indy gladly risks his career in the name of lady-tail, that he can't remember her name because he's presumably banged so many students, or that his "conferences" are as short-lived as a Peruvian sidekick. We understand this was the '30s and women enjoying sex only mattered to men if it meant she'd cook him a nice stew after, but come on, Indy. Five minutes? You could prolong that to 10 simply by using your whip for foreplay.
Or to 20 by imagining Brody the whole time.
Speaking of Brody, he sticks to his "this is serious" guns, cock-blocking Indy by sending the girl away. So Indy does the responsible thing: reschedules his unsatisfying quickie for later in the day.
Are we sure this isn't Shia LaBeouf's real mother?
Apparently, "brilliant" was Depression-era slang for "lying there while your sexual partner mindlessly pumps away for the length of a commercial break."
Beetlejuice Was Originally A Molester Pop Star
Beetlejuice is a weird movie. It's disturbing enough that Beetlejuice, a centuries-dead demon, tries to marry Lydia (Winona Ryder), a years-alive goth girl who despises him, but at least it's only a marriage of convenience. In an early draft, however, he also wanted Lydia herself and was willing to commit rape by deception in order to get her.
His plan involved disguising himself as something other than a pale, creepy, yellow-eyed ghost: a pale, creepy, yellow-eyed goth-pop star. He transforms into "Danny Death," who conveniently got famous enough overnight to pack a nightclub with enough gothy kids to ensure one would conveniently be Lydia:
Both Springsteen and Satan should resent that last part.
His "demonic Springsteen" shtick clearly works, as he and Lydia then retreat to the bar, where he asks her out. She invites him to a party at her place, where Beetlejuice throws himself on her.
The "If you say his name three times, Beetlejuice will come" rule has taken on a whole new meaning.
Lydia is working overtime to make it clear she's not interested, but Beetlejuice gives not one fuck and takes off his clothes to reveal Kuato from Total Recall, basically.
Beetlejuice is the only movie where the porn parody predates the real thing.
Yep, Beetlejuice attempts to turn the situation into a threesome starring Lydia, himself, and a tiny mutated parasite version of himself. For some reason, the idea of fucking a chestburster doesn't appeal to Lydia, especially since it looks like Michael Keaton. She rushes away, and the whole "Danny Death" bullshit mercifully ends. Anyway, now you know what Tim Burton thinks about when he masturbates.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Was Almost Ace Ventura: People Murderer
Ace Ventura hasn't exactly aged well, what with all its gleeful trans-outing and gay-panic-tongue-scrubbing. And yet, the film that launched Jim Carrey's career (and ass) almost managed to be even more backward. In the original shooting script (and as confirmed by director Tom Shadyac in the film's DVD commentary), Ace tosses a steel hook at two of the villain's goons ... but rather than harmlessly bop them on the head, which you'd expect from a wacky comedy whose funniest joke is that the Dolphins are in the Super Bowl, the hook fucking decapitates them.
Continuity goof: It's clear that there's no God in the Ace Ventura universe.
That in itself isn't too terrible -- accidental beheadings happen to the best of us. What's kind of unsettling is that on the very next line, Ace frantically justifies to himself that he did nothing wrong and that killing two guys with a giant hook was totally in self-defense. This is the same character who got famous by joking that bathrooms smell bad after you poop in them, remember.
"And this is especially understandable if you're a Hollywood screenwriter who ran over a hooker in 1992! Just saying!"
Star Trek: The Next Generation's Commander Troi Was Almost A Four-Breasted Hermaphrodite
If you think George Lucas wound up being a cancer to Star Wars, just be thankful Gene Roddenberry had the many, many handlers he did. Left to his own crazy devices, he would've absolutely ruined Star Trek: The Next Generation, making the prequel trilogy look like Citizen Kane knocked up The Godfather: Part II in comparison.
Roddenberry's vision for TNG was so insane that his early plan to not use a spaceship -- for a show set in space, remember -- is actually one of his least-ridiculous ideas. His most ridiculous? That would be his brain fart of a design for Commander Troi, which, according to Joel Engel's tell-all book Gene Roddenberry: The Myth And The Man Behind Star Trek, included four breasts and two sets of privates.
Her original first name was "Menage-a."
That might be the most detailed, overly specific terrible idea we've ever read. And, naturally, she was oversexed, because Roddenberry was a perv extraordinaire, sci-fi's answer to Russ Meyer. There's no way he'd give a woman four breasts, double her sex parts, and have her sleep alone, ever. This makes that "Wesley Crusher as Not-Yoda" thing seem downright normal, unless Wil Wheaton was supposed to have four boobs too. (Either way, it's an improvement.)
Luckily for fans of Commander Troi not being the worst thing dreamed up by anybody since genocide, long-time Trek writer-editor Dorothy Fontana stepped in and let her boss know how asinine (and downright offensive) his Troi actually was:
"No one complained when I gave Vulcans 10 dicks. Yeah, those aren't fingers."
Roddenberry mercifully listened and made Troi a normal two-breasted woman, but it's sad that Fontana had to remind a grown-ass man that women aren't cows. It's understandable, though, since this is the same guy who once gave a movie actress two belly buttons because Star Trek's censors wouldn't let him show any. He clearly had a tenuous-at-best knowledge of female anatomy, rivaled only by his "We don't need no stinkin' spaceship" knowledge of space.
Frasier Was Originally About A Paralyzed Media Mogul
Frasier is a critically acclaimed, fan-favorite show that wouldn't have happened at all had if its main star got his way. After playing Frasier Crane on Cheers for nine years, Kelsey Grammer was done with the smug little twit and wanted something different. So, when it came time to pitch his own series to Paramount, he went as un-Frasier as he could get without turning the character into a Martian porn star. Grammer wanted to play a super-rich, ultra-eccentric publishing mogul who rode around on a cartoonishly huge motorcycle. Biker Yuppie would get into a bad accident and wind up paralyzed from the waist down, forcing him to a life of bossing people around in bed from his luxury penthouse suite. Basically, he would start as a Malcolm Forbes parody, and then morph into a thinly veiled Hugh Hefner.
Except Hefner has even better reasons for losing all feeling from the waist down.
His physical therapist, by the way, was to be a sassy, Hispanic maid, because in TV land you can't spell minority without S-A-S-S-Y. Everyone was excited about the pitch, until Paramount execs politely told them to fuck off with their idea, along with any other not-Frasier pitch they had brewing in their bottom-line-ignorant brains.
"He's the guy everyone greeted by yelling, 'Norm!' right?"
The president of Paramount's TV division even visited Grammer and straight-up told him his idea wasn't funny, because no joke could possibly be more uproarious than a humongous paycheck. Grammer eventually relented, but insisted the show take place as far away from Boston as possible, so Paramount couldn't force Cheers characters into every episode until the viewers grew sick of weekly reminders that their favorite show didn't exist anymore. Also, he wanted to keep the penthouse, though that was less "creative vision" and more "no shit, who wouldn't?"
So, Frasier moved to Seattle, saw precious few of his old bar buddies, and stayed on the air for 11 years. Add that to the nine years he bar-hopped in Boston and the truth becomes crystal-clear: There is no Kelsey, only Frasier.
Ghostwriter Was Originally A Runaway Slave Murdered During The Civil War
Ghostwriter was a children's TV series starring the most tunnel-visioned apparition in history. Instead of traveling the world to discreetly watch people do it, he would possess pornless early-'90s computers and use the power of phonics to help a handful of pre-teens solve mysteries both petty ("Who stole the backpacks?") and shockingly heavy ("Who's poisoning the town and killing our animals?"). Never once does he explain why he does this, unless you count "Ah'unno" as satisfactory lore.
"Why you? Because it's 1992, and only dweebs use computers."
The introductory "song" doesn't explain much either, with anything resembling an origin story replaced with We don't know where he came from / He just showed up one night, like they expect an orgy of neon and My First Casio-produced proto-beats to distract us from amateur detectives who can't (or won't) solve the mystery of why their dead boss drafted them into a life of dangerous Sherlocking.
As it turns out, the reason for such vagueness was because Ghostwriter's actual origin was just plain depressing. According to writer-producer Kermit Frazier, the original plan was to reveal Ghostwriter as a former slave. Like, an actual, Civil War-era, Roots-esque slave. Unlike many slaves, pre-Ghostwriter could read, so he would sneak off to the woods and teach other slaves to do the same. Eventually, slave catchers learned what he was doing and had their dogs tear him to shreds over it. Somehow, his soul ended up trapped inside his textbook, which was apparently so boring nobody bothered to open it for 125 years. Finally, some middle-schooler did, releasing Ghostwriter and allowing him to teach them word-power through precocious adventures involving drugs, murderous celebrity stalkers, and gang warfare.
That's either his spirit or a century of accumulated mold.
As far as Frazier's concerned, death-by-dog is still Ghostwriter's backstory, but they quashed the idea of revealing it on the show, presumably because holy fuck.
Batman Almost Had Oedipal Urges And Drove A Vagina-Mobile
Just because a character has existed for decades doesn't mean some whacked-out writer can't properly screw them up while pursuing their vision, dammit. Early drafts of Tim Burton's original Batman, for instance, make it crystal-clear that Bruce Wayne has a partial Oedipus complex. He doesn't want to kill his father (a bit late for that, anyway), but the "mommy" aspect is well represented. The setup involves Thomas and Martha Wayne going to an opera called The Bat on the night of their murders. Then they attend a costume ball, where Thomas dresses up as ... a bat, also.
Porn is more subtle than a Burton movie.
Martha, being the only original one in the household, dresses as a fairy queen. Post-ball, Joker murders the Waynes (pissing off all 12 members of the Joe Chill Fan Club), and we're off to the brooding vigilante-making races. The "payoff" to this whole thing was to come when Bruce attends a showing of A Midsummer Night's Dream years later starring Silver St. Cloud, his sidepiece for when Vicki Vale was off on assignment. She's dressed almost exactly like Martha Wayne was at the costume ball, and boy does that make Bruce's little devil dance in the pale moonlight:
So ... does Bruce like St. Cloud only when she's dressed like his mom? Do they roleplay the murder in bed? It's better than making her dress up in a green thong and pixie boots, we guess.
The "make Batman sexy in the unsexiest ways imaginable" tour continued when Joel Schumacher took over for Batman Forever. For whatever reason, he hired H.R. Giger -- the man who gave us both the Xenomorph and sleepless nights where every shadow is suddenly the Xenomorph -- to create a new Batmobile. What he dreamed up is pure Giger, in that Batman is now driving a giant, mutated vagina.
You could ask him to draw a square and it'd still somehow come off looking like genitalia.
Oh, Giger can claim he had scissors in mind, or that the four legs are necessary for the four Gatling guns Bruce suddenly owns, but ... no. That's totally a vagina monster Bruce is supposed to chase Two-Face and The Riddler in. Maybe it's Martha's vagina. He already wants to ride her in one sense, after all.
But all this is nothing compared to Schumacher's indefensibly bonkers idea for the sequel, where Batman and his teenage sidekick would wear skin-tight armor with deep ass cracks, humongous codpieces, and permanently erect nipples. Thank God that never happened.
For more of our favorite movies that were almost our least favorites, check out 7 Wildly Different Versions Of Movies That We Almost Had and 7 Terrible Early Versions Of Great Movies.
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