Rejected Disney Movies That Sound Absolutely Wild

By:
Deadpool, Bambi

RKO Radio Pictures, 20th Century Fox

The House of Mouse has churned out many an animation over the years — so much so that, at times, they’ve had to cancel projects in favor of others because there’s only so much these guys can do at a time. Unfortunately, this means that we missed out on movies featuring Hitchcockian cats, saucy disco elephants, and an animated Catcher in the Rye but with German Shepherds. Oh, the things that could’ve been.

A Disney Cartoon, A La Studio 54

During Disney’s slump years at the turn of the century, the studio took a risk with a project called Wild Life which centered around a nightclub desperately looking for a new star to put them back in business. A reluctant zoo elephant is headhunted, and after an accident on stage where she gets freaking electrocuted, she somehow transforms into the star equivalent of Marilyn Monroe. Roy Disney, who was the vice chairman of the board back then, was “appalled” at the adult jokes (at one point two gay characters have to venture into the sewers and one of them asks the other, “Have you ever been down a manhole before?”), and wanted to kill the project. After an unsuccessful showing, Disney canned its raunchy story.

A Hitchcockian Fraidy Cat Movie

Disney

During the aughts, Disney was working on an animation that would’ve seen a spoiled house cat get swept up in a kidnapping mystery in a satirical take on Alfred Hitchcock’s film noirs. Which is funny, considering Walt Disney couldn’t stand Hitchcock and his “disgusting” movie Psycho, and wanted nothing to do with the man and his work. Directors John Musker and Ron Clements did a story reel, but the studio ultimately decided that it’d be too difficult to market the movie to the masses.

The Alice In Wonderland Version Where Alice Gets Beheaded

David Hall

Walt Disney originally wanted the 1951 animation to be closer to the book than what we ended up getting. The first draft of the movie included some of the darker artwork of illustrator David Hall, and at one point the Mad Hatter harasses Alice with a large pair of scissors. The Cheshire cat was the stuff of nightmares, and the March Hare ran around with a knife. The ending saw Alice executed by the Queen of Hearts, who has an insatiable desire to chop her off some heads. 

Disney’s Catcher In The Rye (But With German Shepherds)

Little, Brown and Company

Dubbed Dufus on Disney’s project list, the idea was “Catcher in the Rye with German shepherds,” according to Disney executive producer Don Hahn. “Michael (Eisner) loved Catcher in the Rye and he said, ‘We ought to do Catcher in the Rye.’ And we told him the truth, which is (JD) Salinger's never going to do Catcher in the Rye for anybody. And he said, ‘Well, let's just do that kind of story, that kind of growing up, coming of age story.’ So it was that.”

The Shadow King

Disney

Another darker project that would’ve had Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline) at the helm, The Shadow King was supposed to be about a young boy with freakishly long fingers who learns how to make hand shadows … that come alive and cause some kind of Shadow War. Brendan Gleeson and Catherine O'Hara were among the cast, but the movie got canned because reasons.

Jack And The Beanstalk, But In Spain

Disney

The fact that we could’ve seen an animation called Gigantic featuring huge giants in Spain is enough to make us puff at Disney for canceling the project. Also, the main giant would’ve been a girl who thinks Jack is her little pet. Also also, “Storm Giants.” Such lost opportunities.

Terry Pratchett’s Mort

Concept art by Claire Keane

For those who do not know the work of the late, great Terry Pratchett, Mort is the fourth novel in his Discworld series and it follows Death’s apprentice Mort as he learns what it means to swing a scythe. Ron Clements and John Musker (the directors of Aladdin and Treasure Planet) were working on an adaptation for Disney in 2010, but there were issues obtaining the film rights, and the project was axed.

The Roger Rabbit Sequel

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Roger Rabbit II: The Toon Platoon would’ve capitalized on Disney’s WWII propaganda shorts by having the toons fight Nazis while presumably yelling about maggots, but Spielberg (whose company produced Who Framed Roger Rabbit) didn’t think it would look good to follow Schindler’s List with a Disney animation featuring goofy Nazi villains.

Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool-Bambi Disney Crossover

RKO Radio Pictures, 20th Century Fox

Yeah, that is an actual idea Reynolds pitched to Disney. The actor told IGN: “I wanted to do a short film of Deadpool interrogating the hunter who killed Bambi's mom. But the whole gist of it is that Deadpool is actually just a huge fan. He's not interrogating — he just wants to know how he could be the most loathed Disney character in the history of Disney, and of course, Disney was like, ‘Well, I don't think that's ever going to happen.’” Well, boo to that.

Thumbnail: Little, Brown and Company

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