Pixar is known as one of the most meticulous and artful animation studios in all of Hollywood. They shepherded both the idea of "the secret life of __" as a legitimate film subgenre and computer animation as a whole into the mainstream and have been trying to stay ahead of the curve ever since. 23 years and 19 full-length features later, the number of ideas left on the cutting room floor must be staggering.
This was the first thing that came to mind for me when I saw the trailer for The Incredibles 2. We get yet another scene of hilarious bickering between Samuel L. Jackson's Frozone and his wife Honey, voiced by Kimberly Adair Clark. And just like the last time, we don't physically see her. "She's funnier as a voice," director Brad Bird told Heroic Hollywood. "We actually went through all the trouble of designing a character and the design appears in the movie but not as Frozone's wife. We have used her design and she is a hero but there's not a lot of screen time, though."
In shifting the design over to someone else we'll presumably see in The Incredibles 2, Honey's character was left on the cutting room floor. On top of the fumbling of bringing a Black woman to the monochromatic world of Pixar, I couldn't help wondering about what other ideas Pixar had left on the cutting room floor.
Inside Out was a conceptual home run for Pixar in a filmography full of them: seeing the world through the eyes of a young girl and her five emotions Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear, and Disgust. The movie initially had even more emotions than that, coming out to 27 different emotions with individual names that didn't represent their respective emotion.
Considering how distinctive each of the emotions are already, imagine how hard it would be to keep track of Misty (Sadness), Ira (Anger), and Freddie (Fear) on top of 24 other emotions? I know being a kid is hard, but...jeez.
The humans confined to floating chairs on the giant space station near the end of WALL-E were a blunt commentary on human wastefulness, but it could've almost been even deeper than that. In fact, they were actually the first concept thought up for the movie, and they were even more different. The film was initially about a family of blob aliens who go on a vacation and is bothered by WALL-E, but eventually saw the titular cute little trash robot leading a revolution against a race of alien blob people.
Going from a Vacation riff to an armed insurgency and ending up at Space Capitalism Is Bad is quite the trajectory, but I'm happier knowing that WALL-E was able to be so weighty and still look and feel light as air.
Toy Story is about as iconic as movies from the 1990s get. Everything about the movie, from its characters to its story and even its theme song, is immediately recognizable. But what if it wasn't ever called Toy Story at all? It seems like an easy enough name to pull out of thin air, but Pixar's first big movie went through more than a few name changes over the course of its life.
Can you imagine how far the franchise would've gotten if it were called Toyz In The Hood? Or Hand-Me-Down Hero? Or maybe Don't Move? Because honestly, I don't think I can. I could barely handle the fact that Woody was almost an irredeemably evil cowboy. But I guess that's why they made Kelsey Grammar The Prospector in Toy Story 2.
Going from backwater romance with cars to a spy movie also with cars might feel like a jarring leap, but there's more connective tissue than I realized here. The entire plot of Cars 2 - a sequel focusing on Mater the tow truck as an unwitting spy in Japan during a Grand Prix that Lightning McQueen is racing in - was lifted from a deleted romantic scene in the first movie.
The scene would've involved Lightning and Sally Carrera on a date at a drive-in movie theater (because cars, you see) watching a movie about British spy car Finn McMissle. The drive-in was reconfigured to a cruise instead, but the team revisited the idea when it was sequel time. I guess we can thank the magic of the drive-in for giving us Larry The Cable Truck in a vampire costume.
The first act of Brave ends with Princess Merida sitting through princes competing for her hand in marriage through archery before she decides to shoot for her own hand. The arrow flying through the other arrow is a beauty of slo-mo action bits. This pivotal scene was almost crucially different. The script originally called for haggis instead of bows and arrows. That's right, apparently, the princes (and eventually Merida) were originally supposed to throw haggis at a target instead of shooting it with arrows. Would've been way messier and probably less poignant a moment.
Coco is a celebration of Mexican heritage and tradition the likes of which Disney hasn't tackled before. and they came very close to screwing it up. The film's original title was supposed to be Dia de los Muertos, the holiday that Miguel and his family are celebrating as he crosses over to the Land of The Dead. When production was getting off the ground in 2013, Disney was attempting to take out a patent on the name "Dia de los Muertos," which would, of course, mean that Disney would technically own and make money off of someone else's holiday.
A petition from the Mexican/Mexican-American community put a quick end to that and even convinced director Lee Unkrich to hire "consultants" to help make sure the movie stayed authentic and true to Mexican roots. Don't let anyone tell you that your voice can't make a difference.
Even if the Good Dinosaur is considered one of Pixar's lesser efforts, it's a cute and pleasant watch. The simple "boy and his dog" narrative between dino Arlo and his "human" Spot was originally just one part of a trifecta of stories that kept the film in development hell for a long time. Director Peter Sohn told io9 that the movie originally converged on three different plot points: a father-son story, the whole community of dino Amish farmers, or Arlo's personal story.
Every aspect was either scaled back or scrapped entirely for the story that focused on Arlo and Spot. I know I'm not the only person who's as intrigued by the idea of a dinosaur in a huge sunhat. C'mon, you want it.