Top 10 Disney Movies That Were Never Made



Top 10 Disney Movies That Were Never Made

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
These projects were in the works but were unfortunately cancelled before they saw the light of day. That's not to say that we've forgotten about them! If you're a true Disney fan you may have heard of these projects:The Search for Mickey Mouse, Yellow Submarine, Fraidy Cat, The Gremlins, Darkwing Duck: The Movie, Dumbo II, Newt and Roger Rabbit: The Toon Platoon.


Top 10 Cancelled Disney Projects

Some dreams never come true, even when you wish upon a star. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cancelled Disney Projects.
For this list, we’re taking a look at Disney projects that were going to be made, but got scrapped entirely. We’ve excluded projects that evolved into other things, as well as movies that other studios got to first. We’re also leaving out short subjects, like the cancelled “Princess Academy.”

#10: “DuckTales” film series

“DuckTales” remains one of the most creative, action-packed, adventures Disney ever released on the small screen. So it only seemed natural to bring Scrooge McDuck and his nephews to the big screen. While “DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp” has gained something of a cult following in the early 21st century, it was intended as the launching point for a “DuckTales” film series. Upon release however, the film didn’t exactly leave Disney swimming in gold coins. Since the first movie was generally viewed as a box office disappointment, future installments were scrapped. We might not have gotten a film franchise, but at least “DuckTales” will live on through its 2017 television reboot.

#9: “The Gremlins”

To be clear, this has no relation to the 1984 horror comedy, “Gremlins.” Rather, in the 1940s, Disney wanted to adapt a story by Roald Dahl entitled, “The Gremlins”, which followed a group of mischievous beings that tear apart British planes, eventually teaming up with the Royal Air Force to take down Hitler. Disney published “The Gremlins” as a promotional children’s book, but the film itself failed to launch. Copyright issues seemingly killed the project. Although… it likely didn’t help that Warner Bros. released a similar cartoon entitled, “Falling Hare” around the same time. Nevertheless, the Gremlins have popped up in other media, including the “Epic Mickey” video games.

#8: “Darkwing Duck: The Movie”

“DuckTales” wasn’t the only Disney Afternoon show intended to receive the silver screen treatment. There was also talk of a feature film about the terror that flaps in the night, aka Darkwing Duck. This project certainly would’ve invited plenty of fun ideas. Just imagine Darkwing, Gosalyn, and Launchpad going up against the Fearsome Five in the ultimate battle of good vs. evil. Since “DuckTales: The Movie” didn’t rake in big bucks, though, any hope for “Darkwing Duck: The Movie” was quickly erased. Of course now that superhero movies are all the rage and Disney owns Marvel, we’d give anything to see Darkwing join forces with the Avengers or the “Big Hero 6” team.

#7: “Fraidy Cat”

Ron Clements and John Musker cemented their place in history after directing “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin.” In 2004, they were set to direct the computer-animated feature, “Fraidy Cat.” Satirizing Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, the story followed a housecat who’s wrongfully accused of a crime. Think “The 39 Steps” meets “Nine Lives.” Alas, the setup was deemed too obscure and David Stainton, who was president of Walt Disney Feature Animation at the time, pulled the plug. Clements and Musker subsequently resigned from Disney in 2005, but CCO John Lasseter welcomed them back the following year. They went on to direct “The Princess and the Frog” and “Moana,” but it appears “Fraidy Cat” is dead and buried.

#6: “Hiawatha”

This film would’ve centered on the Native American leader who co-founded the Iroquois Confederacy. Hiawatha was also a follower of The Great Peacemaker, a spiritual leader who helped bring the Iroquois peoples together. On an artistic level, the movie would’ve taken a page from “Fantasia.” Instead of several segments, though, there’d only be one storyline. Of course “Fantasia” wasn’t the biggest hit upon release, making “Hiawatha” a risky venture. Originally scheduled to come out in 1949, the project slipped through the cracks as Disney shifted focus to stories like “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Peter Pan.” The studio would explore Native American culture over 40 years later in 1995’s “Pocahontas.”

#5: “Yellow Submarine”

Like many other motion capture animated features, Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” generally split people down the middle. Still, the 2009 film was a relative box office success, giving ImageMovers Digital some breathing room. One of the projects they had lined up was a remake of the 1968 animated musical, “Yellow Submarine.” With director Robert Zemeckis at the helm, this 3-D computer animated feature would’ve included 16 Beatles songs and a promising cast. Cary Elwes as George Harrison? Yes, please! Alas, Disney cancelled all the projects they’d been developing with ImageMovers Digital following the box office disaster, “Mars Needs Moms.” With everyone abandoning ship, “Yellow Submarine” was left dead in the water. What else can be said except: “Hello, Goodbye.”

#4: “Dumbo II”

Throughout the mid-90s and early 2000s, Disney released numerous sequels to their animated classics, many of which were sent straight to home video. One sequel that never quite took flight was “Dumbo II.” The story was to follow the titular elephant and several circus friends as they get lost in the big city. The film would’ve introduced new characters while also providing details about Dumbo’s father. A preview of the planned sequel was even featured on the original film’s 60th Anniversary DVD. In 2006, however, John Lasseter was appointed as Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer, and he officially ceased production on “Dumbo II.”

#3: “Newt”

Sometimes great minds think alike. With Oscar-winner Gary Rydstrom directing, this proposed Pixar film told the story of a couple of blue-footed newts. One’s male, the other’s female, and they’re both the last of their kind. To save the species, they must overcome their differences and bond. Now we know what you’re thinking: isn’t that a lot like Blue Sky’s 2011 animated feature, “Rio?” Well… yeah, and it didn’t take long for Pixar to notice the similarities. Granted, this wasn’t first time a Pixar project drew comparison to a rival animation studio. Remember when “A Bug’s Life” and DreamWorks’ “Antz” came out the exact same year? Regardless, Pixar apparently felt is was best to cancel “Newt.”

#2: “Roger Rabbit: The Toon Platoon”

We haven’t gotten a follow-up to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” but people have certainly tried. In fact, Disney once had a prequel in the works called “Roger Rabbit: The Toon Platoon.” Set in 1941, the movie was going to show how Roger met his future wife, Jessica. He would also go looking for his parents, revealing that his father was Bugs Bunny. Eventually retitled “Who Discovered Roger Rabbit,” the project and its comedic depiction of Nazis, caused Spielberg to walk. Then, the test footage performed poorly. Since then, there have been various attempts to rework the story and get the film greenlit. Yet, we still find ourselves asking, “Where is Roger Rabbit?”

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Bambi's Children”

“Hootsie the Owl”

“Peter Rabbit”

#1: “The Search for Mickey Mouse”

To commemorate Mickey Mouse’s 75th birthday, Disney planned to develop an ambitious movie crossover. After Mickey is mouse-napped, Minnie hires Basil of Baker Street to track him down and set out on a search. Along the way, they cross paths with Alice, Aladdin, Peter Pan, and numerous other Disney icons. The film was ultimately considered too gimmicky and complex, however, and Disney decided to produce the straight-to-video “Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers” instead. Of course if you think about it, the premise has a fair amount in common with the video game, “Kingdom Hearts”... and no one calls that franchise gimmicky. So make it happen, Disney!