Cancelled Sequels to Disney Classics
During the 1990s and 2000s, Disney released a slew of direct-to-video sequels to their most popular films and some of their less popular films. Critics generally lambasted these movies, but they were popular with small children who wanted to know what happened to their favorite characters after their fairy tale endings.
At the time Disney ceased producing direct-to-video sequels, they had not made a sequel to every one of their animated movies. Here are a few of the Disney sequels that were planned and then cancelled.
Hercules had the potential to spawn a massive Disney franchise. There are more Greek myths than there are stars in the sky, so Walt Disney Pictures could have produced an endless series of episodic adventures based on the works of ancient Greek writers. Sadly, the first Hercules film was a box office disappointment, so there’s not much to the Hercules franchise outside of the film and a short-lived Saturday morning cartoon.
In spite of the film’s box-office performance, Disney still considered making a direct-to-video sequel to Hercules. The proposed film would have seen Hercules and Meg settling down and having a daughter who is kidnapped by Paris of Troy. From what we know about it, the proposed film seems to have been based on the Iliad. Adapting Homer for younger audiences would certainly have been a challenge, but the end result could have been very interesting.
Dumbo is among Walt Disney’s simplest movies, as well as his most charming. Nearly 70 years after its release, Disney considered making Dumbo II. Dumbo II would have revolved around the title character and a group of fellow circus animals being accidentally abandoned in the city and trying to find their way home. It would have essentially been a circus-themed version of The Aristocats or Homeward Bound.
Around the time that the film was announced, John Lasseter, the head of Pixar, became the head of Walt Disney Studios Animation as well. Dumbo is Lasseter’s favorite movie of all time and he hated the idea of anyone making a sequel to it. The project was quickly shelved.
Walt Disney’s Bambi was based on Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Australian novelist Felix Salten. The book was one of the first environmentalist novels ever written, and it was followed by the sequel Bambi’s Children. The sequel focused on Bambi and his mate raising their twins. Walt considered making a film based on Bambi’s Children back in 1944, but it never came to fruition.
Walt Disney Pictures would not get into the business of making sequels for another forty-five years or so. Eventually the studio produced a follow-up to Bambi, but it was not a sequel. Bambi II is actually set during the events of the first film and centers on the title character’s relationship with his father. It has nothing to do with the events of Bambi’s Children, possibly because the studio did not want to pay for the rights to that novel.