Disney Movie Ideas That Never Made It to Screen

Something tied to almost everyone’s childhood are Disney movies. These classic films have made generations of us laugh, cry, and believe in magic. There are some Disney ideas, though, that never got the chance to evoke those same type of emotions and memories.

Here’s a look at some would-be Disney movies that never made it to theaters and why they got the ax.

Louis the Bear

Louis Prima
The character was named for Louis Prima, who would have provided the voice. | Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Love the Jungle Book and King Louie’s distinct voice courtesy of Louis PrimaWell, then you might be sad to learn that at one point Disney was going to make a whole movie titled Louis the Bear, with Prima voicing the main character. The idea for the film was about a bear who escaped from a zoo, thanks to the aid of two brave mice.

Unfortunately, the film never came to be after Walt Disney passed away and Prima was diagnosed with a brain tumor. But if the whole mice thing sounds familiar, that’s because it ended up becoming the premise for The Rescuers instead.

Next: Fans of the first two films will be disappointed about this canceled film. 

Tron: Ascension (Tron III)

Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde in Tron: Legacy
Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde in Tron: Legacy | Walt Disney Pictures

Apparently, Disney axed a movie that Tron fans wanted to see. The project was rumored to be titled Tron: Ascension, and director Joseph Kosinski even made some media rounds to discuss it.

Actors Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund were both said to be on board to reprise their roles, and there was also talk that Jared Leto was set to join the cast. However, Disney canceled the third installment in 2015. But rumors still continue to swirl today that it will get the green light eventually, and Tron fans everywhere remain hopeful.

Next: This movie wasn’t going to be about Gismo. 

The Gremlins 

Roald Dahl's The Gremlins
Roald Dahl’s The Gremlins | Walt Disney Company

Not to be confused with the 1984 flick, this film wasn’t about strange creatures that you couldn’t feed after midnight. The Gremlins project, which Disney had screenplays for, was based on Roald Dahl’s 1943 book of the same name.

The company ditched the movie idea though after releasing a promotional book for the planned film, but there are a few thousand of them in print today.

Next: Disney had this idea before the character showed up on ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

Uncle Stiltskin

Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a Time
Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a Time | ABC

Before Once Upon A Time introduced fans to Robert Carlyle’s character Rumpelstiltskin, Disney had planned to do a film called Uncle Stiltskin. The movie would have featured the main character ready to kidnap another child as he longs to be a father. However, in true Disney fashion, he ends up learning what the true meaning of family is.

Disney shelved the plans for the project in 2003 and hasn’t revisited it since.

Next: This Disney Pixar concept never happened.


Disney/Pixar's Newt
Disney Pixar’s Newt | Walt Disney Pictures

In 2008, Disney and Pixar were supposed to release a film called Newt. The movie was about the last two newts on the planet, who really did not like each other but were brought together by scientists to help save their entire species.

While the movie seemed like a pretty good idea, all plans for production were canceled. Many believe the reason was because of the release of Rio, which was a tale about the last remaining blue Spix Macaws on Earth who are forced together to save their species.

Next: Was this movie supposed to be Fantasia 2?


Scene from Fantasia
Fantasia was the first movie of its kind, and Musicana would have echoed that. | Walt Disney Pictures

Musicana was a would-be Disney picture meant to be a follow-up of sorts to Fantasia that would feature a mix of jazz, classical music, myths, and modern art. Instead, the film got canned.

The reason? The company did away with the idea when it decided to put more resources into Mickey’s Christmas Carolwhich went on to become another great Disney take on a classic story.

Next: Disney wanted its own version of this hugely popular film. 

The Rainbow Road to Oz

The Wizard of Oz
This would have been Disney’s interpretation of The Wizard of Oz | MGM

The name alone reminds us all of one of the most famous movies ever made. The Wizard of Oz had it all, from innocent protagonists to witches to munchkins to wizards. So it’s no surprise Disney wanted to make its own version of the film in the ’50s.

However, The Rainbow Road to Oz did not happen, and no one is really sure why, especially since Disney heavily promoted it on TV.

Maybe some of these ideas will still come to fruition one day.

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

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