1. The Emperor’s New Groove
The Emperor’s New Groove is so irreverent and zany that it sometimes feels out of place with other Disney movies. But that’s partially because for many years, it was going to be an epic musical romance on the level of The Little Mermaid. The movie’s first title was Kingdom of the Sun, and it was going to be a take on The Prince and the Pauper set in the Incan age — and Kuzco was a supporting character. Sting even wrote eight original songs for the movie (including this Eartha Kitt gem) tied to the main characters, who were going to be voiced by Owen Wilson and Laura Prepon. After Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame underperformed, Disney decided to make a funny movie, not a sweeping tale, and the Kingdom of the Sun concept was reworked into a hilarious comedy. Sting — who only ended up having two songs in the movie — went on to make a documentary about the dramatic production process called The Sweatbox, which features the rest of the original music.
Disney tried for nearly 80 years to adapt Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Snow Queen into a movie, and clearly their efforts were worth it. Along the way, though, they ran into some obstacles. As recently as 2008, the movie stuck close to Andersen’s dark tale — the queen killed people with her powers — and was going to be traditionally animated and star Megan Mullally as Elsa. Bette Midler was the physical inspiration for that original Elsa, seen above. More importantly, it featured a dominant romantic storyline, had nothing about sisters, and showed Elsa as an unsympathetic villain. After animators decided to ~let it go~ of those elements, director Jennifer Lee came on board the film in 2012 as a screenwriter and revolutionized it, constructing Anna and Elsa’s sisterhood, Hans’s reveal as a villain, and Olaf as a fun, not annoying, sidekick.