Part of the reason we love the Disney parks so much is because of the wonderful Disney movies that help to inspire them.
From the enchanting tales to the inspiring characters and the happily ever afters, there’s a lot to love about these films. But what if we told you that many of those “happily ever afters” weren’t always the endings that we know and love today? We’re taking a look at 8 Disney movie endings that could have been VERY different! Let’s check them out!
1. The peddler in Aladdin was originally supposed to be revealed as the Genie!
According to USA Today, the peddler you meet at the beginning of Aladdin (who VERY clearly has Robin Williams’ voice!) was supposed to be revealed to be the Genie in a secret-twist ending. Ron Clements, co-director of Aladdin, explained that it was pretty late in the editing process when they decided against this ending.
The transformation scene that would’ve shown the peddler dissolving in a whirlwind to become the Genie was scrapped to give the film a shorter ending, but some details remained. For one, the peddler and Genie are both voiced by Robin Williams, AND they both only have four fingers on each hand!
2. Han Solo could have died at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
The original Star Wars trilogy is, to this day, still loved by many, but the ending of the whole trilogy could have been pretty different, and much darker. The film was released with a cheery and (somewhat-fittingly) cheesy ending, with all of the main characters dancing with the Ewoks on Endor to celebrate their victory against the Empire. But, Lucasfilm almost gave them something to keep them from dancing.
According to Collider, Han Solo was initially written to die at the end of Return of the Jedi, leaving Princess Leia racing to regather the rebels to continue the fight, and showing Luke and R2-D2 walking off into the sunset. That’s more of a somber ending than we got with partying Ewoks! We can only imagine how different the sequel trilogy would have been if this was how they’d ended the original!
3. Scar was supposed to die thinking he successfully killed Simba in The Lion King.
Also per Collider, The Lion King almost had an ending that wasn’t too different, but was definitely on the darker side! Originally, the climactic fight between Simba and Scar was supposed to end with Scar tricking Simba, and tossing him into a pit of fire. Simba would land safely in a tree, but Scar would have laughed maniacally as he himself was being consumed by flames — thinking he’d killed his nephew.
Yeesh. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not like the scenes in the released version of the film don’t show us that Scar had some issues, but THAT’S DARK. Instead, they opted for a slightly less traumatizing ending, with Scar being turned on by his hyena minions.
4. In The Jungle Book, Mowgli could’ve grown up in the “Man-Village” and ended up an enemy of the animals.
The Jungle Book secret is actually a little bit different than some of the others on this list. Instead of featuring a different scene at the end, this flick almost had another entire act to the story! At the end of The Jungle Book, Mowgli returns to the “man-village,” but what if things didn’t end there?
According to Collider, it was planned that Mowgli would reunite with his lost mother once he was back in the village. The story would then jump ahead to Mowgli’s future, showing him at odds with the animals that raised him. Ultimately, adult Mowgli was set to kill Shere Khan with a rifle! In the end, though, the third act was cut to keep the film shorter and sweeter.
5. Elsa might’ve been an evil queen with an army of snow monsters in Frozen.
Perhaps the most famous of modern alternate storylines is the original plan for Frozen. Initially, Elsa and Anna were not even meant to be sisters. Elsa, instead, would have been an evil, self-proclaimed snow queen — similar to the original fairy tale. The ending would’ve shown an epic battle involving Elsa’s army of snow monsters, but with an added twist of Anna convincing Elsa to save Arendelle against the other villain — Prince Hans.
But According to the BBC, the Frozen team wasn’t satisfied with this original script, explaining that making Elsa evil throughout the movie and then expecting viewers to care about her at the end wouldn’t work because they would have no emotional connection to her. They also felt like the film was too similar to the Disney films of the past. Instead, they rewrote the script, making the iconic duo into relatable sisters, and made Elsa much more of a good guy.
6. Ursula was supposed to try to drown and strangle Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid.
This next one doesn’t change the actual story too much — but BOY is it scary. The end of The Little Mermaid has Ursula using the trident to try and attack King Triton, Ariel, and Prince Eric. Luckily, Eric is able to thwart her plans by crashing his ship into her giant body so that the rest of them can get that happily ever after.
7. Stitch was originally supposed to hijack an airplane in Lilo and Stitch.
Lilo and Stitch ended up with some pretty big changes as a result of world events at the time. When the film was getting ready for its 2002 release, animators had to make some major last-minute changes. According to Insider, the film’s dramatic air-chase originally showed Stitch hijacking a commercial airplane and flying it through a Hawaiian city to save Lilo, but crashing into several buildings along the way. The events of 9/11 led animators to change that.
8. Toy Story’s Woody was supposed to be…evil?
This one is pretty hard to believe, we won’t lie! You know Woody? The lovable main character of four super-successful Toy Story movies? He was originally supposed to be EVIL! Tom Hanks was always meant to voice Woody, but the toy was initially supposed to be “a sneering gunslinger” whose cruelty spurs the other toys to rebel against him. What!?
According to The Guardian, he was also initially supposed to be a ventriloquist’s doll. We are so happy that Tom Hanks was able to lend his voice to a rewritten Woody, who is sometimes crotchety, but never evil!
So, ya see? Some of our FAVORITE Disney movies could have ended pretty differently. It definitely makes us wonder if we would love them as much as we do today had some of these endings won out. Regardless, it’s still super cool to look back on what could have been!
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Which alternate ending do YOU think is the craziest? Tell us in the comments!