Everyone loves a Disney classic. No matter if someone if five years old or fifty, a smile comes onto anyone's face when they sit down to watch a Walt Disney feel-good movie. From the older classics such as Snow White, Cinderella, and Fantasia to the 3D computer animated movies like Frozen, Moana, and Inside Out - no matter which Disney film is played, the entire family is sure to come together to watch and enjoy. Someone just has to grab the popcorn!
Nothing could ever ruin these beloved fairy-tales, right? Wrong.
Looking deeper into the making of these family-friendly films and peeking behind the scenes of the final cut, there are some not-so-happy, fun ideas and concepts that led to the final film. Escalating from sad to downright criminal, the origins of these award-winning stories may be shocking to many. Sorry to ruin your childhood. If you would prefer for these innocent films to remain just that, innocent, then I advise you to click away now.
For those of you who are curious about this behind-the-scenes information and are willing to bravely read the rest of this article, welcome, I hope you enjoy these 15 Real Disney Endings That Never Made It To The Screen. Be prepared to see these romantic, happy and innocent films in an entirely different and darker light.
15 Elsa The Villain
Disney's 2013 hit film, 'Frozen' is one of their most successful movies to date. You cannot leave the house without hearing a young child belt the lyrics to the anthem 'Let it go' at the top of their tiny lungs. Some may say its over-rated, others may say they are fed up of it. A few years may have already passed since the release of this iconic movie, but the majority of the public is still in love with the heart-warming story of magic and love between the two royal sisters.
But what if Anna and Elsa were not royal? What if they were not sisters? In fact what if Elsa was evil? Not such a fun loving family hit then!
The original plot for 'Frozen' was to feature Elsa as the evil, anti-social, ice queen, and Anna as an innocent and loving girl who, of course, falls in love. But when that love turns sour Anna begs Elsa to freeze her heart and this is indeed what Elsa does, making Anna's heart as frozen as hers.
Yeah, don't feel so happy now, right? Luckily, they felt this story was overdone and wanted to make Elsa more of a troubled-but-nice character, as ScreenRant points out. Thank goodness they made these changes otherwise we may never have heard the wonderful Idina Menzel sing 'Let it go' and I think we can all agree we need that hit song in our lives.
14 Ursula Takes Down Eric
Disney's 1989 under the sea film 'The Little Mermaid' contains many twists and turns behind the scenes. So much so that I will be featuring two of the alternative endings to this fishy film in this article.
The first finale change that we are going to talk about is from the big fight scene between Eric (the prince) and Ursula (the sea witch). In the finished movie, Ursula, unfortunately, gets her hand on the trident which gives her masses of power. A fight ensues but luckily, Eric manages to sail his ship right into the evil witch stabbing her, causing her demise.
Had the original ending been kept, it would have definitely given the timeless classic a much different tone -- one that many of us wouldn't have enjoyed as much!
Sounds gruesome and scary enough for the eyes of our little ones but the original big finale fight was a lot more intense. According to Bustle, the fight between Ursula and Eric was supposed to be more physical in the original storyboard as it was intended for Ursula to simultaneously strangle and drown Prince Eric.
He still wins in the end and Ursula comes to her deserved fatal ending but the struggle before would have been much more graphic. This is the ultimate reason why Disney cut it from the final film as they viewed this act as unnecessary and not child-friendly. Thank goodness we can sit back and watch the magical film that is the Little Mermaid without worrying about a drowning scene.
13 The Nude Prince
The original Beauty and The Beast is a classic loved by many but it, unfortunately, has no juicy behind-the-scenes secrets. The same can't be said about the 2017 live-action remake starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Prince/Beast. The remake actually has a scandalous background.
Disney's first live-action remake, 'Beauty and The Beast', pleased many of its viewers in 2017 as it brought a nostalgic feeling. They were respectful to the original story but also added some new, futuristic moments to please all generations, old and new.
The ending was one aspect of the movie that they struggled with as their original idea didn't go down as well with the parents.
Disney's original idea for ending the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast was that Beast would emerge from a bed of roses when he turns back into the handsome prince. Sounds pretty innocent right? Maybe not when he is nude. Horrified, some mothers thought that this was too raunchy for a children's film. As revealed by The Things, Disney soon rectified this ending. Now we have a similar ending but with a fully clothed prince.
12 The Step-Sisters' Sacrifice
When thinking of a timeless Disney princess for many, Cinderella is first to come to mind. The timeless story of a young girl grieving her deceased parents while being treated terribly by her stepmother and sisters. She then goes on to meet a handsome prince who falls in love with her beautiful soul -- with a little help from the fairy godmother of course! We all know the storyline; it really is timeless and classic, but what secrets could this well-known story hold?
While Cinderella's happily ever after stays no matter how the story is told, the same can't be said for her evil step-sisters. Before the feel-good Disney love story that is Cinderella came into our lives there was the Grim Brothers version. In this version, some pretty gruesome things happen to Cinderella's step-sisters at the hands of their mother and some violent birds.
Near the end of the fairy-tale, the prince declares that he will try the glass slipper on every maiden in the land, which as we know, includes Cinderella's step-sisters. Knowing that their feet will not fit the slipper but wanting one of her daughters to marry the prince, the evil Step Mother comes up with a plan. She makes both her daughters chop off part of their feet so they can fit the glass slipper.
Not fooled by this as he can see the blood pouring from the slipper, the prince refuses to marry the sisters. He then finally finds his Cinderella moments later, as pointed out by The Things. At this same moment, birds come down and peck out the eyes of the evil sisters. To quote the Grim Brothers tale: "And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness all their days". I think we can see why Disney thought this wouldn't be exactly 'family-friendly'.
11 Scar's Unexpected Twist
"The Lion King" is one of Disney's classics, telling a tale of sacrifice, growing up and heroism. It's an intense film mixed with hilarity from the many comical animal characters. This classic film is actually heavily based on the William Shakespeare play, 'Hamlet', a lesser known fact revealed by The Things.
We all know the tremendous ending of the Lion King where Simba defeats Scar, taking over pride rock while the hyenas take Scar's life after he exclaims his hatred towards them. You don't see his demise on-screen as it is a family-friendly film but it's an assumption that we make as adults.
But what if Disney had gone a different angle and decided to show Scar's demise in a different way?
Originally Scar was meant to throw Simba off of pride rock, thinking that he won. Simba survives, but in his celebration, is engulfed by the flames that surround him. Not only did the screenwriters see this demise as boring, but they also considered it to be too graphic for their viewers. They decided to go with the hinted hyena death instead. That's called karma Scar, sorry.
10 A Tragic Story
Now for a film that not all Disney lovers know or even like. Disney's 1996 film, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is one of their more emotional and hard-hitting films with, as some would say, very adult themes. Personally, it was one of my favorites and when researching for this article it made me want to re-watch it.
Including topics such as religion, bullying, execution, blackmail, manipulation and more, this tale can definitely be categorized in the darker section of Disney. That means it can't get any darker right? Don't be silly, of course, it can. Although the theme can be viewed as grimmer than other Disney films, the ending is still happy which is a complete contrast to the original finale.
Considering that 'loss' is a touchy subject when it comes to children anyway, Disney was spot-on when they decided to change the ending to make the movie more PG.
According to The Things, it's derived from the famous novel by Victor Hugo in which 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' had a much more fatal ending. Unlike the film where the gypsy Esmeralda is saved by hunchback Quasimodo, in the original literature, Esmeralda is burnt at the stake in front of all the townspeople due to refusing Claude's advances. Heartbroken, Quasimodo throws Claude off the bell tower before ultimately climbing into Esmeralda's grave and starving himself. The end.
9 Turned Into Female Empowerment
One of Disney's newest creations, Moana is a film that has a special place in my heart. Moana is one of the very few films that focuses on a young girl being her own hero and going on her own adventure, instead of only showing young girls the cliche of 'go find a prince and get married'.
Having a little girl myself I am all for more female empowerment films that show us, as a gender, as equal and not as a prize to be won.
But what if instead of being a feminist phenomenon, Moana's true hero would have been Maui in the end? It would portray the complete opposite message.
For those of you who have not seen Moana yet, let me give you a summary. Moana is a film about a teenage girl who has always loved the sea, but has always been told never to venture out and leave the safety of her island as it was too dangerous. When their fishing boats can no longer collect fish and their coconuts turn black due to the goddess Te Fiti being without her heart, Moana has no choice but to disobey her Father's wishes. A long adventure follows and ultimately, with the help of demi-god Maui, she restores Te Fiti's heart and saves her island.
Maui helps Moana throughout the film in small ways. But when Maui cowers away from the battle ahead, Moana pushes on, finally believing in herself and that only she can save her island. This is the pinnacle part of the movie that portrays the strong feminist message well.
According to BuzzFeed, the ending was nearly something else entirely. Originally, Maui was not going to run away; he was instead supposed to be the hero! Disney writers thought this distracted from the empowering message that they were trying to send to young girls. They decided instead that they needed to get rid of Maui and give Moana her time to shine. As a woman and a Mother, I applaud Disney for this much-needed movement.
8 The Plane HiJack
Hawaii is a beautiful isolated island. With picturesque views and beautiful sunshine, it is no surprise that Disney wanted to take advantage of this and recreate the beauty in animated form. Of course, this creation I am talking about is none other than the movie 'Lilo and Stitch'.
This heart-warming story is about a lonely young girl who befriends an alien and adopts him thinking he is a dog. The film is full of hilarity and love, which is probably why it is a favorite to many Disney lovers. The film went on to make a sequel and a TV show following the original film's success. But would this movie have been so much of a hit if they had left the original, insensitive ending in? I think not.
In the finale of 'Lilo and Stitch', Stitch steals a spaceship in order to save Lilo. Flying through the rural mountains in Hawaii, the chase eventually comes to a peaceful end where all the aliens except Stitch and his two companions return to space and to Lilo. Stitch and their family live happily ever after.
It's a cute and non-offensive story, but not when it comes to the original ending.
Originally the Disney writers had created a very similar ending but instead of a spaceship, Stitch was meant to hijack a commercial plane. The scenes showed scared passengers and civilians as the chase ensued within the city in Hawaii where Stitch barely made it past buildings. Ordinarily, this would just be viewed as a thrilling scene but with the film airing so close to the tragedy that was 9/11, the writers saw this as insensitive and possibly triggering to many viewers, according to Bustle. They re-edited the film last minute and therefore created the more appropriate ending. A very respectful move on Disney's part.
7 Bad Woody
'You've got a friend in me' are lyrics we all sing to ourselves when we think of Disney Pixar's hit film 'Toy Story'. The song reminds us of what friends good toys were to us when we were young and what good times we all had during out childhood. The film is also heavily based on what they do when we are not around because as we all know... toys are alive!
Woody, the cowboy doll, in the famous animated film, is the leader and main character. Because of this, he is many children's favorite character. Forget Buzz, Jessie, Mr. Potatohead or any of the other toy characters. No one is beating Woody to the post when it comes to being the favorite unless of course, Woody turned bad.
He is not going to turn bad now the films are already out there, but if the original storyboard had gone ahead, then Woody would be more like the Sid of the film -- evil.
The first draft of Toy Story placed Woody as the mean and controlling leader of the toys in Andy's room. When Buzz arrives Woody intentionally picks him up and throws him out the window showing no remorse. In the end, Buzz and the other toys in Andy's room were to rise up against the evil Woody doll, therefore, overcoming him and making for a happy ending.
Alas, the actor Tom Hanks who voices Woody was not happy with the character he was supposed to portray and believed he should be a good guy, according to OK Magazine. Almost scrapping the whole idea of 'Toy Story', the writers went back to the drawing board and eventually came up with the childhood film that we all know and love - as well as it's two sequels. Good old Tom Hanks, he knows best.
6 If Flynn Rider Were Blind
Disney's 2010 adaption of the fairy tale Rapunzel (renamed 'Tangled') was a big hit. The twist on the original story was and still is loved by many, with heartfelt songs and funny moments, this recent Disney movie has the potential to become a classic in the years to come for future generations.
As it turns out, there are many little behind-the-scenes secrets to this Rapunzel remake such as Flynn Rider's face being created through the combination of what are thought to be 'the most attractive celebrity males'.
Also, Rapunzel is the first Disney princess to have green eyes EVER. There are so many little fun facts but instead, I would like to go for shock value.
So what would you say if I told you in the original Rapunzel fairy-tale Flynn Rider was blind?! Well, more like the Prince was blind but in this remake, Flynn Rider, although not royalty, is the closest thing to a prince that we have got.
So yes, those big beautiful eyes that even grown woman get lost in when watching this film should technically be rendered useless. According to Mindware House, in the original story of Rapunzel, when the evil Mother Gotham finds out that the Prince has been visiting Rapunzel, she chops off all of her hair and attacks the sweet man resulting in him going blind. Much like the film, however, Rapunzel's tears heal him and he can once again see his true love... just with much shorter hair.
5 Ariel Doesn't Make It
Back to the Little Mermaid now, I told you it would be featured twice on this list. This interesting backstory goes a lot further back than the nice Disney version that we all know and love. And when I say a lot further back I mean centuries.
The Hans Christian Andersen novel The Little Mermaid was first published on April 7th, 1837. The novel starts off much like the more modern Disney film but it is when it nears the end of the story that things take a dark turn. Yes, in the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, Prince Eric is tricked into loving another woman. That is bad enough but in this version, he makes the decision to marry another entirely on his own with no conversion. I can hear hearts breaking all over the world at this revelation.
In the Hans Christian Andersen novel, Prince Eric declares he does not love Ariel and decides to marry another woman. When Ariel discovers this horrid truth, she gives up and dives back into the sea, knowing that there is no way she will be able to break her spell.
Unfortunately, diving back into the sea does not just mean returning home for this lost princess. It also means her ultimate end.
As pointed out by Bustle, Ariel intentionally ends her life by diving into the sea, knowing that if she dives into the sea before she can break her spell that she will disintegrate into sea foam. Again, another original plot that was not so family-friendly, which is why Disney decided to go the happier route and continue the theme of 'love conquers all'.
4 Goodbye John Smith
Unlike other Disney films, Pocahontas is not based on a novel or an old fairy-tale. Pocahontas is actually derived from ancient history but the truth is nowhere near as nice as the Disney film portrays it.
The 1995 film is the story of a native girl that falls in love with a foreign white man, thus starting a love affair that is seen as unnatural to many, including his men and her tribe. When the chief goes to execute John Smith, Pocahontas throws herself on top of him declaring her love, therefore saving his life. She waves goodbye to him as he gets taken by his men back to England for medical treatment.
I remember being so angry when they had to part ways, thinking she should have gone with him or he should have stayed, but after learning the true story, my opinion has somewhat changed - to say the least.
In Pocahontas, both John Smith and Pocahontas are portrayed as consenting adults. In reality, the native American princess was only around 11 or 12 years old, while John Smith was an adult. It is no shock now that her Father, the chief executed him and yes in real life he did lose his life. Unfortunately for Pocahontas, she was then captured according to History.com, taken to England, and married off to an older man. She was also forced to have children, but lost her life to smallpox when she was just 17 years old. If you have seen Pocahontas 2, then you can understand that there are all sorts of problems with that, too.
For obvious reasons, Disney decided not to tell the story this way and as they often do, decided instead to re-create the story with a more romantic plot line. To be honest, they did not really have a choice since everything about the true events is either criminal or just wrong.
3 Jane's Lies
The mysterious jungle man and the prim and proper English woman: a match made in heaven. That is what we all thought when we watched the heartbreaking yet uplifting story that is Tarzan.
A tale of a man whose parents lose their lives in the jungle when he is just a baby to then be saved by a troupe of gorillas. They raise him and then one day, he meets a group of people, including a woman named Jane, who is on an expedition in the jungle. They teach him to walk, talk and act human. In the end, he decides to stay in the jungle with his animal family and Jane's strong feelings for Tarzan persuade her to stay there, too. Therefore living - you guessed it - happily ever after.
Following the theme of this list, not all is as it seems in paradise.
The original ending to Tarzan was much less heart-warming and more soul-crushing, according to The National. In the originally written tale of Tarzan, Jane decides to return to England while Tarzan stays in the jungle.
Full of love, however, he changes his mind and bravely travels to England to be with her only to make a shocking discovery.
Jane lied. Jane was already married and not only that but married to Tarzan's cousin. They stole the fortune that Tarzan's parents left him, knowing no one would know he was alive in the Jungle.
To keep Jane happy, Tarzan decides not to reveal his true identity to anyone and returns to the jungle to live out the rest of his days with no money and no Jane. At least he has his gorilla family, they would never betray him.
2 Poor Aurora
This is perhaps the most disturbing of the original stories on this list. Sleeping beauty, a love story of the ages, has a very gruesome backstory previous to the light-hearted Disney version.
Disney's 1959 film, 'Sleeping Beauty' is part of the elite classic Disney film list, and the main character Aurora is one of the original Disney Princesses. It's the tale of the princess that pricks her finger on a spinning wheel, putting her into a deep sleep. It portrays messages such as believing in love at first sight, love conquers all, and that true love's kiss can break any spell. These are all very nice concepts that we all wish we could apply to everyday life, but maybe the original story of the princess Sleeping Beauty explains just why we cannot believe in such fairy-tales.
In one of the original versions of Sleeping Beauty, the princess does indeed meet a Prince and unfortunately follows the fate of pricking her finger on a spinning wheel, thus falling into a deep sleep. But it is what happens during this sleep and after that is the creepy and unsettling part.
During Aurora's sleep, a man working in the castle takes advantage of her and impregnates her sleeping body.
She then goes through pregnancy during her slumber and gives birth to twin babies.
It is as one of the babies is suckling on her finger that they manage to remove the splinter that is keeping her in her deep sleep state. She awakes to find out that she has been attacked resulting in her becoming a mother to twins. The Prince, who she instantly fell in love with at the start, comes to her and promises to save her and the children from the evil man.
Unfortunately, it turns out the Prince is already married and does not keep his promise forcing the poor new mother to marry the man who took advantage of her. I told you it was criminal. I think we should just move on now.
1 Snow White's Revenge
We might as well end with the Disney princess that started it all, Snow White. Snow White started it all because her film was the first to have ever been made by Disney about a princess.
In every version that has ever been made of Snow White, the details are pretty similar. They all tell a story of a girl escaping the huntsman that her evil step-mother had sent out to execute her, and then residing with seven friendly dwarves. She is tricked by the evil queen to bite a poisoned apple which takes her life. Luckily, however, the true love's kiss from a Prince she previously met saves her and they live happily ever after. Before the happy ending, however, Snow White gets her revenge against the evil queen and, let's just say, it must have been burning up inside of her for a long time.
After the Prince saves Snow White with true love's kiss they decide to get married. Snow White and the Prince, out of good faith and forgiveness, of course, invite the evil queen, Snow White's step-mother.
During the wedding, they greet her and gift her a pair of bright red shoes. In a final revenge plot twist, the shoes are actually under a spell. As they are impossible to remove, the evil queen is forced to dance until she can no longer stand.
Not-so-sweet Snow White after all. Disney probably thought this distracted from the kindness of the Princess and that it sent a bad message of revenge to young viewers so they left this hot shoe section out of the movie. This was probably for the best.
References: pintrest.co.uk, youtube.com/thethings, mentalfloss.com, youtube.com/screenrant, thenational.ae, history.com, bustle.com, youtube.com/mindwarehouse, BuzzFeed.com