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20 Alternate Disney Characters You Never Got To See

Remember sweet old Rafiki? Yeah, he was almost an awful lot different...

There's nary a person alive in the Western world that isn't utterly infatuated with at least one of Disney's animated classics, from 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, all the way up to the recently released Frozen. But in many cases, what lies closer to the heart is not the events of the movies themselves, but their characters. The hero, the heroine, the love interest, the helper, the villain, the talking wardrobe; yes, Disney has had them all, and all numerous times over (well, except for the talking wardrobe; thankfully, that was a one-off). But what most of us will probably disregard is that these dynamic, entertaining, life-rendering characters are not fully conceived overnight. Rather, they are meticulously developed over a course of many months, maybe even years, and as changes are made in the narrative or tone of the overall movie, these characters must also be altered accordingly. So here is a list of the 20 alternate versions of Disney Characters that you never got to see. Maybe their appearance didn't fit in with the overall aesthetic of the picture. Maybe their general demeanour wasn't in tune with their striking personality. Or maybe they just plain sucked. In any case, they're all here for your infinite viewing displeasure.

20. Mushu (Mulan)

Adopting the role of the classic Disney 'helper' character in 1998's Mulan, Mushu (voiced by Eddie Murphy) succeeds in stealing the show for the majority of the 87-minute runtime (as is the case with many of the 'helper' characters in Disney movies). But as this early sketch reveals, Mushu was originally intended to be purple, with far more prominent horns, and clothed in sandals and a robe. But more than that, he seems a lot less crazy and a lot more peaceful, which wouldn't be at all in line with his role in the movie, or with the casting of Eddie Murphy.

19. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

The memorably-named Maleficent personified pure evil in her antagonistic role in 1959's Sleeping Beauty. As far as Disney villains go, her design is easily one of the most effective in encapsulating the dark side, so much so that she's been given her own live-action film scheduled for release in May 2014 (starring Angelina Jolie as the lead). But as this early concept sketch shows, Maleficent's original design was far more muted and mellow; facially, she still looks evil, but on the whole she is far less striking and powerful without her infamous cloak and crow combo.

18. Timon (The Lion King)

Everyone loves Timon. Contradicting his obvious neurosis with his mantra "Hakuna Matata", his relationship with Pumbaa forms the much-needed comic relief in 1994's The Lion King. Part of Timon's effectiveness is his ability to be the aggressor and leader in his relationship with Pumbaa, despite being largely inferior physically. This early imagining of him highlights this, in which, he looks far more wily and self-assured than his final form. One can only imagine that Timon was changed to look more vulnerable in order to ensure he didn't alienate viewers, which consequently allowed his bossiness to come across as more of a Napoleonic complex than deliberate manipulation.
Contributor

I'm a university graduate/full-time layabout who fills his days writing fiction, watching 90s sitcoms and growing irate after failing to catch Mewtwo with 99 ultra balls on Pokémon Red. I think that says it all, really, doesn't it?