10 Disney Sidekicks That Got the Axe

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Disney

Though the heroes, heroines, princes, and princesses tend to run the show over at Disney, many of your favorite animated characters would be nothing without their sidekicks. Without the dwarfs, Snow White never would have made it out of the woods. Aladdin would have perished in the Cave of Wonders with no Carpet and no Genie. And Belle would have likely starved to death if household items hadn’t started singing to her.

Choosing a sidekick is tricky business, though—there are a number of reasons why a sidekick could end up on the cutting room floor instead of helping to save the day. Here are 10 that didn't quite make the cut.

1. Red Feather, a wild turkey from Pocahontas

John Candy was slated to voice this woodland fowl; it’s rumored that he even recorded some lines. The artists working on the movie were having trouble matching the serious nature of the film with the silly talking turkey, though, and in the midst of figuring it out, Candy passed away. The decision was made to make all of the sidekick characters non-speaking. Somewhere in this process, Red Feather was scrapped for Meeko the raccoon and Flit the hummingbird.

This is what Red Feather would have looked like:

2. Mheetu, Nala’s little brother in The Lion King

An alternative draft of The Lion King showed a lot more of the happenings in the Pride Lands while Simba was out Hakuna Matataing with Timon and Pumbaa. During this time, Nala would be shown protecting her little brother, Mheetu, from the evil Scar. Mheetu, along with another sidekick named Bhati the bat-eared fox, were eventually scrapped.

3. Music Box, Beauty and the Beast

Before Chip Cup stole the show, a little music box was supposed to be the infantilized household object that made you go, “Awwww.” When voice actor Michael Bradley Pierce ended up stealing the show as Chip, however, the music box part was scaled way back and Pierce’s role was increased. The music box can still be spotted in a few scenes, probably hoping Chip Cup will take a tumble off of the table.

4. Senorita Cactus in Toy Story 2

This one may be hard to believe, but at one point, instead of Jessie the Cowgirl, the female lead in Toy Story 2 was “Senorita Cactus.” The prickly plant was apparently supposed to sway Woody into joining the Woody’s Round-Up gang by using her feminine wiles. That could have turned out very badly for ol’ Woody.

5. Breaker the Dolphin in The Little Mermaid

Although a dolphin pal probably would have been way more useful for Ariel, her original dolphin sidekick named Breaker was eventually replaced by the sweet-but-slow Flounder. Breaker wasn’t trashed entirely, though—some of his enthusiastic personality traits were transplanted into Ariel.

6. Four more fairies in Sleeping Beauty

Just like Perrault’s original fairy tale, early versions of Sleeping Beauty included seven good fairies instead of the three you see in the film. Perhaps worried about comparisons to Snow White and her seven buddies, or maybe just aware that seven fairies would take up a lot of space and screen time, the concept was eventually pared down to three core fairies.

7. A regent in Frozen

OK, this one is not a sidekick, exactly, but it’s still fun to imagine what might have been. Ever wonder exactly how Arendelle was being run in the years between the death of the King and Queen and Elsa’s coronation? Scriptwriters had that covered, at one point—it was a regent to be voiced by Louis C.K. “I wanted him so badly in the film. I just wanted him in the film,” co-director Jennifer Lee said. “But the first act is so heavy, it’s still heavy. There’s so much in it.” To make the first part of the movie move a little faster, the role was cut.

8. Rocky the Rhino in The Jungle Book

Described as “a Mr. Magoo of a rhinoceros,” Rocky the Rhino was supposed to be a dim-witted, bumbling, near-blind character. His scenes were completely storyboarded before Walt gave him the boot, deciding that there were too many action sequences in a row.

You see Rocky’s big scene below, as well as a Beatles-inspired version of “That’s What Friends are For,” the song the vultures sing.

9. Hubert the dog in Lady and the Tramp

Instead of reliable neighbor dogs Jock and Trusty, Lady was originally supposed to have just one friend in the neighborhood: a mutt named Hubert who would have a Ralph Bellamy-like personality.

10. A Laurel and Hardy-like chipmunk and squirrel in Bambi


Though Walt liked the “screwball attitude” of the characters, the pair didn't make the final film, presumably because their antics just didn’t match the tone of the movie. Some of the original gags storyboarded by Carl Barks and Chuck Couch still survive.

August 18, 2014 - 11:00am
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