Have you ever heard of “Wild Life”? I hadn’t either, until today. While doing some research of Disney, I came across Wild Life. It was to be an animated feature, scheduled for release in 2002. The production of the film was canceled by Roy Disney himself in september 2000. I had to do some digging and find out what this film was going to be and why it was canceled!
A team of animators were put together in the late 90’s to develop a new animated feature film, that would be CGI animated. Straight away this was such a surprise to me, and made me even more curious. I mean Disney didn’t do very well when CGI animated movies became popular in the early naughties.
So “Wild Life” would have been based on 70’s American pop culture and was going to pay homage to popular figures at that time, such as Andy Warhol. I also read that it was going to be a version of My Fair Lady based in New York. The supposed plot is a bit complicated, but involves 3 main characters, including a talking and singing Elephant called Ella. You can read more here.
The humour was intended for adults mainly, and was a more mature film, which had not been explored or developed at Disney – YET! When Roy Disney was presented with what was currently developed, he was appalled at what he saw, and instantly canceled production of the film. Apparently there was a joke involving a gay couple, and Roy didn’t find it funny.
I have done some more digging and found some more projects that were canceled… There are LOADS of shorts that were never made involving Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. To my surprise, Walt Disney was going to make The Wizard of Oz his next feature animated film after Snow White, but lost the bid to the rights of the film to MGM. Kind of glad this happened, because the Judy Garland film is a classic!
Back in 1943, there was plans to make Bambi 2, and was going to be based on adult Bambi and his children. I never thought Disney would be interested in sequels so early on, so it’s no wonder it didn’t happen.
In 1963 Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, and Little Red Riding Hood were both planned to be animated feature films. And in 1967 Hansel and Gretal was also planned. All three very traditional and popular tales, and I’m glad they weren’t made, don’t think they’re original enough. Plus, I think Disney couldn’t have made them much different without getting criticised.
Interestingly, in 1983, Glenn Keane and John Lasseter, completed a test film based on “Where the Wild Things are” blending traditional hand drawn animation and CGI. But nothing happened. No wonder John Lasseter left!
In 1991, they started development of The Rescue Rangers movie, but because The DuckTale movie flopped, the development was shut down. However, now it is under production as a live-action feature film.
There were plans and developments to many sequels, like Dumbo, Roger Rabbit, Hercules and Chicen Little. Also there was nearly Aladdin 4 and Tinkerbell 7.
So many “nearlys” in Disney’s history, and most of them were all good calls for shutting down. But the “Wild life” is the one that sticks out the most as a “possibility”. They may look at it again now that times have changed. However Disney is on such a good run right now, they are calling this era the second renaissance!
If you want to look at the full list of cancelled projects, then click here. You will find it very interesting, I promise!