Disney Classics: 10 Dark Original Endings Disney Had To Change

Disney is one of the world’s largest companies. Owning everything from radio and TV stations, to wondrous amusement and theme parks. But what they are most known for is their classic family movies. Fr

Disney is one of the world’s largest companies. Owning everything from radio and TV stations, to wondrous amusement and theme parks. But what they are most known for is their classic family movies. From the beautiful servant Cinderella to Simba and his band of lions in The Lion King, Disney Studios have brought us some of the most beloved movies of all time.

However it might be surprising to learn about the dark endings to some your of favorite movies, like Hercules. Disney is known for their “happily ever after” endings but some of them were not always meant to end that way. Some movies were inspired by graphic novels like Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Mowgli isn't portrayed as an innocent boy in the original version of the story. 

Some movies were originally drafted with a twisted ending that was cut from final production due to their intense finale. The original concept behind the Lion King was loosely based on Hamlet, a story where nearly every character dies. Can you imagine if all your beloved Lion King characters were killed off by Disney. Oh how we would never look at Disney the same!

As you'll read on, it'll become abundantly clear why Disney had to alter the following classic stories' endings for the benefit of its viewership of children. Here are 10 Dark Original Movie Endings Disney Had To Change.

10 Cinderella - Step-Sister's Eyes Pecked Out By Doves


In the original Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm, our protagonist gets her happy ending while her step-sisters get punished. The story goes that during the prince’s and Cinderella’s wedding, doves descended from heaven and pecked the step-sisters' eyes out. A harsh sentence for abuse they constantly dealt to Cinderella? I think it was a just ending. 

9 Hercules - Kills His Entire Family


In Greek mythology, Hercules was depicted as a sexual beast and somewhat of a simpleton. I don't get how someone with such a depiction can be labelled as a "simpleton." Myth has it that on a hot day Hercules threatened to shoot at the sun for the high temperature.

8 The Jungle Book - Banished Mowgli Destroys Entire Village


The Jungle Book's source content was written by a somewhat cynical man named Rudyard Kipling. In his version, Mowgli wasn't accepted by society like he was in Disney’s movie. He was instead banished into the jungle upon returning and the family that raised him is murdered.

7 The Lion King - Scar Was To Throw Simba Off Pride Rock


The Lion King is arguably one of Disney’s greatest movies. From Mufasa’s death to Simba reclaiming his rightful position as King, the movie will forever live in our hearts. What might surprise some people is that the original concept for the movie was loosely inspired by Hamlet, a story where everyone dies. Can you imagine all your beloved Lion King characters killed off? What a terrible idea.

6 The Fox And The Hound - The Hunted


In the Fox and the Hound, we are told the story of an unlikely friendship, a red fox and a hound dog. However the creator of the story did not have the same plot in mind when he wrote his version. In his book Copper the hound does not save Todd the fox. In fact, he hunts him down relentlessly for years.

5 The Hunchback Of Notre Dame - Everyone Was Supposed To Die


The original Hunchback of Notre Dame is another story where everyone dies. In this story, Esmeralda is sentenced to death by hanging after she is framed by Frollo for attempted murder on Phoebus, the King of Archers. Phoebus, the man that we see in the cartoon as a hero is actually the man that wanted Esmeralda dead in the novel.

4 Tarzan - He Leaves Jane Alone In The City


In Disney's animated version of Tarzan, the titular character, despite being raised in the jungle by gorillas, manages to get the girl. The movie was inspired by the novel, Tarzan of the Apes. His real name was John Clayton. In the book series, his father was killed by Kershak, the ape who raised him; his ape-mother was killed by a local tribe. Tarzan later avenges her death by terrorizing the village.

3 Pinocchio - Juvenile Delinquent


In the original 1881 version of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio was a troublesome little puppet. The writer's intention with the story was to teach young children that behaving badly will lead to bad consequences. In his story, Pinocchio kills Jiminy the Cricket by throwing a hammer at him after the cricket was telling him to go back home after he famously ran away. He then goes on to tell Gepetto that he was not sorry and the cricket deserved it.

2 The Little Mermaid


In The Little Mermaid, both Ariel and Prince Eric fall in love with each other and get married. Except in the original version, the mermaid is not so lucky. The deal was that the little mermaid would be allowed to walk on land in exchange for her voice just like the Disney classic. Every step she would take in this version would feel like she was walking on glass shards. She also needed to get the prince to fall in love with her or else she would die.

1 Pocahontas


The original story of Pocahontas is probably the most frightening one due to the fact that it was inspired by  a true story. Everything from the love story to the protagonist's name was fabricated by Disney. For starters Pocahontas means the naughty one or spoiled child but her real name was Matoaka. Unlike the movie, Matoaka never saved John Smith from her father and if she did she would have only been  10-years-old. In fact John Smith detailed in his journal that his stay with the Powhatan people was quite enjoyable and he was actually never saved from death by Mataoka because he never needed to be saved.

Smith only wrote about Mataoka after she had gained fame for being a "good Indian." She was taken from her home at the age of 17 and was held as prisoner for a year in Jamestown. It wasn't until a year later that a European by the name of John Rolfe was captivated by her beauty and decided to make her his wife. She was forced to change her name to Rebecca Rolfe. The couple had a child together. Two years later “Rebecca” was taken to England and was being used for propaganda as a civilized Indian and was being used as an example of what domesticated Indians looks like. Mataoka was only 21 when she died from unknown causes. The movie Pocahontas might depict a happy native American women in love with a European settler but the reality of it is that Mataoka was just a girl whose life was cut short.


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Disney Classics: 10 Dark Original Endings Disney Had To Change