While it’s exceedingly rare for Disney (except Pixar) to release competent sequels—where, in a perfect world, Disney would always take out and begin flawlessly spinning that captivating yarn, first spun by their seemingly perfect originators, with style, grace, and, most importantly, in the same spirit that made their predecessors so successful—Disney’s follow-ups that have actually done well have been utter delights and have given us hope that maybe the studio will bring its A-game for such endeavors.
Regardless of whether they will or will not, Disney’s trashed sequels are listed here—potential follow-ups to amazing animated films that we would’ve liked to, at least, had the chance to say whether they followed the trend of crappiness or gave us somewhat of a surprise like a Toy Story sequel, like Aladdin and the King of Thieves, and, while it got panned, like The Rescuers Down Under, one of the few sequels to receive a theatrical release.
Many of the items in this compilation were, before they got canned, intended to be direct-to-video endeavors. However, there are a few in here that would’ve been full-fledged features, which inherently already possess more of a chance of not sucking. That being said, some of these direct-to-videos had such an intriguing plotline that they feel, for the most part, they could’ve been on the scale of a feature. Here’s our list of 15 potential animated Disney sequels that never made it…and probably should’ve gotten the chance.
15 Uncle Stiltskin
Yes, we understand that Uncle Stiltskin wouldn’t have been an actual sequel, seeing as Disney never released an animated feature about the fabled Rumplestiltskin. While not a Disney sequel, it was going to be a sequel to the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. So, there!
Plus, our other choice would’ve been to do a write-up about Atlantis II: Shard of Chaos, and we wouldn’t want to write about that because the first one was terrible.
Another plus: if you think about it, unlike most of the films on this list, Uncle Stiltskin would’ve been a feature film, not a direct-to-video endeavor (which are usually horrible anyway).
In this “continued” tale of the aspiring babynapper, Rumplestiltskin, much like in the first Disney-untold story, would’ve tried to fulfill his dream of becoming a father. But this time, he would’ve actually achieved a Disney-esque realization—the true meaning of family. Awwwwww!
14 The Nightmare Before Christmas 2
The concept of The Nightmare Before Christmas 2 is an incredible one and would, if done correctly, have garnered quite a bit of hype and would have ultimately led to a box office hit and garner universal critical acclaim. Disney undoubtedly thought about all of this, which is probably why they pursued the possibility.
The problem, however, was that there was an incandescent flaw in their proposal. We’ll share this with you by asking a question. What was one of the variables that led to the Nightmare Before Christmas’ rise to cult-hood?
That’s right. Its utilization of stop-motion. That was a huge factor in its overall creep appeal. But in this new reiteration, Disney wanted to revisit Halloween Town in computer animation.
Gross! Luckily, Tim Burton was able to persuade Disney to drop the idea.
13 Finding Nemo 2 (Not Dory)
We don’t know how we feel about a potential Finding Nemo 2 film that would have deviated from 2016’s actual sequel, Finding Dory. Because, fins down, that movie was arguably better than the original. But that’s neither here nor there.
The original script of the first Finding Nemo sequel (by Circle 7) was, like Finding Dory, going to have taken place after Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) were able to find the missing Nemo.
The potential concept of the film—which we get by its title—seems a little far-fetched and overdone. Are you telling us that you were planning a film where Nemo, once more, gets lost and has to be found? If so, it would’ve fallen into the same trap that many shows and movies have done in the past where they try too hard to keep a certain theme going that worked in the original, but ends up being a complete joke in later seasons. (It’s how we think about the upcoming 13 Reasons Why season. The story is over. Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) has gone through the tapes. The story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and her 13 reasons why she committed suicide is over.
Is there going to be a copycat? Are there going to be 13 reasons why something else happened? Anyway, when Disney bought Pixar in 2006, that version was scrapped. Maybe that was a good thing?
12 Mulan III
Mulan III would’ve been Disney’s chance to give the Mulan franchise a chance to redeem what was then, and still is, a vestigial grasp of its former glory. Many might not view Mulan as a classic (seeing as it didn’t gross nearly as much as earlier titans, such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King), but it did outperform its last two predecessors, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules, which Disney perceived as failures.
Anyway, Mulan II was a huge disappointment. The storyline wasn’t that great (and that’s conveying our sentiments kindly), and worst of all, the once-lovable dragon, Mushu, who was no longer voiced by Eddie Murphy but Mark Moseley, was pretty much a villain and a complete narcissistic, unempathetic jerk. Scott Gwin of CinemaBlend said it best by calling it a disgrace and describing it has having ripped apart what made the original film excellent to shreds before taking the eviscerated parts from the shredding portion of its assault on the original film and utilizing them as rat cage lining.
And there could be a reason for that. The writers of the first film, Raymond Singer and Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, who both won Annie Awards for their work in Mulan, weren’t available for the second movie because they were working on live-action projects.
Before the Mulan II project was cancelled, they submitted two Mulan III stories. But they apparently failed. As they shared in the interview, the stories had to go through the following process—development executives, then a VP, and then the president. Then, after getting the story they like, they would then have to pitch it to the VP, and then the VP would suggest changes.
11 The Aristocats II
(Disclaimer: Those above sketches for Aristocats II are official.)
The main problem with what would’ve been the Aristocats II is that it wouldn’t have taken place in Paris like its predecessor. Seeing as the story would’ve transpired on a luxury cruise ship, the majority of the film would’ve therefore taken place...well...on that aforementioned ship.
If we were to try and equate that mess into the first Aristocats film, it would pretty much be like if the entire movie took place in retired opera diva Madame Adelaide Bonfamille’s mansion. Sure, the mansion was grand and full of minute details, but it was just one setting.
Aristocats involved Duchess and her three kittens getting kidnapped and taken the countryside, hitchhiking in a milk truck, crossing a railroad trestle (narrowly avoiding an oncoming train in the process), more than one cat falling in a river, traveling across the rooftops of Paris, and hanging out in Scat Cat and his musicians’ crib (where we got to hear the incredibly catchy song “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat”). At least, the mono-setting Aristocrats II would’ve had the same characters. Plus, the main focus would’ve been on the b*tchy kitten, Marie, who would’ve become stricken with another kitty on board.
10 Treasure Planet II
Treasure Planet is one of the few highly-underrated films in Disney’s repertoire (and why, due to its box office failure, a sequel was never made). It took on an apt follow-the-leader strategy to do so with Star Wars: A New Hope (before Disney butchered yet another retelling of said film in the horrific X-Wing wreck that was The Force Awakens).
In it, we saw a teenager named Jim (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), not Luke (Mark Hamill), enchanted by stories of the beyond—not of the Alliance’s battle against the evil Galactic Empire but of treasure hunting—but who was “trapped” in the mundane existence of everyday life where he didn’t help run a farm but an inn. However, he gets immersed in an otherworldly state of affairs when a spaceship crashes.
In this sequel, we would’ve seen our hero return; this time, with a love interest and enrolled at the Royal Interstellar Academy (remember: Jim became a cadet by the end of the film’s) and later caught up in a quest with Long John Silver, yes, Long John Silver who’d battle Willem Dafoe. Well, his character, Ironbeard.
9 The Jungle Book 3
(Disclaimer: That Rikki-Tikki-Tavi nonsense has nothing to do with Disney. It just had a “3” in the name.)
It’s surprising that a third Jungle Book film never came to fruition, especially since, aside from it being critically panned by anyone and everyone, the second movie was a box office success—the budget was $20 million, and it grossed over $135 million.
(An interesting fact: the Jungle Book II was the third animated Disney sequel to not be a direct-to-video venture, behind The Rescuers Down Under and Return to Never Land.)
Anyway, this third installment of the Jungle Book story could’ve involved the capture and selling of Baloo and Shere Khan to a Russian circus. An interesting manifestation of character evolution would’ve transpired over the course of the sequel (and would’ve been indicative of Disney’s obsession with Stockholm Syndrome) if the movie did come out—Shere Khan coming to regret his hatred of mankind, a viewpoint caused by his capture.
Who doesn’t love some good old Stockholm Syndrome? Anyway, after the release (and success) of the live-action Jungle Book project, it would probably be in Disney’s best interest to piggyback on that momentum and bring this story back on the table.
8 Pinocchio II
What makes us salivate at the mention of a “Pinocchio II” project is the chance that the creators would’ve attempted to emulate the artwork as seen in the 1940’s film. You don’t see such attention to detail in today’s films, and it would’ve been a treat to see it come alive once more.
Now, the only turn-off that we can foresee (if the film was still in production) is that the story would undoubtedly have revolved around Pinocchio as a real boy and not a puppet who had no strings to hold him up. This is a negative detail because the dynamic movements of his puppet body not only added a divagation from all of the other “living” characters, but also some comedic and intriguing elements that you can’t capture in a character who’s made up like you and us. But maybe, just maybe, Pinocchio, never having learned from his perpetual need to lie, could’ve reverted back to his puppet-like state as punishment in this story. That would’ve been cool!
Another interesting plot device would’ve been him saving the children who’d originally been brought to Pleasure Island and turned into donkeys to be sold into slavery.
The ideas are limitless!
7 Dumbo II
(Disclaimer: Again, these are official drawings.)
One of the many, many caveats of creating a sequel is that you will undoubtedly succumb to what we call the “many years later” syndrome. Fans who have fallen in love with an original story only have an infatuation for that setting and its characters (at that point).
Reentering a world by skipping a great deal of time in the process separates you farther and farther from what captured everyone’s hearts to begin with.
Dumbo II was going to circumvent that potential disaster entirely by having the story begin one day—yes, around the span of 24 hours—after the events of the initial film. After hearing the synopsis, it has a Home Alone II vibe, seeing as the movie’s characters (Dumbo, Timothy Q. Mouse, and many more) would’ve inevitably gotten lost (and separated) in New York City.
An interesting metaphor was also pitched—each character would have represented a different stage of childhood. Kinda sounds like that “popular” Winnie The Pooh theory, huh? Oh, and Disney was so sure that the sequel was going to happen that they not only made a trailer but included it on the Dumbo: 60th Anniversary Edition DVD.
6 Hercules II - The Trojan War
Okay, okay. We’re aware of the inherent problem with the movie. Remember in the first (and only) Hercules, when the eponymous character’s so-to-be-trainer, the satyr Philoctetes, was explaining to Hercules why he didn’t train heroes anymore? Phil proved his point by showing off what would’ve been his big success—Achilles—a case-in-point affair when he, upon showing off Achilles’ statue, flicked the heel-region of the statue, which, rather appropriately, caused the statue to fall apart.
By this, it’s implied that the Trojan War had already happened because Achilles’ flaw was realized during said war.
Other than that ginormous plot hole, this would’ve been great! Creating a project that in any way correlates to the Iliad should be a home run—and a no-brainer for anyone in a leadership/decision-making position. You may not have liked the movie Troy (you know, the one where Brad Pitt was Achilles and Orlando Bloom was Paris and included…well…everyone else under Apollo’s sun?), but it was exceedingly popular and did quite well.
It’s just a great story—or should we say an epic story...err…poem? Sure, parts of the supposed Hercules II plot were mediocre—Hercules is still with Megara, they have a daughter named Hebe, and a friend of Hercules has gone missing (the only way that particular plot device would be engaging would be if that friend is Achilles). But the main drive is what counts, especially since we know that Helen is Hercules, and Meg’s friend and the one who’s “captured” is conveyed as “the evil Paris of Troy.”
So, that means Hercules was on the side of the Trojans. And guess who was fighting the Trojans? That’s right. Achilles. Who doesn’t want to see an Achilles vs. Hercules all-out brawl?
5 The Seven Dwarfs
All you need to know about this scrapped project was that it was planned on being a “Lord of the Rings-like franchise series.” That sounds amazing. Well, at least it is if the correlation to LOTR were a reference to the content and not the packaging, marketing, and allocation process. But we’re going to focus on the former as being the case.
As you may have been able to ascertain by its title, the movie would’ve focused on the seven dwarves not in a sequel but a prequel, chronicling their adventures before they met Snow White. It would’ve also been phenomenal if the art for the proposed project would’ve been exactly identical to the original’s, seeing as it was one of the best that Disney ever did.
If you’re curious as to how it might have looked, the concept was revived in The 7D airing on Disney XD.
4 Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost In Scaradise
(Disclaimer: These, too, are official drawings.)
Interestingly enough, there has already been an additional installment to what is now the Monsters Inc. franchise, Monsters University. But that was a prequel. This Monsters Inc. 2 would’ve been a sequel.
Originally, the first “installation” to the initial “We Scare Because We Care” mantra-centric film was going to actually take place after scaring kids became an outdated form of acquiring energy, later replaced by laughter. And, yes, the story would’ve revolved around Boo, who provided an insane amount of much-appreciated cute appeal in the original, even though Lost in Scaradise would’ve centered on her missing (therefore, not on camera).
In this story, Mike and Sulley (who, in the past case scenario, would’ve both been played by Billy Crystal and John Goodman, respectively) would’ve gone through Boo’s door to give her a birthday present, but would’ve lost their way back (in addition to not being able to find Boo). Hopefully, they would’ve found her halfway through, so we could enjoy more of her “I am Tigger!” exclamations. The film was cancelled after Circle 7 went defunct.
3 Aladdin 4
If there had never been Aladdin and the King of Thieves (also known as Aladdin 3), then the concept of a fourth installment would’ve been downright appalling. That’s because The Return of Jafar was pretty mediocre. It was a great concept, sure, but the horrific drawings, coupled with the Genie somehow having undergone throat reconstructive surgery (he was no longer voiced by Robin Williams but Dan Castellaneta), really made it a camel-convey wreck of a film. Again, the plot of The Return of Jafar showed real promise, especially the fact that Iago (still played by Gilbert Gottfried), sick of Jafar’s crap (Jafar also still played by Jonathan Freeman), actually turned on his boss and buddy-old-pal by forming a rather weak but interesting alliance with Aladdin (also still Scott Weinger).
But Aladdin and the King of Thieves was incredible as far as Disney sequels go, especially by playing off the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves which, like Aladdin, was part of the 1001 Arabian Nights, as well as fusing yet another well-known tale of King Midas with the Hand of Midas.
If Aladdin 4 had also been an amalgamation of actual lore from 1001 Arabian Nights, as well as other lore, it, too, had the potential of bringing a whole new world of excitement.
2 Toy Story 3, (Not That Toy Story 3)
(Disclaimer: Completely official drawings.)
No, this isn’t about the Toy Story 3 that came out. And no, we aren’t saying that we wish that this “Toy Story 3” came out instead, leading to the cancellation of the actual Toy Story 3. We’re just saying that this could’ve been an interesting third installment, bumping the actual third Toy Story film to the status of Part IV.
Either way, more stories about these particular toys will always be welcome, especially seeing how each one has been profoundly better than the one proceeding it. That’s a good pattern to follow, which is even better if you succeed.
In this tale, Buzz Lightyear would’ve been shipped to the place of his “birth,” Taiwan, to address a certain malfunction. The gang would’ve then realized (after perusing the world wide web) that Buzz’s problem wasn’t just an isolated incident; he was part of a massive recall and therefore, could likely be destroyed.
So, like all great Toy Story stories, we would’ve had multiple storylines. In one, Woody, Rex, Slinky, Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Jessie, and Bullseye would’ve gone to rescue Buzz, while Buzz met toys around the world that have been recalled (and no longer loved). That sounds incredible and, likely, another tearjerker like Toy Story 3.
Like others on this list, the story was scrapped after the fall of Circle 7.
1 Fantasia 2006
A big chunk of why we would’ve gladly accepted another Fantasia installment is because it would’ve helped us forget about the tragedy that was Fantasia 2000, a blasphemous attempt at reviving the Fantasia name that we blame a good deal on Steve Martin for turning the endeavor into a slapstick fest, instead of a celebration of the fusion between music and the magic of Disney animation through the visualization of song.
But, we don’t just want another Fantasia to forget the sequel. We want to see another masterpiece like the actual Fantasia. And we could’ve gotten one, except the plans were eventually dropped. But you can see some of the ideas—the segments that had been created were produced and released in stand-alone Disney-animated shorts.
The photo above depicts children in South Africa (inspired by a colorful feather), who made their own kites, creating a symbolism of unity and peace. It was ostensibly part of a segment that was meant for Fantasia 2006, set to the tune of “One By One,” a song that was cut from The Lion King. (You can watch a version as a bonus feature in The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.)