Pixar has a good claim to being the most iconic and successful studio of the 21st century. The vast majority of their films are narratively, technically and thematically spectacular, outpourings of creativity that put their competitors to shame. Most of their movies seem so perfectly formed, in fact, that it’s difficult to imagine them any other way. But, according to this new video released by the studio (seen below), some of their biggest hits could have been vastly different.
One of the most interesting facts comes early on, explaining some of the original thinking for Inside Out. Rather than five clearly defined emotions governing Riley’s actions, there were a colossal 27. All of these competing emotions had unique names and personalities, each jockeying for control of poor Riley. It sounds a little crowded to me, so I’m glad they cut the cast down and focused on developing the five we got.
A little more promising is the scrapped introduction to Toy Story 3. You’ll remember that the opening of the film shows our toy heroes working their way through one of Andy’s fantasies, including an exciting train chase and an appearance by the villainous Dr. Porkchop. Apparently, the original script had the same basic idea, beginning in what seems like Andy’s Western fantasy. As Woody rides through a dusty town, Buzz flies down and blocks his way. It looks as if the scene is set for a standoff, only for the toys to suddenly find themselves at a pop concert. The killer gag being that this is Molly’s somewhat more feminine play session.
Other changes include the gradual evolution of Up‘s narrative. The initial plan was for the story to be about two brothers living in a magical floating city, which evolved element by element into an old man in a floating house. Similarly, Ratatouille‘s first draft featured Remy’s mother, Desiree. Even Pixar’s completely discarded ideas apparently find new homes though, with a planned movie about blobs that spoke gibberish being scrapped early on, with the designs eventually emerging as the residents of the Axiom in Wall-E.
All this behind the scenes information is a bonanza for Pixar fans. Despite a couple of missteps in recent years, they’re still by some degree the best animation studio in the world. Admittedly, I don’t think I’d prefer these original ideas to what we actually got, but getting any window into their creative process is fine by me.