Pixar has made more than twelve feature films as well as some twenty shorts. However, not all of their projects went past beyond the pre-production phase. Some of them were abandoned while others were altered and worked into an existing film. In this feature you can read about the various projects Pixar dropped.
A Tin Toy Christmas.
In 1988, the short film Tin Toy met with great success. After having made several television commercials, Pixar decided to come up with a sequel a year later, this time designed as part of a special event for the television market. They thus expected to broadcast even more thanks to this network.
The storyline featured Tinny, a little musical toy that had ended up in the warehouse of a leading toy store following poor sales. After years of waiting, he wakes up at Christmas and then tries to find his old friends. In his search he will come across a ventriloquist’s dummy and an old toy.
The budget required to make this short film was never fully allocated by the channel that was supposed to broadcast it, which thus brought the film production to a standstill.
In an interview given to “Makin’ Toons”, Pete Docter went back over the project:
“We sat around, and we thought and we thought. I remember John finally saying, ‘What if we took this ‘Tin Toy Christmas’ and extrapolate it out into a feature?’ Well, we didn’t know what we were doing, so we just said ‘Sure!’.
And that was the beginning of ‘Toy Story'”.
It indeed took John Lasseter two years to get Toy Story up and running. The crews used ideas from the short to work it into the film. Tinny was replaced by Buzz and the ventriloquist’s dummy by Woody. In the short film there was a penguin that became Wheezy the Penguin in Toy Story 2, and a bear whose part was assigned to Lotso in Toy Story 3.
The yellow car.
In 1998, at the time A Bug’s Life was being made, Jorgen Klubien (a Pixarian of Danish descent) had a new film project in mind, one that was meant to be Pixar’s next release. He intended to draw inspiration from his roots to derive a story from them.
“In Denmark there has never been car production because the country is too small. Yet in the 1980s some enthusiastic folks got the idea of making a three-wheeled one-person car that ran on electricity. They put it into production and it worked great in the city, but out on the highway it was too slow. People also thought that (this) car was ugly. I thought that the electric car was ahead of its time, and it struck me odd that my fellow Danes didn’t agree. […] What happened with this car reminded me of “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Anderson. This famous Danish character wasn’t accepted at first, but in the end it proved to be right on the money.”.
And so he transposed this Danish fairy tale into an American setting. He decided to set the story in a small town where all the inhabitants would be cars. The electric Yellow Car was meant to arrive in town and become the laughing stock of the other cars that ran on petrol. It was gradually to be accepted by the residents and win their sympathy.
When John Lasseter was shown the story he fell in love with the concept. He kept in mind two characters in particular: a hippie Volkswagen Bus called Fillmore and an army Jeep that went by the name of Sarge.
Despite his interest in the project, John Lasseter did not find it substantial enough to make a feature-length film. In his view there was need for a stronger-minded character to stand out against the bucolic setting. So he created Lightning McQueen.
As you will have guessed, The Yellow Car gave birth to Cars.
Toy Story 3.
The title of this section may seem surprising, but we will not be bringing up the Pixar film here.
Indeed, according to the terms that bind Disney and Pixar, the characters created by the studios with the hopping desk lamp belong to Disney. In 2004, when the two animation studios were in dispute, Michael Eisner (then Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company) decided to bring out a sequel to Toy Story 2 by entrusting one of their brand-new studios, Circle 7 Animation, with the task.
Jim Herzfeld was in charge of the screenplay. Buzz Lightyear is shipped to Taiwan – where he was designed – in order to be repaired. The manufacturer issues a mass recall of all the Buzz Lightyears from all over the world. Afraid their friend might be destroyed, Woody and other toys go to his rescue.
In the end, in 2006, when Disney bought Pixar, Circle 7 Animation was shut down and the story was shelved. The Pixar crew did obviously not keep it in mind when writing the masterpiece we are acquainted with today.
News toys :
Monsters, inc 2.
“What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other?” Such was the storyline in 2008 for newt, which was originally due out in 2011 and was then pushed back to 2012, only to be eventually cancelled in 2010.
Directed by Gary Rydstrom, this film about amphibians was cancelled without Pixar giving any official reasons:
“We have taken newt off of our development schedule to allow our creative teams to focus on these upcoming projects”.
At that point Rio was released in cinemas. Here was a film produced by Blue Sky Studios and whose story was similar to newt. John Lasseter spoke about it during an interview with IGN:
“We’ve put movies into development and some get further than others and then we feel like things just aren’t quite ready we put them to the side and that’s just been put on a shelf and we’ll see where that goes in the future. Its story was very similar to a movie that’s out in theaters right now with a blue parrot. Oh my! Wow, we were like … no, there was no … great minds think alike, I guess. It was really pretty similar”.
We can assume that Pixar preferred to cancel its project so as not to end up involved in yet another plagiarism suit as they were several years earlier with another one of their film productions. A little Easter egg was seen in Toy Story 3 through the door that has a logo with an amphibian on it.
As we have seen, though these projects were dropped they reappeared in one form or another in another Pixar film production. We can assume on that account that we will be hearing about newt again in a few years’ time.