Scrapped Disney Animation (1980s)

Sometimes, despite an initial creative vision or promising team, Disney movies get shelved indefinitely or scrapped altogether. Despite the studio’s consistent releases, especially since the 90s, you might be surprised to learn Disney has quite a few projects left behind.

Here’s a look back at all of the projects that were either put on permanent hiatus or cancelled during the 1980s. In the future, it’s always possible one of these will end up in theaters!

Note: the dates listed next to each title are the dates of project cancellations. 

  • Musicana (1980) – This film wasn’t scrapped so much as evolved; it eventually expanded to become Fantasia 2000, which was a series of connected segments set to music.
  • Catfish Bend (1981) – Based on the book series of the same name by Ben Lucien Burman. This movie would follow the lives of the animal residents in the bend. Despite several rounds of creative treatments, the film never got the green light, and Disney ultimately dropped its option.
  • Where the Wild Things Are (1983) – Based on the classic children’s book by Maurice Sendak. Animators created test footage combining animation with computer generation, but the project never went beyond the initial testing.
  • Mistress Masham’s Repose (1985) – Based on the story of the same name by TH White. The film began development before the release of The Black Cauldron. Some execs liked the film, but others hated it, eventually leading to an ongoing hiatus that ended when the production team was fired.
  • Army Ants (1988) – An original Disney story following a peaceful ant navigating a military colony. The idea never really got off the ground, and was more a concept than an official project. But the idea came back to life with Pixar’s A Bug’s Life a decade later.

This list does not include sequels or remakes of previous Disney films. For an even more comprehensive list, including animated short films, check out the Wikipedia page here.

Previous editions of this roundup:

Stay tuned for further editions with earlier decades!

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