EXCLUSIVE: ‘Strange World’ Directors Reveal Much Darker Version of Film

Strange World, Disney’s next major animated film, is almost in theaters, and it promises to be another joyous, family friendly ride from the House of Mouse. However, according to directors Qui Nguyen and Don Hall, there was almost a version of the movie that was much darker. Speaking exclusively with Murphy’s Multiverse, the veteran creatives were asked if there’d been any unused ideas they wished could have stayed in the movie, or that they hoped people might one day see. Nguyen answered the question first, revealing an early take on the story that involved a lot more violence:

We had so many. That’s the joy of making one of these films. We get to play with a lot of different ideas, especially in the story stage. We had a series of deaths that were – like we were murdering different characters throughout. There was a version of the movie where, like, the whole crew is dead and you have a feral Callisto at the end who’s like “I’m enraged! I will destroy this place no matter what I do!”

Qui Nguyen

Strange World revolves around the Clade family, as they explore an unknown world in search of something that might save their homeland. The farmer Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), his adventurous son Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White), his proactive wife Meridian Clade (Gabrielle Union), and his larger-than-life father, Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid). They are joined on their journey by Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), the President of Avalonia and leader of an exploration group assigned to help the Clades on their mission. As Nguyen described, Callisto was almost a villainous presence in the film, and apparently, Jaeger was originally a bit scarier as well:

We had a much more barbarian type of Jaeger who like killed a giant caterpillar monster with his bare hands, which was really cool. So, there’s a lot of iterations of this film that were really fun to do…like, what if Jaeger was a lot more barbaric or Callisto was a lot more angry or something like that.

Qui Nguyen

Not all of the abandoned concepts were so gloomy, however, as Hall chimed in to discuss his favorite deleted scenes. The former Big Hero 6 director explained that one of the creatures in the film, lovingly referred to as a “Poop Pickle”, was intended to play a much bigger role. Unfortunately, time didn’t allow this to happen:

Yeah, and the creatures that show up, sort of, a little way through the movie in the acid lake. Those kind of green, blobby things we call “Poop Pickles”. We had storyboarded scenes where those creatures were explored more extensively and they were all very funny and kind of wonderful. We just didn’t have time to support that much. We needed them to do what they do in the movie, which is help them get out of a jam. But who knows? Maybe in the future we’ll get to explore some more about the world of the Poop Pickles.

Don Hall

Strange World is now in theaters.

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