The Original Concept for ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ had the Entire Film Take Place in a Young Aborigine’s Dream
The Rescuers Down Under is a good, solid film. Unfortunately, it was released between two all-caps MASTERPIECES — The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast — thus damning it to a second rate status in the eyes of most animation fans. Ah, but things could’ve been quite different.
The original concept for The Rescuers Down Under was so wildly original that, had the suits green-lit it, the film might’ve stood should-to-shoulder with the rest of the pics released during the Disney Renaissance. Of course, suits being suits, this was never going to happen…
In a 2011 interview with The Animation Guild Blog, Michael Cedeno, assistant animator on The Rescuers Down Under‘s Marahute and Cody, described the original concept for the film:
“[The Rescuers Down Under] started with a little Aborigine kid, an orphan, and he was doing sand paintings. It was [basically one long] dream sequence. Mike Gabriel was working on it at the time, and he’s got such a great mind with stories. […] It was really emotional in that it was a dream sequence and [that’s why] he could talk to animals. It was this transfer of knowledge [between the Aborigine boy and] the animals.
“And then it became a little Australian boy. And then…a little British boy. And then he lost his accent and it just became a ‘White’ thing, and then the story just meandered until — gosh, I wish it just stuck to the one original element.”
You and me both, Mike. You and me both.