"Where The Wild Things Are" was supposed to be "Where The Wild Horses Are." It was only changed because the author, Maurice Sendak, found out he couldn't draw horses.
This is just one of the many iconic things from your childhood that almost turned out completely differently. In some cases, they were close to never having existed at all. If you're curious just how different your formative years could have been, read on and freak out when you realize how everything could have been way, way different.
1. Cookie Monster was originally green and ate electronics.
Cookie Monster was originally known as "Wheel-Stealer" and had green fur and a mouth full of sharp teeth. At first Cookie Monster ate electronics and foods besides cookies, since he was used in commercials for General Foods, IBM and Munchos.
2. The Nintendo 64 and Playstation almost didn't exist as competitors.
Instead of being fierce competitors in the console wars, Nintendo and Sony almost teamed up in the early 90s to produce a Nintendo Playstation. It was potentially going to be named the "Power Station."
3. Spongebob Squarepants was supposed to be called Spongeboy.
4. If it was actually based on biological accuracy, "Finding Nemo" would have scarred you for life.
If the storyline of "Finding Nemo" was more scientifically accurate, Marlin, Nemo's clownfish father, should have anatomically changed his gender to become his mother after her death, and then mated with Nemo to replace the devoured eggs. Also, the fish shouldn't have been able to talk.
5. Ron and Hermione shouldn't have ended up together.
In an interview with Emma Watson, J.K. Rowling admitted that Hermione and Harry Potter should have ended up together at the end of the series. Rowling explained that she "wrote the Hermione / Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment," as that had been her original plan, but that in the "literature" sense the two should not have gotten married. Later on Rowling said that Hermione and Ron would have just needed a bit of counseling to make their marriage work
6. Twinkies had a banana cream filling at first.
Twinkies were first made in 1930 with banana cream filling. During World War II, there was a national banana shortage, so Hostess switched to vanilla. These early Twinkies only had a shelf life of a couple days.
7. The Joker was supposed to be killed off immediately.
The Joker was originally rejected as a character in the Batman universe. When later accepted, the now-iconic villain was supposed to be killed off at the time of his second appearance. But DC Comics ended up deciding he might just have some potential.
8. Shrek almost had a Canadian accent, not a Scottish one.
During a roundtable interview for the Nantucket Film Festival, Mike Myers, voice of Shrek, revealed that his accent for the character was supposed to be Canadian, but he convinced Dreamworks to allow him to rerecord it in a Scottish voice. Myers originally took over the role from Chris Farley when he died in 1997.
9. Marge Simpson was created to be a rabbit in disguise.
"Simpsons" creator Matt Groening originally wanted Marge Simpson to be an anthropomorphic rabbit disguised as a human. Apparently Groening imagined an episode where Marge would finally let her hair down and reveal her rabbit ears, showing that she was like a character from his "Life In Hell" comic series.
10. The Rubik's Cube wasn't supposed to be a puzzle.
When the Rubik's cube was first created, it wasn't intended to be "solved." The inventor, Ernö Rubik, thought it would be interesting enough to be able to twist the different sides every which way. Rubik eventually decided it could be fun to make the colors go back to their original spaces and took a month trying to solve the cube.
11. The Mario universe was almost the Popeye universe.
The Mario universe was created only when its inventor, Shigeru Miyamoto, failed to secure the rights to make a "Popeye" video game. The original "Donkey Kong" game, in which the character Mario (originally called "Jumpman") was also introduced, was supposed to feature Popeye saving Olive Oyl from Bluto.
12. "Lord of the Rings" was nearly scrapped for a "Hobbit" sequel focusing just on Bilbo.
"The Lord of the Rings" series was supposed to be a more straightforward sequel to the "The Hobbit" that would focus on Bilbo Baggins instead of the "one ring." Also in the original release of "The Hobbit," Gollum didn't really care about losing the ring, meaning it wouldn't have been his "precious."
13. "Toy Story 2" wasn't supposed to make it to theaters.
Pixar was originally asked to make a direct-to-video sequel for "Toy Story" which would only be 60 minutes. The work ended up being so impressive that Disney ended up green-lighting a true sequel.
14. "The Jetsons" were almost canceled after a single season.
Although now iconic, the show originally didn't make it past its first season in 1962. It wasn't until the 1980s that the show came back on the air due to syndication success of that one season.
15. The "Wild Things" were supposed to be "Wild Horses."
Maurice Sendak first envisioned a children's story called "Where The Wild Horses Are" before settling on the monster-oriented storyline we now know. He scrapped this idea because he couldn't draw the horses. The horses storyline had been approved by Sendak's editor, who got angry when he couldn't do the horses. He responded that he'd just draw "things" instead.
16. The 3 Musketeers chocolate bar used to actually include three flavors.
The candy got its name from having three flavors: vanilla and strawberry along with the now solely present chocolate. Mars stopped using strawberry and vanilla to save money due to shortages during World War II.
17. "Mortal Kombat" only exists because Jean-Claude Van Damme turned down his own game.
The game was supposed to be a vehicle for Jean-Claude Van Damme, but the licensing was too expensive. "Mortal Kombat" came out of the licensing failure and the Van Damme character became Johnny Cage.
18. Koffing and Weezing were initially created to mock pollution in New York City and Los Angeles.
The Pokémon Koffing and Weezing were originally going to be called "NY" and "LA" to make fun of the air pollution of the two cities. This would have only been in English versions of the game.
19. Marty McFly almost went back in time in a time-traveling refrigerator, not a Delorean.
In the original script for "Back to the Future," McFly was supposed to use a time-traveling friedge that would be driven into a Nevada nuclear testing site. As producer Steven Spielberg didn't want kids replicating the scene and getting stuck in their fridges, the script was rewritten to include the Delorean. Later, Spielberg would have Indiana Jones climb into a fridge to survive an atomic bomb.
20. Monopoly was supposed to be a teaching game about the ills of monopolies.
The Monopoly game was actually originally called "The Landlord's Game" and was invented in 1903 by a Quaker named Elizabeth Magie. The patent was bought out by Parker Brothers for $500, and the game was modified to cut the originally included second round, which taught of the problems of monopolies.
21. "The Emperor's New Groove" wasn't supposed to be a comedy.
Originally titled "Kingdom of the Sun," what would later become "The Emperor's New Groove" was supposed to be more dramatic, similar to the "The Lion King." The film ended up taking a more wacky approach.
22. Abba almost did the music for "The Lion King" instead of Elton John.
Abba was Disney's first choice, but the group wasn't available at the time. Elton John was into the idea because he wanted to write "ultra-pop songs that kids would like; then adults can go and see those movies and get just as much pleasure out of them."
23. Inspector Gadget should have had a mustache.
In the 1983 pilot episode of Inspector Gadget, "Winter Olympics," the inspector had a mustache. MGM sent DIC a letter asking them to shave the 'stache because Gadget looked too much like Inspector Clouseau from their "Pink Panther" series.
24. Will Smith might have never been "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
Will Smith owed the IRS $2.8 million in back taxes and was facing bankruptcy when he was approached by NBC to star in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." The IRS ended up taking 70 percent out of his paychecks for the first three years of the show.
25. The Hulk was supposed to be gray.
Due to ink problems, The Hulk's original gray design was accidentally changed to green. Creator Stan Lee ended up not minding the ink problem and so The Hulk has mainly been green ever since.
Image credit to Random Nerdom
26. The Powerpuff Girls were first the Whoopass Girls.
The show's creator, Craig McCracken, first called the iconic crime-fighting team the Whoopass Girls in a school project at the California Institute of the Arts. Instead of Chemical X, they were powered by a can of whoopass.
27. Kirby wasn't ever supposed to be a real character.
Game designer Masahiro Sakurai used a marshmallowey sprite/blob in place of the intended hero. Instead of replacing the blob with the originally planned hero, the title was released with the puffy character we now know as Kirby.
28. Arnold was originally a claymation.
The "Hey Arnold!" series was originally made with claymation in a series of shorts, some of which aired during "Sesame Street" and before the movie "Harriet The Spy." The football head is from the claymation days as the creator, Craig Bartlett, found it "easily formed with plasticine."
29. Superman was initially intended to be a villain.
Superman's first appearance was as a bald supervillain bent on destruction in the 1933 story, "The Reign of the Super-Man." Since the story didn't do well, creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster re-invented the character as a moral superhero.
30. "The Sims" was envisioned as an architecture simulator.
The video game was originally intended to be more about the houses you could build, with the Sims characters simply there to evaluate the job you were doing. Eventually creators figured out the Sims were more interesting than just the houses, and so the game was tweaked to focus on the humans.
31. "The Little Mermaid" was almost made in the 1930s (instead of in 1989).
Disney initially considered releasing a "The Little Mermaid" movie in the 1930s and had artist Kay Nielsen sketch out potential directions for the animation. The idea ended up being put on hold until the 1980s, but Nielsen received a posthumous credit for "visual development" on the film.
32. Hawaiian Punch was supposed to be an ice cream topping, not a beverage.
"Leo's Hawaiian Punch" was originally intended to just be a syrup topping for ice cream. Eventually the "Leo's" was dropped from the name and it became a drink staple for kids.
33. Kyle was nearly killed off in "South Park."
"South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were growing tired of the similarities between characters Stan and Kyle, and therefore considered killing off Kyle and replacing him with Butters. They ended up deciding against it, but based on this idea, they killed off the character Kenny and kept him dead for much longer than they had in previous episodes.
34. "Beetlejuice" was originally supposed to be much darker -- and not funny.
The original script for "Beetlejuice" was much more graphically violent, focusing on the horror aspects of the story instead of comedy. The character Beetlejuice wasn't supposed to be charming and according to Indiewire, "instead he was envisioned as leather-winged demon whose humanoid form is that of a squat Middle Eastern man (subsequent drafts had him talking in a kind of African American pidgin dialect)."
35. "Doctor Who" was intended to be an educational show.
When "Doctor Who" first aired in 1963, the show was intended to be educational programming with two of the main characters being a history teacher and a science teacher. This lasted until the late '60s, when the adventures through time had less to do with teaching about history and involved more aliens.
36. "Pocahontas" nearly featured talking animals and a turkey voiced by John Candy.
Candy was supposed to voice a talking turkey named Redfeather in the movie "Pocahontas," before his death in 1994 forced the filmmakers to cut the character. More animals in the film were actually supposed to talk, but the cutting of Redfeather prompted Disney to keep all the animals from talking in the film.
Image: Disney Wikia
37. Mr. Potato Head was at first just an actual potato.
Mr. Potato Head was originally a set of facial-feature pins that children could stick into potatoes and make funny faces with. It wasn't until 1964 that a plastic potato started being sold along with the pins.
38. "I am your father" almost didn't exist in Star Wars.
According to one account, it wasn't until after the original "Star Wars" film was released and became successful enough for a sequel that George Lucas changed the intended plot of the series and decided Darth Vader would be Luke Skywalker's father. Also, the Skywalker last name was originally Starkiller, and the iconic Vader helmet was originally just supposed to be used as part of a spacesuit instead of his normal gear.
39. Bowser from the "Mario" franchise should actually have been an ox.
Bowser was originally sketched as an ox by creator Shigeru Miyamoto, but the animator misinterpreted the drawing as a turtle. Miyamoto ended up being into the new idea and so Bowser officially became a turtle.
40. "E.T." was initially intended to scare the hell out of you, even though it probably ended up doing that anyways.
Originally called "Night Skies," the film was going to follow aliens terrorizing a Kentucky family's farm by dissecting their animals before turning on the humans. This film ended up getting reworked and became "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."
41. There wasn't supposed to be a multiplayer mode in "GoldenEye 007."
Despite defining many childhoods, the multiplayer option for "GoldenEye 007" was a complete afterthought and was put together in the last six weeks of the game's development. The option was created somewhat secretly by just a couple programmers and Nintendo and even the developer, Rare, actually didn't approve or know of the multiplayer addition of the game until it was finished. Nintendo also almost gave up on the game (thinking there were too many bugs) and stopped funding the project at one point. Thankfully, they changed their minds.
All images Getty unless otherwise noted.