12 Moments In Direct-To-Video Disney Sequels That Change The Original Films
Disney direct-to-video sequels have been a dime a dozen over the years. If there was ever a tried and true statement, it’s that the original is always (usually) the best. This is especially true for Disney movies - many animated Disney classics have been blessed with follow-ups that the masses aren't familiar with. Not necessarily because of the quality of the films themselves but because sequels can introduce changes that reframe the original film or flat-out contradict it. And no one likes change. Especially when it alters the way we remember National Film Registry tenants like The Lion King.
Of course, sometimes change is a good thing - Disney sequels can be the House of Mouse's best work. Regardless, this list will outline the moments in Disney sequels that are strange/surprising in light of the first movies.
At the end of The Emperor's New Groove, the villainous Yzma falls victim to one of the film’s many vials and transforms herself into a small cat. Unfortunately for her, Kuzco then drinks the human vial, ending his tenure as a llama and leaving Yzma as a cat - which, like Aladdin's Jafar becoming a genie, is a fitting end.
The spinoff/sequel follows Yzma’s dim-witted yet lovable assistant, Kronk, the restaurant he opened after the first film, and his desire to impress his father. For whatever reason, Kronk’s New Groove sees Yzma human again - minus a tail.
While Bambi’s dad, the so-called Great Prince of the Forest, is in the first film, one could certainly make the argument that the guy is a dead-beat dad. Bambi II negates this argument.
The midquel takes place directly after the demise of Bambi’s mom and outlines the relationship between Bambi and his father, who bond as the former grows into a young buck - which proves the Great Prince of the Forest is more hands-on. Still, that makes us feel only a tad better about the whole "dead mom" thing.
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The Glass Slipper Fits Anastasia Instead In 'Cinderella III'
Cinderella III changes everything we know about Cinderella. The film sees Cinderella’s stepsisters swipe the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand and use it to travel through time and change the size of the famous glass slipper so that it fits Anastasia instead of the title character. (Side note: that wand is so OP, it might as well be Thanos's fully stocked Infinity Gauntlet.)
Despite being almost certain Anastasia isn’t his one true love, Prince Charming temporarily submits to the circumstances of the slipper. When his confidence in slipper law begins to fade, Lady Tremaine/Wicked Stepmother uses the Infinity Wand to make Anastasia look more like Cinderella. However, it still isn’t enough to overcome true love. Eventually, Anastasia sees the error of her ways, resulting in a happy ending where Cinderella and Prince Charming end up together and Anastasia takes the “wicked” out of wicked stepsister.
- Photo: Walt Disney Home Video
The Lion King is pretty black and white. Mufasa and Simba are good. Scar is bad. The same can't be said for its direct sequel, The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride. The film picks up with King Simba and Queen Nala's daughter, Kiara - who has had enough of her father’s overbearing parenting. Following the events of the first film, Simba exiled everyone who supported Scar to the Outlands. These “Outsiders” are led by Zira, who believes her son, Kovu, will one day be the King of Pride Rock.
Mirroring Simba and Nala’s story, Kiara and Kovu fall in love. Unfortunately, Simba forbids their relationship because Kovu is both an outsider and looks just like Scar. Thankfully, The Lion King II still benefits from the wisdom of Rafiki - Disney’s Yoda before they owned Star Wars.
Inspired by Victor Hugo's gothic novel, Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame follows the disfigured bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral, who learns to leave his tower and be a part of the world. Despite saving but not getting the girl, Esmeralda, Quasimodo walks away from the first film a hero who is accepted by society and, more importantly, himself.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II erases Quasimodo's character growth by stripping him of his confidence. It's a wonder why he isn't still hiding out with his gargoyles in this rom-com that undermines all of the original film’s message (even if it thinks it’s doing the opposite with a love interest who’s “too pretty”).
- Photo: Walt Disney Home Video
Pocahontas tells the supposed epic love story of English explorer John Smith and the eponymous Native American. Usually, Disney couples last forever - from Belle and Beast to Cinderella and Prince Charming (we assume they’re still together). However, despite the Pocahontas franchise’s proclivity for playing fast and loose with historical events (not to mention egregious stereotypes), the second film introduces the real-life Pocahontas’s husband, John Wolfe, an English diplomat assigned to negotiations between the English and the "natives."
So, Pocahontas goes to England with her initial frenemy, John #2, to convince the English king to stop taking the lives of her people. Ultimately, this results in a very awkward love triangle riddled with longing looks.