What Could Have Been: American Dog
Bolt originally began its life as a completely different movie. Written and directed by Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch and later How To Train Your Dragon), it starred Henry, a television stay who finds himself stranded in the middle of the Nevada desert with a one-eyed cat and an oversized, radioactive rabbit… all looking for new home while Henry believed himself to still be on TV. The animation style was more in Sanders style, with Henry looking very similar to Stitch and having a much more quirky sense to it.
Then there was that whole Disney buying out Pixar thing and John Lasseter as their Chief Creative Executive and giving him the power of God to veto stories, animation, and even directors. And just a heads up, Lasseter was a pretty vocal about not being a fan of Lilo & Stitch…
So heads butted, production didn’t movie forward, storylines were dropped, and Sanders was fired from the project. And later left the entire Walt Disney Company. Word aroudn the rumor mill says that Lasseter had made several notes for American Dog, and Sanders refused to take any of them. With a deadline approaching, and production not reaching the place Lasster needed it to be, Sanders was let go.
Sanders went on to direct the megahit, How to Train Your Dragon with DreamWorks, and American Dog transformed into Bolt, now directed by Chris Williams (who worked on Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, and the upcoming ever in Development Hell, King of the Elves) and Byron Howard (Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, and eventual director of Tangled).
It’s a shame that we didn’t get to experience a spiritual sequel to Lilo & Stitch from Chris Sanders, but the movie that we got it still pretty awesome. So who knows? At least How to Train Your Dragon was awesome (even if it being a DreamWorks movie… blegh… I obviously have a poor taste for DreamWorks movies haha)