Magic Bloom (1999 Winx Club Pilot)
|Winx Club Pilot|
|Early promotional image.|
Winx Club is a phenomenon in Europe, and has even graced American airwaves twice: first, running from 2004-2009 (dubbed by 4Kids) and a second time, this time around, dubbed by Nickelodeon (2010-present.) While it still hasn't made quite the mark in America that it has in Europe, it's still a considerable success. However, before it became the smash-hit it is today, it went through several test stages, only small pieces of which have seen the light of day.
Magic Bloom (1999)
The first known incarnation of the series was titled Magic Bloom and was made circa 1999 as a proof of concept. In this stage, the main characters were aged 13-14 instead of 15-16, as they are in the series proper. There are rumors that the characters had different names, but there is no source for this information. Most notably, the series was, at this stage, made for a much younger audience in mind, and the character designs hadn't been finalized. The initial character designs and 20 seconds of footage have both been leaked onto the internet; the source of these are unknown. Some additional, shorter pieces of footage have been released to the public (seen in 4Kid's promotional DVD from 2003, as well as the 4Kids opening) that can't be identified from proper Winx episodes, leading many to believe that these scenes were from the Magic Bloom pilot and were re-used for promotional materials due to the final show not having enough completed footage to use.
Additionally, there are claims that 15 episodes were produced under this moniker and aired on Cartoon Network in 1999, and the episodes were later destroyed after it couldn't retain ratings, after which it was retooled into Winx Club, as well as rumors that dolls were designed by Mattel. On top of both claims being completely unsourced, there are no records of Magic Bloom appearing on Cartoon Network at any point in time, no one has come forward with recordings of the series, and funding 15 episodes of an animated series is expensive (Winx Club episodes proper cost $500,00 per episode), so it's very unlikely that a then-small company, such as Rainbow sp.A, would fund an entire series run and then completely destroy the masters because of bad ratings. As for the Mattel rumor, there are no records of Mattel registering any of the alleged original Winx Club names for future use.
What footage that has been found is incredibly grainy and low-quality, meaning that it may be sourced from an early version of Rainbow spA's website. Additionally, all copies of the pilot footage that are currently circulating on the internet has replaced audio, either with the Polish-language version, the original Italian opening, or audio from the American 4Kids dub, indicating that the audio from what has been found may be damaged or nonexistent.
Winx: Just Fairies! (2001)
Even less is known about this stage of the series' development. One image exists with the Winx: Just Fairies! logo, which interestingly also has the finished designs of the three characters who appear in it. This image was on Rainbow spA's website in early 2003. This was presumably the last stage that the show went through before becoming Winx Club.