Tinker Bell (partially found first draft of Disney animated film; 2007)

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TinkerBellOldTitle.PNG

Early title screen.

Status: Partially Found

Tinker Bell is a 2008 movie starring the titular fairy from Disney's Peter Pan movies and their then-recently-launched Disney Fairies book series, and this movie itself also spawned no less than 5 sequels. While the completed movie was about Tinker Bell arriving in Pixie Hollow and the immediate time afterward, the original version that was under production was much different in terms of its plot.

Background

One particular draft (sometimes referred to as "Tinker Bell And The Ring Of Belief" in certain promotional materials), which received a trailer and various tie-in stories on the Disney Fairies website, was about human children that believed in fairies being brought to Pixie Hollow, where they would attend fairy school. Attending fairy school was mandatory for fairies, as a fairy had to complete fairy school to be allowed to use pixie dust.

As part of John Lasseter's decision to greatly reduce and/or alter Disney's direct-to-video output, as he had just become Chief Creative Director of Walt Disney Animation Studios, he is reported to have seen a work-in-progress screening of the draft. However, he was extremely negative to the original version, deeming it as "virtually unwatchable"[1] and demanded that the plot be heavily rewritten.

One of these changes was the voice of the titular fairy herself. Tinker Bell was originally going to be played by actress Brittany Murphy but was later replaced by Mae Whitman for unknown reasons.[2]

At an earlier point in late 2006 to early 2007, Ring of Belief was supposed to be the 1st movie out of 3, the lead-in for a 4-movie series, or a renamed or yet-to-be-renamed 1st movie out of 3, with the sources on the scheduled movie series contradicting each other on the amount.[3] The 2nd or 1st movie was tentatively titled "The Disney Fairies Trilogy Part 1: A Forbidden World", and had casted Kari Wahlgren as "Harmony", a female "precocious" fairy;[4] her website makes it ambiguous whether she merely recorded voice lines in September 2006, or if she thought A Forbidden World would be released during that month, around a year before the earliest previously known planned release date for Ring of Belief. Should her statements and tentative titles have made it to release, then almost nothing is known about the sequel plans they were planning at the time.

Brain Freeze estimated October 2007 on LinkedIn, which'd be far much closer to promo advertisements' stated times; and a sequel schedule much closer to what The Lost Treasure and Great Fairy Rescue eventually received.

Another potential factor was the budget had by then already reached $30 million, which was a lofty sum for a direct-to-video feature in the mid-2000s. The completed movie's release would later add yet more to the budget, resulting in a total cost of $50 million.

The Original Plot

Though not everything is known about the original version's story, Some bits and pieces have been revealed about the film's plot in various early trailers and articles. The plot was originally described to be more "epic" than what was finally released.[5]

The film revolved around Tinker Bell and her friends living in Pixie Hollow, as they all train to become "Wing-Maidens", who aid in continuing the "Ring Of Belief" that keeps imagination, and their world, in turn, alive. But through an unknown chain of events, Tinker Bell ends up breaking the Ring Of Belief, which causes all of the children in London to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. Now Tinker Bell and her friends must try to fix her mistake before it destroys all of Pixie Hollow.

A rock concert is held inside the Pixie Dust Tree, but the leadup to this is unclear; an unknown lost source article[6] claimed that it was the aftermath of a "Female fairies VS Sparrowmen" war, where an unspecified friend of Tink goes to the concert. If the claim was correct, the concert would be exclusive to the A Forbidden World development and almost certainly not Ring of Belief.

A notable factor of the original version was that Peter Pan, the lost boys, and Captain Hook, would have also tied into the plot, though their exact roles are unknown.[7]

Availability

Several things survive from this earlier version. As many pieces of concept art, merchandise, promotional material, and even early trailers feature various elements from the earlier draft.

There were some Flash games on an older version (ca. 2006-2011, when it comes to the American version) of the official Disney Fairies websites that elaborated further on the draft's plot, including one Flash game (believed to be titled Discover Pixie Hollow) that served as a tour of Pixie Hollow. Another flash game, titled Hopeful's Quest, served as a "Which fairy talent do you have?" questionnaire, and placed Fairy Mary in the role of a class teacher at the school (In the released movie she had instead become the leader of the pots-and-pans talent group), which indicates that she could've had such a role in the first draft. These Flash games have since been lost to time, but a very small amount of YouTube playthroughs exist of them as of May 2021.

Brain Freeze Entertainment, who made storyboards for the film, has one of the sequences from the original cut and can be found on their website.[8]

In January 2020, Walt Disney Animation Studios artist Barry Atkinson uploaded additional storyboard drawings with no commentary on ArtStation.[9] It is unclear how many of them that were used in the movie draft's development.

A portfolio video from June 2011 uploaded by Laurent JC on Vimeo was discovered for the first known time in early November 2023, and eventually showcased by neverfaerie on Tumblr, who also found and uploaded GIFs that were not part of the video, as well as an additional video with other parts the same scene. The videos and GIFs involve a rock band performing a gig show.

Other than these, however, the original draft of the film has never been seen in its entirety.

Videos

Trailer from the original version.

An animatic for a scene in the original version. Drawn by Jane Wu.

An early animation test of Rosetta.

A teaser trailer for the film. Original footage starts at 0:46.

Another teaser trailer which showcases some concept art.

A compilation of all available footage from the early version.

Official movie trailer

Hopeful's Quest Flash game

Discover Pixie Hollow Flash game

Portfolio video from June 2011, discovered December 2023.

Portfolio video from September 2011, discovered January 2024 as the 4th related video to be found. Footage starts at 00:49.

The 2nd video found a few days later (Source)

A 3rd video of the same concert scene was found on 2 January 2024, but with an entirely different song and very likely a different vocalist too, at https://www.tumblr.com/orsoknox/738402339291103232/tinkerbell-ring-of-belief-bonus-dvd.

Gallery

GIFs from the first rock band video post that were not in the portfolio video. (1/2)
GIFs from the rock band video post that were not in the portfolio video. (2/2)

See Also

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Animation (Disney)

Animation (Pixar)

Audio

Live Action

Short Films

References