The Original Idea For Emperor’s New Groove Featured A Lot More Owen Wilson

This new version of Pacha required a more patronly voice than Wilson could provide. When they asked themselves who they would want their dad to be, they thought of only one man. According to the film’s production manager, Tracey Miller-Zarneke, they settled on John Goodman pretty easily. She said: 

“That brainstorm of having Pacha be the father figure that Kuzco never had — once they came up with that, they were like, ‘Well, who would be an amazing father that you’d want to have?’ John Goodman. I don’t remember them talking seriously about anybody else.”

In reworking the film afresh, it seemingly became more and more comedic, until it ended up the broad farce it was to eventually become. Indeed, as previously reported in the pages of /Film, there was even to be a wacky conspiracy theorist character played by Adam West, Kitt’s co-star from the 1966 TV version of “Batman.” Sadly, West’s character was ultimately cut. 

Dindal, who previously made the hyperkinetic 1930s Hollywood fable “Cats Don’t Dance” seemingly pushed Disney in a new direction with “The Emperor’s New Groove,” and the studio began to lean more and more heavily into comedy. Dindal even returned to direct the 2005 CGI feature “Chicken Little.” Sadly, none of the subsequent films grabbed audiences, and the studio spent the better part of the 2000s producing dud after dud. Flops like “Treasure Planet,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and “Meet the Robinsons” may have their scant fans, but few recall “Dinosaur,” “Brother Bear,” “The Wild,” “Home on the Range,” or “Bolt” with any fondness. “The Emperor’s New Groove” may be seen as the final film in the Disney Renaissance.

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