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Disney’s Robin Hood started out as a different, darker movie

Like comic search reports, Walt Disney had commissioned writers Dorothy Blank (who also worked on “Snow White”) and Al Perkins to come up with a script, specifically one that included scenes of disguises and escaping danger just in time. After a movie full of hijinks, Reynard is finally captured and the king orders that he be executed by hanging. While on the gallows, Reynard confesses that his father once tried to overthrow the king, with the help of his uncle, the wolf. His father is also said to have hidden a huge amount of wealth inside a volcano, which sends the king and royal subjects on a journey into the volcano to find the treasure… and most of them are killed when the volcano erupts. The king manages to survive, frees the wolf from prison, and the wolf and Reynard have a duel, with Reynard winning by trickery.

A royal ball is thrown in Reynard’s honor for winning the duel, and he steals the royal treasure while everyone celebrates. He is captured again and begs not to be banished to the volcano. They exile him there anyway, but he digs up his father’s treasure and smiles slyly at the village. His master plan had worked all along. Needless to say, other Disney executives were concerned about the story, especially given the restrictions of the Hays Production Code, which controlled what kind of content could be explored in Hollywood movies at the time. Walt Disney was also concerned that the story was too sophisticated for his growing family audience, and felt that Reynard’s realities were less “Robin Hood” and more glorifying of a trickster. “He shouldn’t be a murderer in any way. He shouldn’t take advantage of anyone but a stupid individual,” Disney said.

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