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Watch an Early Test for ‘Roger Rabbit’ With Pee-Wee Herman’s Voice

Roger Rabbit
Walt Disney Pictures

‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ hit theaters in 1988 and was groundbreaking in the way it seamlessly blended modern animation with live-action (though to be fair, this was not the first time this was achieved). It was, at the time, the most expensive animated film ever made and spent many years in development perfecting the technology. And now we have a look at what ‘Roger Rabbit’ looked like (and sounded like) in his earlier incarnations via a 1982 pencil test from Walt Disney Animation.

Disney optioned the rights to the book “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” in 1981 and began developing the film. Director Robert Zemeckis was brought on board but he had yet to have a hit film (‘Back to the Future’ had not yet been released) so he was let go. But not before developing this crude live-action/animation pencil test that has a sketched Jessica Rabbit interacting with an early Eddie Valiant (played here by Peter Renaday) and a Roger Rabbit voiced by Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman.

You’ll see Roger is something of a cross between Bugs Bunny and Goofy and doesn’t really look anything like the version in the film. The characters and the film itself was revamped in 1985 when Disney was eager to get back in business with Zemeckis and producer Steven Spielberg, who had just released ‘Back to the Future.’ Richard Williams was brought in to direct the animated sequences and gave the film a new look.

But now we get to see the ‘Roger Rabbit’ that never was. And it turns out this movie would’ve been very different. Did you know they originally wanted Judge Doom to be the hunter that killed Bambi’s mother? Or that Superman and Mighty Mouse were to team up at one point?

Take a look at this early pencil test footage of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ and leave yourself wondering when they’ll ever get around to making that sequel…

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