If you've flipped past the Disney Channel recently, you may have noticed a new show called The Lion Guard, a made for TV sequel to the classic Disney animated movie The Lion King. While The Lion Guard features classic characters like Simba, Timon and Puumba, it also features several characters from a nearly forgotten made for VHS sequel called...The Lion King II.
Disney released a TON of these made for home release sequels during the 1990s and 2000s, featuring the new adventures of classic characters like Aladdin, Cinderella and the Little Mermaid. However, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who really remembers these sequels, because they were all pretty awful.
Here's seven of Disney's forgotten sequels that you might remember watching as a kid:
Disney's first direct-to-video sequel was Aladdin: Return of Jafar, which came out in 1992.
The movie notably brought back the entire voice cast of Aladdin with the exception of Robin Williams, who was in the middle of a bitter feud with Disney over the use of his voice during the original Aladdin's promotion. Disney replaced Williams with Dan Castellanta (the voice of Homer Simpson) and noticeably cheaped out on the animation budget, which made the movie look more like a Saturday morning cartoon than a full length movie.
The actual plot of the movie centered on Aladdin befriending Iago, Jafar's talking pet parrot, while Jafar returned as an all-powerful genie bent on destroying Aladdin and the rest of Agrabah. While Aladdin's friends refused to trust the cantankerous parrot, Iago eventually proved his worth by straight up murdering Jafar by tossing his ex-boss's genie lamp into a river of lava.
As if one Aladdin sequel wasn't enough, Disney decided to complete the trilogy with Aladdin and the Prince of Thieves.
Not wanting to make another Aladdin movie without Robin Williams, Disney apologized to the actor and offered him a $1 million salary, which was pretty good money for doing voice work for a direct to VHS movie. With Williams aboard, Disney destroyed the recordings Dan Castellaneta had done for the movie and reworked the scenes with the Genie to account for Williams' more enthusiastic style.
The Prince of Thieves was basically the Disney version of The Wedding Crashers, as the infamous Forty Thieves (of Ali Baba fame) interrupted Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding to rob the guests blind. Aladdin discovered that the thieves' leader was none other than his father (voiced by John Rhys-Davies), and embarks on a quest to bring his father home from his life of crime. At the end of the movie, Aladdin and Jasmine finally get married, bringing their story to an end...at least until Disney decides to make a cartoon about their children!
If you've ever been to Jamestown, the historic first English settlement in Virginia, you might be surprised to learn that Pocahontas, the Indian princess who saved the English settlers from war with her tribe, didn't end up with John Smith, the English explorer voiced by Mel Gibson in the 1995 film.
Not wanting to be historically inaccurate, Disney made Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, which introduced Pocahontas's real life husband John Rolfe and brought the Disney princess to 17th century England.
Pocahontas II was notable in that it might be the only time that a Disney couple ever had an on-screen breakup, and that it gave Pocahontas the "happy ending" she sadly missed out in real life. While the movie ended with Pocahontas returning to her home alongside John Rolfe, the real world Pocahontas died in England after she became ill during her trip home.
Like the Aladdin franchise, Disney produced two sequels to Cinderella.
While the first sequel was just a loose anthology of stories featuring secondary characters, Cinderella III: A Twist of Time was a direct sequel that changed the actual continuity of the Cinderella story. Basically, Cinderella's stepmother uses the Fairy Godmother's magic wand to travel back in time and use her knowledge of the future to sabotage Cinderella and get the Prince to marry one of her actual daughters instead.
When the Prince falls in love with Cinderella anyways, the Stepmother than transforms one of her daughters into a doppelganger of Cinderella and tries to MURDER Cinderella with the help of her cat, Lucifer. When the Fairy Godmother eventually restores order, she offers to return to the timeline back to normal, but Cinderella and the Prince decline, thus making the original Cinderella movie totally irrelevant.
Most of Disney's sequels take place after the end of the original movies, but Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest actually takes place during the events of the first movie.
Set during the winter after Bambi's mother dies, The Great Prince of the Forest deals with Bambi and his deadbeat father, voiced by Patrick Stewart. As Deer Patrick Stewart tries to learn how to become a father to the young Bambi, Bambi learns how to deal with bullies and pick up fawns as his horns start to come in.
If not for the fact that it's set in the forest and involves deer, Bambi II sounds like it recycled its plot from one of those cheesy comedies starring Chevy Chase from the 1990s.
Almost no one remembers Atlantis: The Lost Empire, a 2001 animated film starring Michael J. Fox that used the art designs of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. When the movie flopped in box offices, Disney quickly scuttled plans for an animated television spinoff called Team Atlantis. Unfortunately for Disney, they already had three episodes of Team Atlantis practically finished, so they repackaged the episodes as a sequel called Milo's Return. Milo's Return didn't have a real plot, since it was three TV episodes wrapped into one movie, but it was obvious that Team Atlantis was supposed to tie together different legends as ancient Atlantean artifacts or creatures.
The last of Disney's animated "sequels", The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning explored Ariel's secret origin... namely that she was always a mermaid with major rebellion issues.
In Ariel's Beginning, Ariel's father, Triton, bans music from his kingdom after his wife is run over by a boat while trying to retrieve a music box. Years later, Ariel discovers the joy of music when she finds an underground club (organized by Flounder and Sebastian). When her father finds out about the club and has everyone jailed, Ariel stages a mass jailbreak and runs away from home. It's only after Ariel gets beaten up by her power mad ex-nanny that Triton comes to his senses and allows music back into his kingdom.
Considering that no one actually wanted a Little Mermaid prequel movie, it's probably for the best that Disney decided to end making sequels to their animated films once and for all.