Turning Red Deleted Scenes Try To Tame The Panda, Include Cut Storylines

"Turning Red" is one of the best movies Pixar has made in years. A funny, visually distinct, and fresh movie with influences ranging from "Ranma ½" and "Sailor Moon" to Disney movies.

Domee Shi makes her feature debut with a film that is just as emotionally devastating as her short film "Bao," yet a lot more upbeat. The film tells the story of Mei Lee, a Chinese-Canadian teenager who discovers she turns into a panda whenever she feels strong emotions, and her struggles having to balance being a dutiful daughter, and also a rebellious teen. Like any Pixar movie, "Turning Red" changed a lot during development. Scenes were changed, plot threads were dropped, and even the tone of the movie changed. Now, some of these deleted scenes are surfacing to celebrate the release of the film on home video, giving us a glimpse of the movie that almost was.

Taming the Panda

This scene is from an early version of the film where the main character was named Fei-Fei and her mom is trying to teach her to keep her emotions at bay. The mom suggests Fei-Fei stop watching tv and hanging out with friends because those are distractions that can let her magical panda out, which goes sideways the moment food is involved.

This seems to be from the latter half of the film, but from a version of "Turning Red" where Mei hadn't managed to control her panda powers and her mom is much more hands-on in the panda training. In the final film, the fact that the mom seems to barely acknowledge the panda helps the central theme of how we repress things as we grow up, and the conflict of parents trying to rush their children's growth.

4*TOWN dilemma

This scene is from a version of "Turning Red" before the quest to get enough money to buy 4*TOWN tickets became a big subplot, and before Mei's struggles between embracing the panda powers and her feelings or being a dutiful daughter became the key to the film. Instead, the story was driven by the threat of the family's house and temple being taken away by the bank, and Mei struggling between listening to her mom and using her panda powers as a tourist attraction at the temple, or being a party panda.

The scene shows Mei worrying about the temple problems when one of her friends pulls out tickets to 4*TOWN, already acquired and everything. The scene itself isn't super revelatory or important in and of itself, but the change in focus and tone really did help the film in the end.

School debate

Just like the previous scene, this is also from an abandoned version of "Turning Red" where Mei ran for school president and struggled to keep the panda away. The scene shows her emotions getting out of control during a school debate against another kid, with funny consequences. 

Though the scene has a couple of good jokes, especially the one about Miriam, the scene and plot thread would have made the movie even busier and unfocused.

"Turning Red" is streaming on Disney+, and is also available on digital.