The Emperor’s New Groove Was Almost A Dark Musical With A Pretty Gross Plot Point!

When it comes to beloved and relatable movies, Disney pretty much corners the market. Look anywhere on the internet, and you’ll find a healthy collection of Disney-related content that’ll instantly make you relive your childhood. Get further into the internet, and you may even find some content that’ll ruin your childhood! I wouldn’t advise doing the latter, unless you’re the type that loves to live dangerously.

The Emperor’s New Groove is one of Disney’s best and most relatable films ever made, ironic considering it centers around a spoiled Incan emperor and his village peasant companion. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the internet from expressing its undying love for this masterpiece of an animated adventure!

Kronk is ALL OF US

Kronk is ALL OF US

Coming out in 2000 (that’s 16 (!!) years ago for all you people who didn’t feel old before), The Emperor’s New Groove has been praised for its great animation, its stunning soundtrack, and its amazing cast of characters!

But while Groove is considered to be one of the best films of Disney’s post-Renaissance era, it might not have been that way, if the creators of the film ran with their original idea.

Kingdom Of The Sun


A long time ago —1994 to be exact — Roger Allers and Matthew Jacobs pitched a brand new movie to Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Allers, who co-wrote The Lion King, and Jacobs, a writer for the classic Doctor Who series and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, were pretty confident in their new pitch. After hearing their idea, Michael Eisner officially greenlit Kingdom of the Sun!

Focusing on ancient Incan culture, Kingdom of the Sun centered around a spoiled and cocky emperor whose life is turned upside down when he meets a lowly villager. Sound familiar? It should, that’s pretty much the plot for The Emperor’s New Groove. That’s because before Groove was, well, itself, it was known as Kingdom of the Sun.

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But Kingdom of the Sun was certainly very different from the hilarious buddy-comedy it would eventually become. For one thing, Kingdom of the Sun didn’t sound like much of a comedy, despite being described as a “romantic comedy musical”.

(John Watkiss Fine Art) Concept art from Kingdom of the Sun

(John Watkiss Fine Art) Concept art from Kingdom of the Sun

Kingdom of the Sun told the story of an emperor named Manco (Kuzco), who meets a villager (Pacha) who looks exactly like him. Any fans of Mark Twain will know what comes next. That’s right — in order to have some fun, Manco switches places with Pacha for a day.

Meanwhile, an evil witch named Yzma, hearing of the emperor’s little switcheroo, plans to force the disguised pauper to obey her in her quest to destroy the sun. Sound serious? That’s because it really was. In fact, the only funny thing about the plot to this movie was that the only reason Yzma wanted to get rid of the sun was because she believed a world of darkness would get rid of her crazy wrinkles.

(Giphy) At the very least, no one would be able to see them.

Many believe that the movie’s plot was drastically changed because the whole “Prince and the Pauper” thing has been done time and time again. That’s true, but that’s not the only reason.

The Prince and the Pauper storyline, while predictable, was at least suitable for children. What wasn’t however, was a certain troubling love connection that actually almost made it into the film.

Llama Love

(Dorkly) Mata, Manco's love interest...

(Dorkly) Mata, Manco’s love interest…

Another thing that Kingdom of the Sun shared with its eventual replacement was the fact that Manco/Kuzco would be turned into a talking Llama at some point during the film. I suppose this is where the comedy would come from… though it probably wouldn’t have worked the same way, considering Manco was reportedly nowhere near the levels of sass that his Emperor’s counterpart was!

While The Emperor’s New Groove featured Pacha and a “Llamafied” Kuzco going on an adevnture together, Kingdom of the Sun opted to give Manco a love interest instead. So you’re probably thinking “did Yzma turn a girl into a Llama too?”. Nope!

Manco’s love interest was a bad-ass HUMAN girl with very questionable romantic interests! Voices by Laura Prepon of That 70’s Show fame, Mata was a sarcastic and quick-witted peasant girl who didn’t have time for any of Manco Llama’s crap.

(Tumblr) Kuzco does not approve of this romance.

As is common with films like this, she slowly finds herself falling for the emperor. Falling for emperor Manco is no problem, but falling Manco when he’s in Llama form? Problem! Very huge problem!

So there you have it: The dark history of The Emperor’s New Groove! To think we almost didn’t have the flamboyant and hilarious Kuzco, or the meme-inspiring Pacha.

Something tells me that the generic plot and characters of Kingdom of the Sun wouldn’t have been as revered as TENG. Kingdom of the Sun would probably only be unfortunately remembered for its unintentional bestiality-themed romance.

Thanks For Reading!

What do you love about The Emperor’s New Groove?

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