It's fascinating to see how a beloved TV series can completely transform from what it looks like in its early stages to what actually ends up on TV. While some unaired pilots like Full House just casted a different actor in a main role, other pilots underwent so many changes from production to air that it's like watching two completely different shows.
Several famous unaired pilots have since popped up over the years, including ones for The Big Bang Theory, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Family Guy. But there are still many that have yet to see the light of day, like these.
As MTV News previously wrote, Madison High was supposed to be a spin-off series of High School Musical, featuring the exploits of Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed) at Madison High School. Disney Channel begin plotting the musical series way back in 2010, slowly announcing its cast of previous DCOM stars — Katherine McNamara (Girl Vs. Monster), G. Hannelius (Den Brother), and Luke Benward (Minutemen, Girl Vs. Monster, and Cloud 9) — but the show ended up in the gutter and Disney never aired the pilot. This one behind-the-scenes pic is basically all we have of the doomed show.
Also known as Housebroken, this Suite Life of Zack and Cody spin-off centered around Arwin Hochauser (Brian Stepanek), the Tipton Hotel's handyman and engineer. Disney filmed a pilot in 2007 depicting Arwin leaving the Tipton to move in with his sister and help raise her three kids, one of whom was Selena Gomez. Yes, Disney Channel denied you even more Sel moments, so feel free to be upset. Unlike Madison High, however, a few clips of the pilot exist on YouTube, but they're not fantastic quality.
According to Lost Media — and a horde of seriously dedicated fans — there was an unaired pilot that starred another actor as Walter Nichols before Jonathan Goldstein took the role. A Change.org petition was created after series showrunner Dan Schneider allegedly brought the unaired pilot to the attention of fans in 2013. Several stills from the episode surfaced online, as did the pilot itself, until it was supposedly made private on YouTube. Check out all the screenshots here.
As a die-hard POTF fan, this was news to me. First things first: This early Disney Channel promo is not the unaired pilot we're talking about here and is more of a spiritual prequel to the show, introducing audiences to the Diffys and their 2121 lifestyle. However, several screenshots on FuckYeahPhilOfTheFuture's Tumblr page exist, apparently from “the original pilot” and obtained by a friend of a friend of the poster who was an extra in the episode. Take that with a grain of salt, but still, I've never seen these before, which means it's possible. You can check out several of them here, here, and here.
In the original pilot of the Boy Meets World sequel series, Riley Matthews had an older brother named Elliot (Teo Halm). Unfortunately, due to “various creative changes,” Halm was eventually scrapped from the show, and he tweeted in 2013, “So guys, Disney decided that it wouldn't work to have an older brother on the show; I won't be on Girl Meets World. Thank you to everyone.” (His TV mom, Danielle Fishel, shared her support.) The pilot featuring Elliot has never been shown, and a Change.org petition to release it obtained over 1,000 signatures.
Way back in 2003, MTV News reported that the DCOM would be adapted into a TV series and that 3LW's Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams had signed on to the project. Obviously, this never happened, but it was apparently supposed to have been part of ABC's 2004-2005 season. There's speculation that as many as four episodes were filmed, but that's never been confirmed.
Gibby, the planned second iCarly spin-off after Sam & Cat, was set to feature Gibby (Noah Munck) as a mentor to several younger kids while working at a recreational center. A couple of set photos and a cast pic were released, but the show hasn't ever been shared online.
HBO's hit show is no stranger to recasting characters, so it's not surprising the unaired pilot featured a different Daenerys Targaryen and Catelyn Stark. And according to showrunner David Benioff, when it was shown to a select few, it was not as well-received as the revered series it is today. “Watching [Hollywood screenwriters] watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life,” he told the Scriptnotes podcast earlier this year. Apparently, Benioff and fellow showrunner D.B. Weiss reshot about 92 percent of the pilot. Clearly a good move.