Cruella de Vil's Comeback That Wasn't: See Long-Lost Sketches of Iconic Villain in 'The Rescuers' (Exclusive)

Meriah Doty
Cruella de Vil sketch for The Rescuers
Cruella de Vil sketch for The Rescuers

Cruella de Vil was a cutting-edge fashionista back in her day — favoring flowing white fur, a matching bag, red gloves, and that trademark two-toned hairdo.

The dastardly 101 Dalmatians villain debuted her daring style in the 1961 animated classic. But there’s another side of de Vil that has just been unearthed by Disney archivists. As seen in these exclusive sketches and video, filmmakers briefly considered bringing back the iconic baddie for Disney’s 1977 mouse-minded animated adventure The Rescuers.

Watch Cruella’s Lost Role (Exclusive):

Because The Rescuers was set more than a decade after Dalmatians, de Vil was given an period-appropriate update. Sporting what can only be described as ’70s alligator-chic, de Vil accessorizied with Sly and the Family Stone-style sunglasses (seen above). In the sketch directly below, de Vil is depicted in bell-bottom pants and a pair of platforms. Do the Hustle, Cruella!

70s Cruella de Vil in platforms and bell-bottoms
70s Cruella de Vil in platforms and bell-bottoms

While Dalmatians was an unqualified success (the film is the 11th highest-grossing of all time, adjusted for inflation), the Disney of the 1970s was nowhere near as sequel-happy as the studio is today, so animators ultimately scrapped the disco-ready de Vil. In her stead, they dreamed up the red-haired Madame Medusa, who shares a similar mean streak but never commanded the screen as her predecessor.

The diamond edition of 101 Dalmatians, with new bonus features, is out now on Blu-ray, Digital HD, and Disney Movies Anywhere (where you can unlock more of the Cruella’s Lost Role featurette).

Scroll down to see even more of the amazing concept sketches of the animated Cruella de Vil comeback that never was.

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Photos: Disney