Disney Pixar’s Coco is more of a movie with music than a musical, but during its earlier stages of development, it was going to be a full-blown songified romp through the Land of the Dead. After seeing the early plans for the opening number, all I can say is I’m thrilled it ended up changing. As Miguel’s abuelita would say: “No music!”
USA Today has shared the original opening scene for Coco, with a sample song and sketches, which serves as an explainer for Dia de los Muertos. The song goes into everything you’d need to know about the holiday, but in a way that feels kind of strange and unwelcome. To be honest, the movie does a much-better job at explaining Dia de los Muertos on its own, for those who don’t already celebrate the holiday—it enlightens the audience in bits and pieces, rather than throwing everything out there in a musical exposition dump.
Coco co-director and writer Adrian Molina said the song was in the works for “a number of years” before things were changed, and the movie is way better for it. Not to say the song was bad, it’s just that the film didn’t need it.
All Coco needed was a guitar, a young boy, and the love of family... with the echoes of my wailing tears from the audience, for good measure. The opening scene is one of the bonus features included in the home release, which comes out digitally on February 13.