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MTR Pet Project

The short’s title card.

Pet Project BHG Intro Card

Bowler Hat Guy version of a classic Disney short opening card.

Goob refuses to take his meds

Partially animated shot from the original ending with Bowler Hat Guy in a straightjacket.

Pet Project is an unproduced Meet the Robinsons short that was intended for the film's DVD release. A 6-minute short entailing the story of how Bowler Hat Guy was able to retrieve, raise and train a giant dinosaur to ravage against Lewis.[1] Progress was slightly swindled when Ed Catmull said that he didn't want the studio to devote any more time with creating extra shorts for DVD releases because they "don't pay for themselves",[2] and was eventually cancelled after the second draft animatic was completed.[3]

Synopsis[]

Bowler Hat Guy tells the story of how he tamed and brought Tiny the Tyrannosaurus to the future to a series of interviewers.

Going back to the Cretaceous period, Bowler Hat Guy is able to use an animal call to try and summon a dinosaur for help, only for two angry tyrannosaurs to charge at him defending their nest. As Bowler Hat Guy makes a frantic escape, he unwittingly takes an egg with him. Hatching the dinosaur chick at the Orphanage and raising it on his own, he speeds up Tiny's growth to adult size using cheeseburgers and a Robinson Industries brand Plant Growth formula (with the revised story reel having him try other means of making Tiny bigger without resorting to using one of Lewis's inventions). However, in the chaos of the dinosaur's growth, Mini Doris is broken. Despite being adult size, Tiny is still mentally a child and Bowler Hat Guy still has to train his dinosaur to hate Lewis, though he ultimately sees the Lewis dummy Bowler Hat Guy builds as a teddy bear. Trying to figure out what to do, Bowler Hat Guy manages to fix Little Doris's remote and re-activate her, allowing her to take direct control of Tiny.

In the original ending, it is revealed that Bowler Hat Guy is in a psychiatric hospital talking to a cardboard cutout audience with his nurse bringing him medication he stubbornly refuses to take. The short ends with him about to start telling the story of why he was left alone as a child in a condemned orphanage.

In the alternate ending, with Tiny still having trouble even with Mini Doris attached to him as they are arriving at the Robinson Mansion, Bowler Hat Guy briefly considers giving up the whole revenge scheme, apologizing to Lewis and seeking therapy until Tiny actually starts the attack seen in the film. It is then revealed that he's been telling Tiny's story to the gathered Robinson family, with Bud calling it the craziest story he ever heard, but one he still believes. The family decide to adopt Goob into the family and he's excited about being able to develop his own quirky little niche as an inventor or just mooching off Cornelius's wealth, only to be assigned as Tiny's caretaker and cleaning his giant litter box.

Development[]

Pet Project was conceived by Nik Ranieri and Bowler Hat Guy animator Dick Zondag as a way to explain how Bowler Hat Guy was even able to fit the dinosaur in the time machine. Additionally, with American Dog in the midst of the planning stall that transformed it into Bolt, many crew members were otherwise unoccupied. With only one new prehistoric set and a handful of simple props in a project that would otherwise reuse assets from the film, it was thought it could be finished within two months.[4] However, Ed Catmull shut down DVD short projects because "They don't pay for themselves", but allowed them to continue on their own time as part of an internal "Shorts Club" program, though with Bolt ramping up production, few were willing to take part in the side gig. They were able to present the unfinished reel to John Lasseter to potentially try again for an officially backed release, having caught wind of Ratatouille continuing the DVD short tradition at Pixar, but Lasseter wasn't too big a fan of the character and disliked the psych ward ending of the original story reel, though enjoyed the baby dinosaur angle. While the story reel was redeveloped with a new ending with the Robinsons as the story's audience, it did not advance beyond that.[5]

The story reels of the short were posted to Facebook in 2018.[6]

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