Atlantis: The Lost Empire was a distinct and underrated entry in Disney’s modern-day lineup, breaking with a lot of convention and showcasing gorgeous, engrossing animation to boot. According to its director, Kirk Wise, a sequel was planned, with a twisty villain reveal and everything.
A sequel, that is, that isn’t the small animated series Disney ended up putting out and then selling as a sequel “movie” called Atlantis: Milo’s Return. This sequel was different, and a bit more dramatic.
“[Story supervisor] John Sanford, Gary [Trousdale] and I actually concocted an idea for a sequel to Atlantis,” Wise told Collider. “It had no relation to the Atlantis TV series that was being developed at Disney Television Animation. This was a feature-length, full-on, full-blown sequel to Altantis.”
As Collider details, this sequel wasn’t very far along in the creation process, but did have a plot structure intact.
“We were going to have a new villain in the story. The villain was going to be wearing big, scary, wool, bulky, World War I-style clothing with a frightening gasmask to obscure it’s face; a little Darth Vader-esque. And this villain was going to try and retake Atlantis and finish the job that Rourke was unable to accomplish. And the big twist in the climax of the movie is that the villain is unmasked and it turns out to be Helga Sinclair. Plot twist!” Wise explained.
This Helga, the surviving second-in-command to the big bad from the first movie, has gone through some changes by the time of the sequel.
Wise elaborated, saying, “So Helga survived her fall, became an early-20th-century cyborg and started her own team of mercenaries.”
That’s honestly pretty intense, and leans in well to the movie’s steampunky vibes. The first one told a fairly cohesive story and didn’t really require a followup, but the setting felt rich enough that I certainly wouldn’t have minded returning.