Gizmo, the Mogwai at the center of Gremlins, was supposed to be far more sinister.
During a Q&A session via Entertainment Weekly, Joe Dante had revealed that Gizmo was originally supposed to turn into Stripe, the leader of the evil batch of gremlins.
“Gizmo was supposed to, in the original script, turn into Stripe, the bad Gremlin, after about 20 minutes,” Dante said. “But Steven Spielberg got it into his head, after seeing all of our tests with Gizmo, that he liked Gizmo so much that he said, ‘You know, we really shouldn’t get rid of him. He should stick around and be the hero’s pal for the entire picture.'”
The problem was that filming was to begin in a month and the change would have meant a puppet would have had to become the main character.
“[It] was terrifying for us,” Dante said. “We were about four weeks away from shooting, and we had no idea how to make this puppet, which was really small, carry a movie, and be a character, basically.”
One of the solutions was to have Billy Peltzer carry Gizmo in a backpack through for most of the movie since it was not yet possible to make the animatronic Mogwai walk. But Gizmo got around in a stylish toy car. The technology advanced by 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch that Gizmo moved around freely.