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Sally Originally Went Full Corpse Bride In The Nightmare Before Christmas

There seems to be a never-ending supply of rich, wildly original, and popular "The Nightmare Before Christmas" characters to look at and examine. One of the film's most iconic characters, Sally, is absolutely no exception. Sally's corpse-blue complexion and sewn-on limbs, coupled with her wide eyes, make her one of the most iconic characters in the beloved holiday film. 

Voiced by Catherine O'Hara, Sally is a creation by the demanding, Frankenstein-like Dr. Finkelstein. Acting as something between a surrogate daughter and servant for Finkelstein, Sally is desperate to break out of her gilded cage and explore Halloweentown on her own. In turn, she finds companionship in Jack Skellington, the de facto Pumpkin King. She also serves as his voice of reason during Jack's mission to spread Christmas cheer across the world. They even share a tender moment at the end of the film alone on a spiral mountaintop. 

Since audiences never got a "Nightmare Before Christmas 2," it is unknown if Sally eventually became Jack's corpse bride. However, it is known that prior to the production of the film, Sally's look shared more in common with the titular character from Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride."

Sally's story was underdeveloped after a chaotic pre-production

The tale behind "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is almost as legendary as the movie itself. The film is based on a poem and sketches by Tim Burton, and Henry Selick was hired to direct a film. "Beetlejuice" writer Michael McDowell was then hired to write the script, and frequent Burton collaborator Danny Elfman was brought on to write the film's songs.

Elfman completed his task, but McDowell was unable to complete work on the script. Because of this, "Edward Scissorhands" writer Caroline Thompson was brought in to adapt the screenplay based around Elfman's songs (via Script Apart).

According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Selick started filming before the script was finished; the songs, on the other hand, were complete. However, due to this, Sally's original story fell by the wayside. "Danny pretty much told the story in the songs, so it's like, 'Okay, what's left?' And what's left is Sally's story," Thompson said in an interview with Jog Road Productions.

The change from a Corpse Bride-like look better informed who Sally was for the creators

In Netflix's "The Movies That Made Us" (via Den of Geek), screenwriter Caroline Thompson described Sally's original look to be more like a "femme fatale" with a black-and-white striped, skin-tight dress that was low cut and revealed her buxom figure. She even compared the look to be closer to that of the titular character in Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride," a film which Thompson co-wrote.

As she admitted in the Jog Road podcast, Thompson didn't understand the kind of girl Sally was from the original sketches. However, she did understand "the little matchstick-style girl," which is what prompted them to redesign Sally visually.

With a new look for Sally, Thompson fully fleshed out the character. She even put in aspects of her own life, according to Den of Geek. For instance, since Thompson was not part of the original creative team, she felt left out. Meanwhile, Sally also feels like an outcast throughout "The Nightmare Before Christmas." These elements helped Sally become a more three-dimensional character. Fans will be forever grateful that the design of Sally moved away from a "Corpse Bride" type character because it allowed Sally to become the beloved icon audiences know and love.