In 2000, Thomas & the Magic Railroad was released theatrically around the world and was met with poor box office reception. Throughout the film, many of the subplots felt shortened and a mysterious man on a motorcycle made a cameo, who was also seen in the trailer atop the evil Diesel 10. It was as if something was missing.
In 2007, an earlier draft from April 1999 was discovered and show an entirely different film with another villain, P.T. Boomer, and gave more answers to the backstory of Peter Fonda’s character - Burnett Stone. When watching the trailers for the film again, it was obvious that the 1999 script was shot to completion and featured the human villian, different voice actors for many of the engines, and other scenes with Peter Fonda. The film was cut due to test audiences finding P.T. Boomer too scary and thinking the original voices didn’t fit their intended characters. Ultimately, the film was chopped to pieces.
Later that same year, the original cut of the climactic chase scene was discovered. A professor in Canada (who also worked as sound editor on the film), was in possession of a piece of the original workprint and would let students use it to sync up their own music. The workprint scene revealed different voice actors for all the engines and PT Boomer’s arrival on Sodor.
Workprint Chase Scene - https://youtu.be/pQVKxcMEnik
Final Cut Chase Scene - https://youtu.be/_dYxwP7zck4
There is no definite answer as to where the full original workprint is, but if any of you have any information on where this could be procured, it would be greatly appreciated. The director, Allcroft, has claimed she has the original cut on VHS but she is bombarded with questions on her FB on a daily basis so there’s not much to get out of her.
Original Cut Trailer - https://youtu.be/8l1-l2mHRFw
Theatrical US Trailer (w/ Boomer and different voices) - https://youtu.be/LTizNBmz90M