An Unused Character is a character that was planned to be in a game, but taken out due to certain reasons. Usually, the intended characters get put in later instalments of the game, but some characters are not.
- King Dedede
Bowser and Dedede were being worked on for about half of the development of the game but then were removed shortly late into development for unknown reasons. Marth was considered to join the original roster as a different type of sword-wielding character, but because of the limited development time, he wasn't included.
- Mach Rider
- Ayumi Tachibana
- Balloon Fighter
- Urban Champion
Sakurai was asked by a fan what character he would like to see in Melee, and Mach Rider was the response he gave. He was most likely joking though, as he said he ‘wanted to include him based on his funny name’. In an earlier response, he does say that his generation turns to Mach Rider or Takamaru. However, it’s unknown how much consideration was actually given into these characters as he outright stated that Takamaru’s chances of appearing in Melee were low.
Ayumi Tachibana, one of the main characters in Famicom Tantei Club, was confirmed to have been considered for Melee during a recent NicoNico interview. Sakurai decided not to include her in the final roster plan, as she lacked familiarity abroad. In the Melee emails (Japanese), Sakurai stated fans should wait for a sequel.
In an e-mail response asking about including a character from Rare (Japanese), Sakurai stated that it was difficult to include a character from Rare for various reasons. While some may see Banjo and Kazooie’s inclusion as natural, they couldn’t make it in due to ‘adult circumstances’, this most likely means copyright as Rare was bought by Microsoft during Melee's development. Banjo and Kazooie would later be confirmed in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of the Fighters Pass, debuted in the Fall.
Despite the many rumours about James Bond from the GoldenEye universe, Sakurai has never stated that he was to include him into Melee, nor did he consider the possibility of James Bond to be playable. Plus, license issues with his live actor Pierce Brosnan's likeness and his realistic weaponry, the film rights, and the N64 game rights makes it even more unlikely.
When the Ice Climbers got their Japanese Melee character page, Sakurai included other characters that were considered for the Ice Climbers spot. These include Balloon Fighter, Urban Champion, Bubbles (from Clu Clu Land) and Excitebike.
Hideo Kojima asked Sakurai if Snake could be in Melee, but the game was too far in development and he didn't make it. Later in Brawl, Sakurai asked Kojima if Snake could join the battle.
In an Australian magazine, Yuji Naka stated that Sonic the Hedgehog was planned to be in the game. It was very close to happening, but because of time constraints, it was impossible. However it, “left the door open for future collaborations”.
Wario was planned for Melee. Sakurai has mentioned that he was concerned with over-representation of certain series, so some characters that were planned got dropped. Wario was the 3rd most famous character to join the game according to the poll after Bowser and Peach. Sakurai stated that he could add Wario if he had more time to develop the game.
Lucas was planned for inclusion in Melee. However, due to Mother 3 being in development hell, Ness was brought back. This is outright confirmed on Ness’ Japanese character page for Melee (Japanese) and in a reply by Sakurai.
- Blastoise (Pokemon Trainer)
- Mii Fighters
- Geno (Super Mario RPG)
- Dr. Mario (Confirmed)
- Mewtwo (Confirmed)
- Roy (Confirmed)
- Toon Zelda (Confirmed)
- Toon Sheik (Speculated to be Tetra, not confirmed)
- Plusle and Minun (Speculated)
- Dixie Kong (Confirmed)
The characters cut from Brawl are known as the "Forbidden 7". Dr. Mario was close to getting in, but was cut due to time restraints. Of the characters with leftover data, Mewtwo, Roy and Dixie arguably had the most work done on them. Roy has a unique victory fanfare while Mewtwo had a unique victory fanfare and a Wii remote sound.
Toon Zelda/Toon Sheik are obvious from their filenames. However, it’s unknown whether Toon Sheik was actually Tetra or not. It is highly likely that this is the case, as Toon Link’s design was inspired from Wind Waker and Tetra was made to be Wind Waker’s Sheik. Despite this, it is not 100% confirmed as Sakurai has never talked about this character.
Files were discovered that were titled "pra&mai", which led people to believe Plusle & Minun were planned in the game, due to the fact "pra" was the first syllable of Plusle's Japanese name, and "mai" was the first syllable of Minun's Japanese name. It is unknown if these truly are the characters found in the file.
Dixie had a working prototype at one point, as she was originally envisioned to have a tag-team mechanic, just like in Donkey Kong Country 2. However due to complications in programming, she was dropped and Diddy was made into a full character by himself.
Villager and Mii Fighters were planned but Sakurai thought that they were not meant to be a fighting character, so they were removed. Pac-Man also was suggested by Shigeru Miyamoto, but Sakurai went against it because he thought it was "a little too farfetched".
Blastoise was considered to be a part of the Pokemon Trainer's team; however, the team decided to use Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard to represent the three evolution stages of Pokemon.
Ridley was considered to be playable, but Sakurai thought that he would be too hard to adapt to Smash Bros. Ridley was then considered to be an Assist Trophy, but the team ultimately decided to just make him a boss in the Subspace Emissary.
Geno was also considered to be playable due to his popularity, with Sakurai thinking that his arm cannon would make him a unique character. He has not elaborated on why Geno was cut from the game.
- More Final Fantasy characters
- Chrom (Game files were found suggesting it was possible that he was planned.)
- Alph (Rock Pikmins were found in some of the game file which suggests that Alph was considered to be a clone character of Olimar instead of an alternative costume.)
- Ice Climbers
- Squirtle (Pokemon Trainer)
- Ivysaur (Pokemon Trainer)
- Solid Snake
- Wolf O’Donnell
- a Rhythm Heaven character (Speculated due to leftover data found in the game.)
Sakurai stated that he and the development team had trouble adding the Ice Climbers into the game due to the 3DS' hardware limitations in programming Nana's AI. Squirtle and Ivysaur were discovered later into the game's lifecycle in leftover files, which hint at Pokemon Trainer's return, though was most likely cut due to 3DS hardware limitations. They later returned in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Chrom was briefly considered to be playable, but the development team decided they didn't want another blue-haired swordsman and settled on Robin instead. He would eventually appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as Roy's Echo Fighter.
Takamaru was considered to be playable, but Sakurai cut him due to the fact that not many people would recognize him and added him as an Assist Trophy instead.
Heihachi from Tekken was briefly considered to be a playable character, but he was scrapped because of troubles to implement his moves into Smash. He eventually makes in as a Costume though.
A Rhythm Heaven character was supposed to be in the game according to leftover data found by PushDustIn. According to Sal Romano, the "Gematsu Leaker", the character would be the Chorus Kids. Whether this is actually the case or not has not been confirmed. It is unknown why they were cut from the game.
In an interview with Sakurai it was confirmed that Geno was considered for Brawl, 3DS, and Wii U. He would later be made into a Mii Gunner Costume. To this day, it is still unknown why Geno was cut.
Sakurai has stated that he could have included Final Fantasy characters (Onion Knight from Final Fantasy III, Bartz Klauser from Final Fantasy V or Terra Branford from Final Fantasy VI) in the game, but it was difficult to think of a Final Fantasy character to include in the game that was not Cloud.
- Characters from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and ARMS (base game)
- More Dragon Quest Heroes as Hero's Alternate costumes
Alucard was considered to be playable, due to many players having been familiar with him thanks to Symphony of the Night, but Sakurai chose Simon and Richter instead because they want a Belmont as a playable character, resulting in Alucard becoming an Assist Trophy.
Decidueye was intended to be in the game, but was scrapped in favour of Incineroar due to having more unique moveset than the former.
Characters from both Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (base game) and ARMS were going to appear, but were cut due to bad timing, resulting them being turned into costumes and spirits (with Spring Man becoming an Assist Trophy). Sakurai mentioned in the June 2020 Mr. Sakurai Presents video that he considered Ninjara as a fighter for DLC, but Min Min was ultimately chosen due to the request from ARMS's director, Kosuke Yabuki.
In a recent Dragon Quest XI S livestream interview, Sakurai said that Slime would have been a fine playable character had Square Enix not allowing him to use the Hero. Speaking of which, in the same interview he wants other DQ heroes to be alts, but due to time constraints, he uses four previous ones to have recolors instead.