Before it was absorbed by Disney, 20th Century Fox was developing a film based on David Petersen’s Mouse Guard series. The movie would have employed cutting-edge motion capture effects to bring the Eisner Award-winning comic to life. The filmmakers had already begun assembling a star-studded cast that included Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Idris Elba. Unfortunately, the studios’ merger put the brakes on the film’s development. Now, director Wes Ball pounded the final nail into the coffin with a eulogy on Twitter, which you can check out below.
Yes sadly, its true. Our #mouseguard movie is dead.
Seems it’s too big a risk. It’s a damn shame really. We had something special. To my hella talented cast/crew: I’m sorry I couldn’t push this one through. The past year with you all has been a blast. May the Guard prevail! pic.twitter.com/MGRq54uI6O
— Wes Ball (@wesball) June 26, 2019
In addition to confirming Mouse Guard’s cancellation, Ball shared a video of an entire office floor devoted to the movie’s production. Over the course of two minutes, he takes viewers on a tour of where the magic was happening. Fans can see character sculptures, scale models of various locations, and dozens of concept illustrations lining virtually every wall. There’s even a video displaying a side-by-side comparison of an actor wearing a mo-cap headset and an unfinished CG mouse copying his movements. The office is devoid of people, but it’s obvious that plenty of effort had already gone into making the film a reality.
Surprisingly, Ball didn’t stop there. He also shared a full-length demo reel on his YouTube channel. Clocking in at more than nine minutes, the reel is actually comprised of two versions of the same footage, each of which rendered using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. The first take features an epic orchestral suite playing in the background, while the second extended cut has no music and instead lets viewers immerse themselves in the natural sounds of the rodents’ fantasy world.
The intro message specifies that the footage is “previz” (previsualization) and was only meant to give an idea of how the movie will “feel.” Regardless, the animation looks gorgeous, which makes it heartbreaking that the film won’t see the light of day. Still, we can’t help but wonder if Ball’s decision to post this is motivated by something other than fan service. Could he be hoping for a Deadpool-style miracle in which the leaked test footage leads to the project’s resurrection?
You can watch the Mouse Guard demo reel below. Would you like to see another studio give the movie another chance? Let us know in the comment section!
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