Mouse Guard has been officially canceled. Director Wes Ball shared the news on social media, along with some test footage and a look at how much work has gone into the project. The movie had been in development for over a year at Fox and was quickly shelved when the Disney deal went through. This has been happening frequently with certain Fox projects, but Mouse Guard was put on the back burner just two weeks before production was officially set to begin. It appears the process of shopping the movie to other studios yielded no results.
Disney never gave a reason for flushing Mouse Guard, which had a pretty hefty budget of $170 million. The movie was set up to use motion capture and a lot of CGI for the mice and other animals. The video Wes Ball shared shows some test footage and a lot of storyboards for the canceled movie. He explains.
"Yes sadly, it's true. Our Mouse Guard 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!"
Wes Ball's video is over two minutes in length and shows the production office where he and his crew worked tirelessly for over a year to make Mouse Guard a reality. There were plans for a franchise and some were already comparing it The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Throughout the two-minute video, it's tough not to feel extremely bad for everybody involved as the video shows numerous models, fully fleshed out storyboards, computers, images of the actors, and ton of other stuff.
In addition to the production office video, Wes Ball shared a mind blowing look at the digital aspects of Mouse Guard in a nearly 10-minute video. The footage is pretty amazing, to say the least, and one can see why it was going to cost so much to make. Ball had this to say about their early process.
"If you really want a sense of what (the) Mouse Guard movie might have been... Watch this early test we made with Unreal. Basically it's previz inside a game engine - before WETA got their hands on it. It was fun inventing new ways to make these kinds of movies."
This kind of thing unfortunately happens all of the time, but there was some solid hope that Mouse Guard would get picked up by another studio. That obviously did not end up happening, more than likely due to the price tag attached to making it. Sources close to Disney allege the movie was too close to its other CGI projects coming out, but it's hard not to go back to the money in what would have been a pretty big gamble for the studio when all is said and done.
Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Jack Whitehall were all on board to star in Mouse Guard. Matt Reeves was on board as a producer, while Wes Ball was set to helm the project from a script written by Gary Whitta. It looks like the movie won't be coming out any time soon, but maybe someone will see Ball's video and see how far along they were and potentially put it out. You can check out the Mouse Guard video below, thanks to Wes Ball's YouTube channel.