Elfquest is taking a shot at hitting the big screen again. Rawson Thurber, who directed Dodgeball and, apparently, those “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker” commercials, is set to produce, direct and write. The film is now set to go at Warner Brothers. For those unfamiliar with the comic by Richard and Wendy Pini, it follows a tribe of elves who get burned out of their forest home (because this guy wasn’t around, no doubt) and have to seek out a new home.
It’s interesting that it’s coming back now (hmmm…comic book movies are making lots of money…hmmm….fantasy movies are making lots of money…). Okay, interesting but not surprising. Last time I heard about this project it was 2000; writer-producer Craig Miller and Wendy Pini were at San Diego Comic-Con talking about it. According to them, and as I reported at Corona’s Coming Attractions at the time, there were studios in three countries working on it with storyboarding underway. They had already wrapped up international distribution but stateside didn’t have anything. They were giving out promo postcards with a Spring 2002 release date on them. You can see it down below the break.
Miller was to executive produce with Marv Wolfman, and they were both going to write the thing with Wendy. Michael Coldeway (who directed Heavy Metal 2000) was attached to direct. So where the hell did the movie come from and where did it go, if they were so gung ho to make it happen?
Checking out the Elfquest site (which hasn’t updated their movie page yet) they have a Variety article from 1999 that talks about the formation of the European Animation Group whose first film was to be this one.
The trail from San Diego in 2000 led then to 2003 and this news article at Comic Book Resources, where it turns out that Canal Plus, a backer of the film, got their projects in the hands of Universal, who were not terribly interested. Thus, the option lapsed, although the Pinis were saying that fans should wait and see, since at that time DC had snagged the publishing rights to the comic. And the fans did wait…for five years.
So will the film finally happen? If you read this site you’ve been around enough to know that films can be sucked back into development hell at a moment’s notice, but I’m thinking if they can get their act together fast enough, they’ll ride the aforementioned comic book adaptation frenzy and we might actually see this thing. But fans…don’t let down your guard. Haven’t your hearts been broken enough?