In mid-April, Disney made a surprising move by pulling the plug on 20th Century Fox's Mouse Guard film two weeks before it was supposed to start production. It was doubly shocking due to the fact that Fox, purchased by Disney in March, had already been developing the flick (aptly described as "Game of Thrones, but with mice") since 2016.
Based on the award-winning BOOM! Studios comic by David Petersen, the movie, which had Wes Ball (The Maze Runner) attached as director, had already cast a number of major actors, like Idris Elba and Andy Serkis, for motion capture/CGI roles.
While it's still possible for another studio to pick up the project, it's not likely we'll be seeing The Mouse Guard on the silver screen anytime soon. That said, some concept art for the flick has surfaced, giving us a bittersweet taste of a feature that would have been beautiful in design and epic in scope. The stunning artwork comes courtesy of Darek Zabrocki, a concept artist who has provided preliminary designs for Mindhunter, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Robin Hood, and Love, Death & Robots.
"I was working on a lot of locations, environment designs, mood shots, keyframes, and generally fleshing out the world as much," Zabrocki exclusively tells SYFY WIRE. "For me it was ideal, because after years of working on a number of well-established brands and projects, I felt like it was something really fresh. ... I did a lot of research, and while working with production designer Daniel Dorrance [I learned] a lot of interesting ways of getting inspired by the real-life places and unknown locations. Furthermore, I had a chance to see how my concepts were brought to life and how all the designs were put into action with real, 3D environments. It was wicked, and [such a] humble experience."
Check them all out below. According to the first post, these are just a small fraction of the hundreds of commissioned pieces Zabrocki did for Fox. Yet another sign that preproduction stage had come a very long way before the movie was scrapped.
"After I heard the project got scrapped I felt devastated, because for the last 12 months I [had] put a lot of love and passion into something I really believed in," adds Zubrocki. "At the end of the day, that project was a great and fresh new chapter. I had a chance to try new things, new workflows. [I was exploring] a different scale, starting with a super-small, intimate team and growing into a full Hollywood production team within a few months. I keep saying what was made by all [the] people involved was golden, and I will always remember it positively."