Scrapped Guillermo del Toro Movies We Still Want To See – MovieWeb

For as many great films Guillermo del Toro did make, there are many amazing unrealized movies that never saw the light of day.
Guillermo del Toro is one of the biggest names in movie making. A visionary director with a clear style, Del Toro's movies are a mix of gothic horror and whimsical fantasy, with a strong color palette and an appreciation for monsters. Del Toro sees both beauty and horror in the real world, and he treats genres that are often dismissed as pulpy with the same seriousness and weight that is usually afforded to dramas. Del Toro has said he doesn't believe in eye candy; he works to give the audience eye protein with rich visuals that have multiple symbolic layers while also crafting entertaining, thoughtful, and beautiful movies.
Del Toro has worked in the realm of genre blockbusters like Blade 2, the Hellboy movies, and Pacific Rim, horror movies like The Devil's Backbone and Crimson Peak, as well as more mature films like Pans Labyrinth, The Shape of Water, and most recently Nightmare Alley. After years of being one of the most respected filmmakers in Hollywood, Del Toro won the Best Director and Best Picture Oscar for The Shape of Water. His next film is a stop-motion animated version of Pinocchio, set to be released during the holiday season on Netflix, which will also host his anthology show Cabinet of Curiosities.
Yet despite all the great films Del Toro has made, his career is also filled with a plethora of amazing-sounding unrealized projects. Being one of the most in-demand filmmakers, Del Toro has been attached to a variety of titles over the years that never got off the ground, or were later developed by other filmmakers and creative teams. Yet any project that might have once been directed by Guillermo del Toro begs to be asked what it might have looked like. These are some of the biggest unrealized Guillermo del Toro projects that we still hope to happen.
The Hobbit films are the most high-profile movies that Del Toro worked on which never materialized. Del Toro signed on shortly before the release of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, and spent two years working on The Hobbit with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philipa Boyens. Del Toro envisioned the originally planned two films to be visually distinct from the Lord of the Rings films, with the first film being a much more golden-looking film with the second movie being a transition film between the visuals of the first Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Related: Pinocchio: Why the Classic Fable Has Been Rebooted So Many Times
In 2010, after working on the project for two years, Del Toro departed citing the various delays to the film due to MGM's financial issues. While Peter Jackson eventually took over and released three Hobbit films from 2012 to 2014, many wondered just what Del Toro's vision of Middle Earth would look like, and how the two directors' visions would mesh together as a coherent world.
Following his two years working on The Hobbit, Del Toro quickly found a new project, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountain of Madness. The story is a sci-fi horror epic that focuses on an expedition team in Antarctica in the 1930s which discovers the remains of an ancient alien civilization and awakens the monstrous creatures that dwell within.
Del Toro originally developed the film at DreamWorks in 2004, but the project moved over to Universal Pictures after he'd worked with the studio on Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. Just a couple of months after Avatar was released and became the highest-grossing film of all time, James Cameron signed on to produce At The Mountain of Madness with Tom Cruise being in consideration for the lead role. With the combined might of two of the biggest creative visionaries in Hollywood with a possible lead role for one of the biggest actors in movie history, one wonders how it did not happen.
A combination of factors led to the film's downfall. The first was Universal having a series of box office disappointments backing genre films like The Wolfman, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, and its upcoming Cowboys & Aliens. These were all films that might have had a passionate vocal fanbase online that did not translate to box hits, making the studio hesitant about investing in a high-budget R-rated horror film. The other factor was that 20th Century Fox had Prometheus set for a summer 2012 release, which had a similar plot to At The Mountain of Madness and was also set to be an R-rated sci-fi horror film. Despite the project being scrapped, Del Toro still has an interest in making the movie.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army sprinkled in teases for a third movie, one that would conclude Hellboy's story arc and see if he fulfilled his destiny to bring about the apocalypse. Del Toro expressed interest in directing Hellboy 3 over the years, setting it up as a potential project after The Hobbit and At The Mountain of Madness, both of which were scrapped. Del Toro revealed they were struggling to find a studio to greenlight a sequel, as both Hellboy films performed moderately well at the box office but did better in home video sales, but home media was no longer a vital market for studios in the age of streaming.
In 2017, Guillermo del Toro confirmed that plans for Hellboy 3 were officially scrapped in favor of a reboot, which resulted in the 2019 film Hellboy. That Hellboy film was a box office bomb, grossing $55 million worldwide, which was less than the domestic total of the 2004 Hellboy movie. Hellboy actor Ron Perlman recently expressed interest in reprising his role in Del Toro's long-awaited Hellboy 3 if the director returned, and if they could get the budget for the movie. While it seems unlikely, recently long-awaited sequels with returning actors to long-dormant franchises like Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, and even Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: No Way Home have shown that it is entirely possible Del Toro may one day get to finish his vision.
One of the most recent films of Del Toro's to not get past the development stage, the director was set to helm a remake of The Fantastic Voyage. The Fantastic Voyage was an iconic 1966 sci-fi film that focused on a submarine crew who are shrunk to microscopic size and venture into the human body. Del Toro signed on in 2016 with David S. Goyer (Batman Begins) penning the script. The film has been a passion project of producer James Cameron for some time (presumably combining his love of sci-fi and submarines), and he brought on Del Toro after the two had previously attempted making At The Mountain of Madness together in 2010.
In 2017, Del Toro put the film on hold to focus on The Shape of Water. Shortly after, 20th Century Fox was acquired by the Walt Disney company, likely putting a stop to the development of the film. However, given Cameron's involvement as a producer, and Disney heavily invested in the four upcoming Avatar sequels, there is a possibility the movie could still happen.
Del Toro has never officially been attached to any version of Frankenstein, but the director has expressed it as one of his dream projects. Universal Pictures reportedly approach Del Toro about the project, but nothing official ever came of it likely due to the studio having plans for the Dark Universe. Del Toro expressed that his version would span two or three films, due to the original novel spanning so many periods of time and different points of view. He reportedly did a makeup test with longtime collaborator Doug Jones.
Related: Dark Universe: All the Canceled Films Planned
In the wake of The Mummy bombing at the box office, Universal Pictures has opted for a more director-driven approach. The studio has started to make a name for itself as the director-friendly studio, courting Christopher Nolan for Oppenheimer, Jordan Peele has a picture deal with them, and The Daniels recently signed a deal with them following the surprise hit of Everything Everywhere All At Once. As such, Universal Pictures would be smart to invest in Del Toro's vision of Frankenstein.
In 2011, as part of DC's New 52 initiative they combined their various supernatural heroes like Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, and Deadman into a superhero team titled Justice League Dark. The team's prominence alongside other major DC heroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern showed that DC saw mainstream film potential. Just two years later in 2013, del Toro confirmed his involvement in the film version. The working title was Dark Universe (the name that Universal Studios would eventually use for their planned and failed cinematic universe of classic monsters). Del Toro planned to use characters like John Constantine, Etrigan the Demon, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, and the Spectre teaming up to stop the Floronic Man.
The film was planned to be part of the DCEU, which had just begun with Man of Steel. Del Toro eventually departed the project in 2015, and while he was replaced by Doug Liman the movie remained in development hell while the DCEU was constantly changing.
The most recent development surrounding the team Justice League Dark was that it was being developed by producer J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Company. The plan appears to be films and television series that exist alongside each other, with a Zatanna movie written by Promising Young Woman screenwriter Emerald Fennell and a Constantine and Madame Xanadu series at HBO Max. However, following recent cancelations at Warner Bros. Discovery, there is a chance these projects do not see the light of day.
The 2010 San Diego Comic-Con was a major one, as it was the first time the Avengers assembled on stage together, the world premiere of Scott Pilgrim VS the World happened, and audiences got their first look at blockbusters like Cowboys & Aliens and Green Lantern. Yet one of the biggest announcements was that Guillermo del Toro was working on a new version of the popular Disney ride The Haunted Mansion.
Del Toro revealed his pitch would not be a comedy like the previous 2003 film attempt, and his film would focus on the Hatbox Ghost and be aiming for a PG-13 rating. Del Toro signed on as a producer and screenwriter but was never signed on to direct the film and submitted a draft of the script in 2012. The last word on the film was in 2015 when it was rumored Ryan Gosling was circling the film.
Disney is now moving forward on a new Haunted Mansion, yet it appears Del Toro is no longer involved in the project. The new Haunted Mansion is now set for release on March 10, 2023, and will be directed by Justin Simien and written by Kate Dippold. It is unclear if any of Del Toro's original plans for the movie will be moved over, however, Jared Leto has been confirmed as the Hatbox Ghost.
Richard Fink is a writer who graduated from Arizona State University in 2016 with a degree in Film and Media Production. He loves the finer things in life, like cold Diet Coke on a hot summer day. Richard is a fan of all things Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and Film History.

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