It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator and star Rob McElhenney has revealed why he’s no longer making an animated Minecraft movie. Having replaced Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy, McElhenney was all set to bring the video-game juggernaut – which boasts over 90 million active players a month – to the big screen.
The actor, who’s been promoting his new Apple Plus series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, explained to HappySadConfused podcast that the studio was initially enthusiastic about his idea for the Minecraft movie, the plot of which would have centred on people taking “agency over their experience in this digital landscape.”
However, incoming Warner Bros. head Toby Emmerich wasn’t enthusiastic about the story – which would have cost $150 million to produce – and McElhenney was replaced by Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist director Peter Sollett.
“I don’t harbour any resentment,” McElhenney said, “I get it. I get the way that it works.” McElhenney had gone as far as spending two and a half years working on the project, hiring a visual effects team and booking sound stages in Vancouver, which meant it wasn’t easy seeing his script “slowly die on the vine.”
McElhenney holds no grudges against the project’s producers, emphasising his own love and respect for the game: “What an amazing tool, much like Legos except now you’re talking about infinite possibilities because it’s digital, to give to kids – and not just kids, but any person who feels powerless.”
He insisted that the game’s open-world narrative is its greatest strength, and that he wanted his version of the movie to be an extension of that. “The game gave you that [agency],” he said, “and I thought that’s a really profound experience.”
Fans can hold out hope that McElhenney gets to bring his creative vision to future projects, after further revealing he learnt movie-making from Pixar creatives for Minecraft. Meanwhile, GamesRadar+ recently spoke to McElhenney and the cast of his new show, Mythic Quest, about the series, a workplace comedy that goes behind the scenes of a videogame studio. The show tackles issues such as monetization and representation, as it looks to “celebrate the industry in all its glory and all its flaws.” The series is available on Apple Plus now, and the Minecraft movie currently has a release date of March 4, 2022.
Looking for something to watch a bit sooner? Check out all the movie release dates coming in 2020.