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Guillermo Del Toro Movies We'll Never Get To See

In November 2018, Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro took to Twitter to reveal to the world what screenplays he'd completed that had never been turned into finished movies. The list was staggering, spanning decades of creative energy. Some of them were totally original concepts from del Toro's brain. Others were adaptations of famous literary works. But they all shared the same quality of being unmade potential features from the mind of Guillermo del Toro. 

The tweet served as the perfect reflection of how, in his many years in Hollywood, del Toro has had numerous projects slip through his fingertips. Sadly, these highly publicized passion projects never materialized due to a wide array of reasons, ranging from financing issues to scheduling conflicts and everything in between. 

The movies del Toro has made, like Pan's Labyrinth or The Shape of Water, have left an indelible footprint on pop culture. But in a way, some of his unmade movies have also left an impact thanks to how much excitement they've generated from his fanbase. Though we may never see them projected on the big screen as originally intended, it still proves fascinating to ponder what could've been with these unmade Guillermo del Toro movies.

Hellboy 3 was troubled by too many demons

It's safe to say that no unmade del Toro project is as passionately discussed as Hellboy 3. Perhaps it's because none of his unmade films were as teased heavily as Hellboy 3. After all, Hellboy II: The Golden Army featured an entire sequence where a prophetic angel tells Liz (Selma Blair) that Hellboy (Ron Perlman) will eventually bring about the apocalypse. There was also the much lighter indicator of the future where Liz revealed to Hellboy that she wasn't just expecting a child, she was expecting twins. 

Hellboy 3 was teed up so explicitly that fans were eager to see where del Toro's vision of Hellboy would go next. All of that setup, though, didn't help to get the movie made. In the years since Hellboy II came out, Hellboy 3 has proved to be an elusive prospect. Initially, del Toro's commitments to The Hobbit kept it unmade, but later issues surrounded trouble securing financing. Though hope emerged in 2013 about Pacific Rim financier Legendary Pictures footing the bill, del Toro eventually revealed in February 2017 on his Twitter that the project was officially dead. 

This development was seemingly confirmed a few months later with the announcement of the ill-fated 2019 reboot Hellboy. Despite all the setup for it, Hellboy 3 was plagued with a barrage of problems that have kept it from existing. Fans of del Toro's Hellboy movies will just have to learn how to smile without it.

Fantastic Voyage never set sail

The 1966 film Fantastic Voyage is a beloved piece of science fiction cinema. This story entails a crew who are shrunken down to microscopic size and travel inside a human body. In the decades since its release, the story of Fantastic Voyage has proven so influential that it's difficult to imagine any filmmaker being up to the task of remaking it. But that's just what Guillermo del Toro intended to do. In January 2016, del Toro was in talks to helm a Fantastic Voyage remake for 20th Century Fox, produced by James Cameron. The production was being looked at as "an event-sized tentpole" and was reportedly being eyeballed by del Toro as his follow-up project to the October 2015 release Crimson Peak.

However, Fantastic Voyage was eventually put on the back-burner so that del Toro could finish The Shape of Water. At the time, del Toro was said to be still committed to the project, and he reaffirmed this in an interview with Collider where he said that the project was eyeballing a filming start date in the fall of 2018. Though crew members were subsequently hired for the project, that was the last update for del Toro's Fantastic Voyage, which has gone unmade. Subsequent corporate shake-ups at Fox stemming from the Disney/Fox merger make it unclear when, if at all, we'll be seeing del Toro's take on Fantastic Voyage.

Guillermo del Toro almost went on the greatest adventure with The Hobbit

Between 2012 and 2014, moviegoers were given a trilogy of movies adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, each directed by Peter Jackson. Though he was behind the original Lord of the Rings movies, Jackson wasn't the first filmmaker attached to helm The Hobbit. Initially, Guillermo del Toro was hired to direct a two-part adaptation of the classic fantasy tale. Fresh off his acclaimed work on Pan's Labyrinth, del Toro was picked at the start of 2008 and was deep into writing the script by the end of the year. In his time on the project, del Toro was public about his ambitions for The Hobbit. These included a heavy emphasis on animatronics, taking cues from World War I's influence on Tolkien's writing for the original Hobbit book, and hopes for casting of Ron Perlman as Beorn. 

Unfortunately, del Toro's The Hobbit would only remain a vision. In May 2010, del Toro departed the project due to ongoing delays related to the financial struggles of Hobbit financier MGM. However, del Toro eventually clarified that the reasons for his departure went beyond just the movie studio, saying his decision to pull out "came from many factors." Later reports would suggest that del Toro struggled with the idea of trying to leave his own mark with his Hobbit movies, considering the enormous shadow cast by Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies. Whatever the reason for del Toro's departure, it was just another step in The Hobbit's unexpectedly difficult journey to the big screen.

We'll never see The Wind in the Willows thanks to studio meddling

Through producing The Book of Life and the Trollhunters TV show, Guillermo del Toro's fondness for children's entertainment is apparent. That affection was evident in some of the earliest days of his career when he attempted to make a new film adaptation of the classic children's story, The Wind in the Willows. In February 2003, del Toro signed on to direct a live-action/CGI version of The Wind in the Willows for Disney, which had previously adapted this material as part of the animated film The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad. The announcement also indicated that this would be a futuristic take on the source material.

Years passed, and no further updates emerged for del Toro's Wind in the Willows. In 2008, an explanation for the radio silence emerged when del Toro explained to Rotten Tomatoes that the project went awry due to studio meddling. "[I] went to meet with the executives," del Toro explained. "And they said, 'Could you give Toad a skateboard and make him say, 'radical dude' things,' and that's when I said, 'It's been a pleasure.'" A decade later, del Toro would further reflect on his version of The Wind in the Willows in a tweet, where he revealed that he had finished and loved his script for the project. Apparently, much like his love for children's entertainment, del Toro's fondness for The Wind in the Willows has only grown in the years since this project went unmade.

Meat Market: A Love Story can be felt in Guillermo del Toro's other films

Hot off his widely-acclaimed directorial debut, the bizarre vampire tale Cronos, del Toro had established a unique identity for himself as a filmmaker. Now, he was looking to reinforce that identity by following up Cronos with another strange yet deeply human horror title. The distinctively titled Meat Market: A Love Story was first announced in 1995 as one of the many projects the then-new filmmaker was working on. The premise concerned a disfigured man living beneath a meat market who ends up developing romantic feelings for a lady up above whose father runs the market. This project brought together some of del Toro's favorite classic movies through a mash-up of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera. Set to headline the production was Cronos star Ron Perlman.

Though it featured so many elements that the director loves, del Toro's attention eventually drifted away to other projects. Though Meat Market: A Love Story went unmade, its impact on del Toro's career has still been felt, and elements of this production have ended up resurfacing throughout the director's work. This is particularly apparent in the central romance of The Shape of Water. The romance between a fish monster and a mute woman, two beings from two very different worlds, feels like a new manifestation of the romance at the heart of Meat Market: A Love Story.

3993 fell by the wayside

Hellboy isn't the only unfinished trilogy in del Toro's filmography. He's also yet to deliver 3993, the third installment in an unofficial trio of films involving the Spanish Civil War. This would've followed up on early del Toro movies The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth. 3993 was first announced in the summer of 2006, with del Toro telling Variety the film "portrays 1990s Spain, how it still has some fantastical rooting in things that happened in 1939." In other words, the film would reflect on two different time periods, 1939 and 1993. Plus, further details later revealed by screenwriter Sergio Sanchez, who said 3993 would deal with reopened graves of Spanish Civil War soldiers and would be told in the Spanish language.

Despite having so many concrete details pinned down, as well as being a spiritual successor two of del Toro's most acclaimed movies, IGN reported in 2009 that 3993 had been shelved. This was back when del Toro was signed on to direct The Hobbit, an indication that del Toro put smaller projects like 3993 aside for bigger blockbuster fare. Even though The Hobbit never got made, del Toro has since preoccupied himself with a barrage of other projects. Given the director's busy schedule, as well as the fact that he hasn't spoken about 3993 in years, it looks unlikely this Spanish Civil War trilogy will ever get a proper resolution.

At the Mountains of Madness could've been a horror classic

When Deadline first revealed that Guillermo del Toro was preparing to direct a movie adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft novella At the Mountains of Madness, the outlet described the endeavor as one that had been "years in the works" from del Toro. That level of passion was further reflected in how fervently del Toro pursued the project in the years that followed. Unfortunately, all that excitement never translated into a final project. Even with James Cameron attached as a producer, del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness never got made, thus becoming one of the greatest horror movies never made.

The reasons for why are numerous. Chiefly, del Toro noted that Prometheus, which shares plot similarities with Madness, caused the production to crumble. But del Toro primarily blamed the fact that his Mountains of Madness would've been an R-rated affair with a $150 million price tag. Distributor Universal wasn't looking to hand off a that kind of money to a film with such a restrictive rating. Unwilling to compromise his vision for a PG-13, del Toro's At the Mountain of Madness went unmade. Despite all the setbacks, del Toro is still enthusiastic about At the Mountains of Madness over a decade after he first signed on to direct it. In July 2020, del Toro revealed that he wears a ring referencing a fictional university in the Madness universe. This way, if the film never happens, per del Toro, "They may bury me with it."

We're all haunted by The Haunted Mansion

The spooky domicile of The Haunted Mansion was already turned into a film once back in 2003. The results were widely reviled by both Haunted Mansion enthusiasts and general audiences alike. But a second cinematic trip to the property almost happened under the watch of Guillermo del Toro. In July 2010, it was announced that the filmmaker was developing a new movie based on the beloved Disney theme park ride. Del Toro wrote a screenplay that heavily featured the Hatbox Ghost and, despite being aimed at families, wouldn't ease up on the scares. By 2012, del Toro had submitted multiple scripts to Disney regarding the project while also noting that Disney had liked what he'd written. Further promising news emerged in the spring of 2015, when it broke that Ryan Gosling was in talks to star in the production.

Despite these promising developments, del Toro's Haunted Mansion movie subsequently struggled to gain momentum. Executive producer Brigham Taylor noted in a Digital Trends interview in 2016 that del Toro's Haunted Mansion had "been going at its own pace." Unfortunately, going at that pace never led to the big screen. In August 2020, a decade after del Toro's Haunted Mansion was first announced, Katie Dippold was hired to pen a script for a brand new approach to a Haunted Mansion movie. The Haunted Mansion has plenty of room for countless apparitions, but there apparently was no space for del Toro's vision of the property.

Sadly, Justice League Dark was defeated

Guillermo del Toro made a big splash in the American movie scene thanks to superhero movies like Blade II and the Hellboy movies. And del Toro almost made a comeback to the superhero domain with a film adaptation of the DC Comics property Justice League Dark. As the name would imply, Justice League Dark is about a team of crime-fighters. But unlike the more traditional version of the group, this particular team consists of morally dubious figures and monsters from across the DC Universe. This is what attracted del Toro to the project, with the director reflecting in 2019 on how he loves superheroes who are monsters and that the Justice League Dark characters fit that bill to a tee.

The group's first feature film was announced to have secured the interest of del Toro in January 2013. By the time November 2014 rolled around, del Toro had completed a script for the production. At this stage, the team members rounding out the titular group included the likes of Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, and Swamp Thing. While del Toro was publicly enthusiastic about Justice League Dark, by the summer of 2015, The Hollywood Reporter said that he'd reportedly departed the production, with Variety reporting that del Toro had left due to his busy schedule. Test animation of del Toro's version of Swamp Thing is all that survives of del Toro's unmade return to the superhero movie genre.

Guillermo del Toro wanted to produce Born, but it died along the way

Thanks to the likes of The Nightmare Before Christmas and a number of Laika movies, feature-length stop-motion animation has been associated with the world of horror. If it had actually gotten made, the Guillermo del Toro-produced Born would have only enhanced that perception. First announced in the summer of 2007, Born would've starred Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as a couple, with Bettany portraying an animator. Stop-motion would've been used to realize the husband's creations, which eventually come to life and begin wreaking havoc. An all-star crew had been assembled to bring the film to the big screen, which included del Toro and Hellraiser creator Clive Barker as producers. Paul Kaye, one of the film's screenwriters, divulged further details in the fall of 2007, including that it would be directed by Dan Simpson.

Though it had all its pieces in place to actually get made, that wasn't enough to get Born off the ground. In early 2009, Simpson revealed in an interview (via Slash Film) that Born was "ready to go" but awaited financing from the production company HandMade Films. The lack of subsequent developments makes it apparent that Born never got the money it needed. As other long-in-development projects like The Goon can attest, securing financing for animated American movies for adults is a near impossible task. That lack of dollars ensured that Born, the perfect example of stop-motion animation being an amazing tool for horror filmmaking, would never see the light of day.