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A Fantasy Blockbuster Shot In 2014 Is Finally Being Released

Over the last year and a half, moviegoers have become increasingly accustomed to shifting release dates, as filmmakers tried to cope with industry-wide disruptions caused by COVID-19. Even some of the most prominent and highly anticipated films have fallen victim to slippery schedules, as Disney recently announced that even more Marvel movies had been delayed.

However, one fantasy blockbuster's release problems predate the worldwide pandemic by over half a decade. It's a film that has been mysteriously missing ever since its production finished in 2014. That film was originally known as "The Moon and the Sun," before it dropped off the radar ahead of its planned 2015 release date. The vanishing movie is based on the 1997 Nebula Award-winning novel of the same name by Vonda N. McIntyre (via Deadline). The family-friendly fantasy epic features Pierce Bronson in a lead role, and — had the film arrived on schedule — it would have been the realization of nearly two decades worth of effort to get the story to the big screen.

Obviously, "The Moon and the Sun" didn't make its release date and lost the attention of both the media and moviegoers as it went into a lengthy post-production limbo. However, it seems that the film, which has been rebranded and renamed, is finally ready for a wide release and will be headed to theaters in early 2022. Here is everything fans need to know about "The King's Daughter," and why they've had to wait nearly six years to finally see it.

The King's Daughter tells a family-friendly epic set and shot at the Palace of Versailles

The revival of "The King's Daughter" was reported by Deadline, who noted that Gravitas Ventures had purchased the North American rights to the film and intended to prepare it for a release in more than 1,000 theaters across the United States and Canada on January 21, 2022.

"The King's Daughter" follows the plot of the Vonda N. McIntyre novel on which it is based, and is narrated by Julie Andrews. The story revolves around King Louis XIV (Pierce Bronson), often referred to as the Sun King, and the arrival of his previously unrecognized daughter, Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario).

As Marie-Josèphe becomes accustomed to the lavish lifestyle that is the norm at her father's home at the Palace of Versailles, she soon discovers the Mermaid (Fan Bingbing) that King Louis XIV has taken captive as a potential tool in his quest for immortality. Marie-Josèphe soon realizes she is the only person who can communicate with the creature, with whom she soon forms a bond, setting up a confrontation between her, King Louis, and his court.

Work on the movie began in 2014. While most of the production was handled in Australia, the cast and crew also spent two weeks filming at the actual Palace of Versailles, according to Variety. From an outside perspective, everything seemed to be progressing just fine, and the film was on track to meet its April 10, 2015 release date — until Paramount mysteriously pulled the film less than a month before it was scheduled to premiere.

The King's Daughter overcame some distribution hurdles

Just three weeks before "The Moon and the Sun" was set to appear in theaters, Deadline reported that Paramount had pulled the film from its lineup, offering no explanation for the decision and nothing in the way of a new release schedule. A source told The Hollywood Reporter around the time that the film was delayed that more time was needed to finish visual effects, and that a finished product could arrive in the summer of 2015. Obviously, that estimate proved overly optimistic.

Information remained scarce until the film made it back into the news in 2020, when Arclight Pictures purchased the completed movie and added Julie Andrews to the cast list (via Screen Daily). The resurgence of interest in the film prompted Film Stories to investigate why the film was kept from viewers for such a long time, and the outlet came to some interesting conclusions.

Film Stories found that the most likely reason that "The Moon and the Sun" was delayed was due to subpar visual effects, but also reported that the film's name change to "The King's Daughter" occurred at some point in 2016. Sources indicated that the renamed film might have been planned for a release on October 7, 2016, but this date passed without any news.

However, there was an additional issue that Film Stories identified as the possible reason that "The King's Daughter" never made it to theaters — a scandal involving a prominent cast member, Fan Bingbing. In 2018, China's most famous actress became involved in a tax evasion issue that may have hurt the film's prospects worldwide. Without any communication from individuals involved in the film's production, it's hard to say for sure what went wrong, but it looks like fans will finally get to enjoy "The King's Daughter" on January 21, 2022.