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A lot of people are familiar with the Hollywood term “development hell,” but for those who aren’t, the term refers to a sort of limbo that a film falls into when it’s having trouble getting off the ground. There are plenty of reasons a film can find itself in this position, such as funding issues or difficulty assembling a cast and crew. For the Uncharted movie, it seems to be the latter.
Travis Knight, the director behind the surprisingly good Transformers spin-off Bumblebee, became attached to the project in September, following the departure of director Dan Trachtenberg (who directed another good spin-off, the Cloverfield-adjacent 10 Cloverfield Lane). A mere three months later, Knight has left the project, becoming the sixth director to do so.
The film was slated for a December 2020 release date but was delayed for the umpteenth time due to Tom Holland’s – who’s set to play Nathan Drake – previous commitment to Spider-Man. While Holland and Mark Wahlberg, who’s playing Victor “Sully” Sullivan,” are sticking with the project, Knight decided his time was better spent elsewhere.
Sony plans to move forward with another director, which is the only move to make after devoting this much time to the project. To get a good idea of just how long this film has been in the works, Mark Wahlberg himself was originally in talks to play Drake, before he pivoted to the (much older) role of Sully back in November.
To clarify, that isn’t to imply that the project has been in the works for thirty years (or however large the age gap is between Drake and Sullivan), as the film is now going to be a prequel with a younger Drake and Sully. Still, eleven years in development is considerable, and the studio may have very well decided that Wahlberg had become too old to play Drake.
While it’s true that films oftentimes never make it out of development hell, there’s still every chance Uncharted will get made. The property is still popular, it’s still got two big stars attached to it, and it’s still got money behind it. The time to abandon the project has come and gone and at this point, the only way to save face is to see it to completion and knock it out of the park. Who knows? An Uncharted film franchise could become Indiana Jones for a younger generation. Maybe the seventh director will be the lucky one.
Tim Holland is short, like 5’8″ short and would never pass as Nathan Drake. He should stick to playing Peter Parker. Nathan Fillion can still play Drake. I don’t know why they never signed him. I’ve actually been looking forward to this movie since 2008 or so and now I could care less.