Even though I have never played Minecraft, I was excited for the Minecraft movie because of who was attached as director: Rob McElhenney, the co-creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and all-around fascinating guy. The adaptation was supposed to come out in May 2019, to capitalize on pixelated block fever (it’s the highest-selling video game ever), but the date was pushed back to May 4, 2022, and McElhenney is no longer listed as director, having been replaced by Peter Sollett. What happened?
“I’m comfortable talking about it, because f*ck them at this point,” the Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet star recently said on the HappySadConfused podcast. “Them” is Warner Bros., who agreed to spend $150 million on the project. But when the studio’s movie chief Greg Silverman left in 2016 to pursue other projects and Toby Emmerich took over, things fell apart. McElhenney said Minecraft “slowly died on the vine,” but he doesn’t “harbor any resentment. I get it. I get the way that it works.”
McElhenney also explained why he was interested in the project in the first place:
“I thought one of the greatest assets to Minecraft was they didn’t have a fixed narrative. It was an open world experience. All you were essentially give was the building blocks to do whatever you want. I thought, 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. Kids mostly feel powerless; all day long they’re being told what to do, how to dress, do your homework, go to bed. I felt like that could extend to other people. I think everybody feels marginalized to an extent. Your boss is telling you what to do all day long, or your spouse is. You just feel like you don’t have this sense of agency over your own life. The game gave you that, and I thought that’s a really profound experience.”
Oh well. At least McElhenney now has time to write the Sonic sequel.