Before Landing Jason Momoa, ‘The Crow’ Remake Went Through A Shocking Number Of Leads And Directors

The reboot of 1994’s The Crow is reportedly finally shooting in early 2017, and really, in a world where even obscure superheroes can rack up a mint at the box office, reviving J. O’Barr’s brooding, undead vigilante would seem to be a no-brainer. But believe it or not, it took nearly nine years, and a ridiculous number of actors and directors, to finally get this movie in front of cameras.

The problem doesn’t lie in the plot of the movie. J. O’Barr’s comic, and the movie, features Eric Draven, victim of a bunch of thrill-killing gangsters, returning from the dead and taking vengeance. The comic stood out from a host of books like it at the time because Draven, unlike most comic book heroes, came back in a hazy mental state; it’s never entirely clear if Draven is really undead, or has just suffered a complete psychological breakdown. The potential was certainly there for an actor to push the role to the next level.

It starts in 2008, with Blade director Stephen Norrington and Relativity Media teaming up to launch the reboot. Norrington wanted to make a grittier, street-level story, more in line with what Marvel would later do with its Netflix shows than the swooping, gothic style of Alex Proyas’ original. Norrington worked on the movie until 2011, when he walked away and was replaced by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, best known for 28 Weeks Later. Fresnadillo got as far as casting Bradley Cooper before dropping out, replaced by Before The Fall‘s F. Javier Gutiérrez.

The movie went quiet until 2013, when it was announced Luke Evans had been cast, although somewhere along the way, the movie had lost Gutiérrez. In 2014, Corin Hardy, best known for The Hallow, took the director’s chair. Everything was all set: The movie would start shooting in 2015. And then, in short order, Evans was out, replaced by Jack Huston, and the financial bottom dropped out of the studio behind the whole thing.

Relativity Media had, during all this, been struggling to find hits and fend off creditors over a decision in 2011 to sell its stake in a slate of Universal hits to a hedge fund. While the studio had been involved in movies like Fast 7 and Bridesmaids, all throughout 2014 and 2015, it had been struggling to keep the lights on, and in July 2015, the financial reckoning came. Relativity filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and The Crow remake, unable to get funding, collapsed back into development hell as Huston and Hardy left.

Fortunately for Relativity, they seem to have a friend in Jason Momoa. Momoa stepped in to take the lead of the movie, and appears to have brought Hardy back to direct as well.

And, so far, all seems on track for a filming date about four months from now, four leads and four directors later. But, of course, if the history of this movie has taught us anything, it’s not to count on it happening before it shoots.