Minecraft director

I don’t think anyone would have said there was much of a link between the show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the video game Minecraft, but Always Sunny star and co-creator Rob McElhenney has just built a bridge between them. He’ll direct the Warner Bros. film based on the insanely popular world-building video game.

The news came originally from Mojang, the Swedish company that was the creator and original publisher of Minecraft. (Microsoft now owns Mojang.)

Shawn Levy was originally set to direct, but he left the project abruptly in December 2014. Why? Because the story he came up with, which he called an adventure movie with “a bit of a Goonies flair,” wasn’t what Mojang wanted.

Anyone who has a foot in the gaming world, or who has kids in school knows about Minecraft, the sandbox video game which allows players to build and explore worlds, and which has relatively few hard and fast rules, allowing players to approach it from a variety of different angles.

The freedom represented by Minecraft‘s system is part of the game’s appeal, and part of the reason it boasts 100 million players globally, but that is also one of the factors that makes a movie adaptation particularly difficult. It’s not unlike The LEGO Movie, which had as its jumping-off point a similarly free-form toy set.

So what will the movie be? Great question! With McElhenney on board it’s safe to guess that it will be a comedy, and beyond that the field is wide open. The LEGO Movie producer Roy Lee is producing, and so we can probably expect some of that film’s sensibilities to be imported.

And the good news, both for fans of the game and for those parents who will hear about this movie from their kids probably until the end of time, is that the differences between Mojang and Levy mean that the developer seems to be trying to build a real movie that will do right by the game, rather than a “who cares” rush job merely to capitalize on the game’s popularity.

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