'Minecraft' Movie Loses Director Rob McElhenney, Finds New Writers

In the summer of 2015, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-creator and star Rob McElhenney was announced as the director of a feature-length Minecraft movie based on the mega-popular video game. The film was supposed to come out next summer, but now that seems to be in jeopardy – McElhenney is no longer on board, and the project has just hired the same writing team that's currently attached to the long-in-the-works Masters of the Universe movie.

According to TheWrap, McElhenney, who was also co-writing the Minecraft movie script with Wonder Woman writer Jason Fuchs, has now dropped out of the project altogether. "No, that is not happening," McElhenney told the outlet – though it's unclear exactly what question they asked him.

Still, TheWrap claims that the It's Always Sunny actor has jumped ship and that Warner Bros. has hired the writing/directing team of Aaron and Adam Nee to write a new draft of the screenplay. The Nee brothers wrote and directed a 2015 indie feature called Band of Robbers, a modern retelling of author Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn stories, and they're currently slated to direct a new version of Masters of the Universe. Roy Lee (The LEGO Movie) is still going to serve as this film's producer.

Minecraft: The Movie was originally scheduled to hit theaters on May 24, 2019. TheWrap says that the loss of McElhenney "should" push back that date, though I suppose there's technically still a slim chance that the studio could power through and stay on track to release the film next summer. In all likelihood, though, it'll be a couple of years before we see this come to theaters. Animated films take years to make, and bringing on new writers after a director has left seems to indicate that the studio wants a whole new direction here instead of just a slight revamp.

It's unclear if the Nee brothers will also be directing Minecraft, the film adaptation of the popular block-based open world video game that has over 100 million players across the globe. The game doesn't have a traditional plot, but instead allows players to build, fight, or explore on their own terms. It's also unclear if The Office alum Steve Carell is interested in starring in this version of the film; he was in talks to join the cast back in 2016, but as far as I can tell, nothing truly official ever emerged from those talks.

I'm very curious about this. Could the freedom of not having a pre-defined narrative turn Minecraft into the first recent Hollywood movie to break the video game curse?