Mouse guard movie dead

Mouse Guard is hanging up its swords and shields. Wes Ball’s motion-capture animated movie, whose production was halted by Disney following their acquisition of Fox, is confirmed to be officially dead by the director. But we can bask in the possibilities of what could have been a bit longer with the concept art, models, and animation tests for the film that Ball is sharing in the wake of Mouse Guard’s cancellation.

Two months after Disney suddenly halted Mouse Guard as it was set to go into production, Wes Ball confirmed that the feature film based on David Petersen’s stunning comic series was officially dead, apparently unable to find a new home after Disney scrapped the 20th Century Fox project.

“Yes sadly, its true. Our [Mouse Guard] movie is dead,” Wes Ball announced on Twitter. “Seems it’s too big a risk. It’s a damn shame really. We had something special. To my hella talented cast/crew: I’m sorry I couldn’t push this one through. The past year with you all has been a blast. May the Guard prevail!”

In the same tweet, Ball shared a video of the production offices for Mouse Guard, which were littered with concept art, character models, and set designs, showing that the film was already well into pre-production.

The offices are jam-packed with detailed pieces of art, models, and set structures, and you can see glimpses of motion-capture animation tests for the mouse characters, which were set to be created in photorealistic animation by Weta Workshop. Ball even shared a 9-minute test animation video rendered in realtime using Epic’s Unreal Engine, a tool used for game developers. The test animation is meant to “illustrate how the movie will ‘feel’ not how it will ‘look’,” though it looks pretty darn impressive. But the atmosphere is one of sun-kissed warmth and beauty — a slightly surreal aesthetic that would have certainly set it apart from the live-action Disney films’ strict adherences to realism, though Disney apparently didn’t think so.

The film’s cancellation feels like even more of a shame in the face of these breathtaking pieces of concept art and test animation. Ball, who is best known for his Maze Runner films, seemed passionate about the material and truly capable of bringing Petersen’s vivid Eisner Award-winning illustrations to life. But sadly, despite the beautiful designs and what would have been a stacked cast including Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Sonoya Mizuno, Mouse Guard was unable to find a new home.

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