Following the 20th Century Fox and Disney merger, the live-action adaptation of Archaia/BOOM! Studios' Mouse Guard has officially been cancelled two weeks before production was slated to begin.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film's producers, Matt Reeves, Ross Ritchie and Stephen Christy, are being allowed to shop the project to other studios, as well as streaming services such as Netflix.
Reeves, who helmed the first installment in the most recent Planet of the Apes reboot and is working on an untitled Batman film for Warner Bros., has a production deal with Netflix, but Paramount is also reportedly interested in the project, since the studio already has a relationship with Mouse Guard's director Wes Ball due to his work on The Maze Runner franchise.
Idris Elba was attached to star in the Wes Ball-directed film, alongside Andy Serkis, Giancarlo Esposito and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Based on Eisner-winning comics created by David Petersen and published by BOOM! Studios, Mouse Guard is set in a medieval-style world compared to Game of Thrones. An order of mice are the sworn protectors of their realm, fending off other mice and the usual predators -- foxes, birds of prey and whatnot. Midnight (Serkis), a blacksmith, turns against the order and a new recruit, Lieam (Sangster), is called upon to prove his bravery, with Elba's Celanawe as an Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque mentor.
The reason for the sudden cancellation is unclear, but one THR source said that the production, which planned to use motion capture and heavy digital effects to bring animals to life, seemed too similar to other Disney properties such as The Lion King and The Jungle Book.
Other sources said production costs may also have been a factor, since Disney reportedly wants Fox to focused on less costly family-friendly productions and more adult-oriented content.