The state wherein an announced creative project becomes stuck at the preparation stage for years.
The term originates in the film industry, referring to films mired in pre-production without casting or production ever beginning. A common occurrence with book adaptations and other licensed materials, as legal squabbles over rights, Executive Meddling, budgetary problems, and differing artistic visions keep the project from going before the cameras. And even if it does make it to the shooting stage, a Troubled Production can easily derail it and throw it right back here.
Films stuck in Development Hell are also called Vaporfilm.
Development Hell becomes a sort of self-reinforcing feedback loop over time — as one director gets fed up and quits, the project is assigned to a new director, who orders a new screenplay with a new vision, which results in producers demanding changes, wash, rinse, repeat etc. Projects in other media can sink into similar cesspits. Sometimes examples of this trope lead into cases of What Could Have Been or Trailer Delay.
For the Video Game equivalent of this trope check out Vaporware. The Shelf of Movie Languishment is a variation where a finished film gets stuck in release limbo.
For those examples which finally became real, after years, or decades in some cases, look at Saved from Development Hell.
The Other Wiki has an entry about Development Hell, with a list of films that are either in Development Hell or once were.
An anime adaptation of Tonari no 801-chan was originally supposed to be animated by Kyoto Animation, and even had a preliminary website up for it. Then something happened and it fell into limbo. The project was ultimately cancelled, though a 90-second animated OP was created by A-1 Pictures and bundled with Vol.4 of the web manga.
After the third season of the Slayers anime (titled Slayers TRY) aired in 1997, a fourth season (Slayers AGAIN) was slated for the following year; unfortunately, Megumi Hayashibara's (the voice of the female lead) schedule was hectic, and since the entire staff and the other actors had no interest in doing the show without her, there was no direct fourth season...until 2008. There was an OVA, a movie, and some radio dramas that followed through the early 2000's. However, eleven years for a direct fourth season is an awfully long time...
Lost Universe: A which had only one season; a second season was due to follow, but because of a financial pitfall occurring through animation studios at the time, it was held off in favor of more Slayers media, and may be still.
A stall can be typical of all English manga distributors, especially for less common titles, but the Yaoi distributor Drama Queen seems to have either gone on a dragging hiatus since 2007, or is dead and no one can figure out where it's been buried, so to speak.
Kingdom Hearts II: The manga adaptation is stalled in Japan, but Word has it they plan to go back to it after the manga of 358/2 Days finishes.) The U.S. release WAS stalled due to Tokyopop's losing the license to the series but has, as of 2013, been Saved from Development Hell.
The Five Killers was supposed to be an original creation from writer/producer Eric Calderon as an animated TV series (12 episodes with a 1 hour finale) done by GONZO. A trailer is unfortunately all that came out due to GONZO's financial situation.
An Appleseed television series titled "Appleseed: Genesis" was first announced in 2005 and languished in Development Hell until it was officially canceled in 2008, resulting in several lawsuits. A new (possibly a replacement or even a Retool) series titled "Appleseed XIII" was released in 2011 and dubbed into English in 2013.
After Gundam SEED Destiny ended, it was announced that there would be a movie sequel which would be the Grand Finale for the Cosmic Era timeline. However, the film's head writer Chiaki Morosawa underwent a hysterectomy to treat her uterine fibroids and an ovarian cyst (according to her April 2008 interview with Animage magazine, in which she explained the delays behind the movie), so literally no progress has been made on the film since 2005.
Despera's production is currently on hold due to the director Ryutaro Nakamura's health issues.
We might have found out what happens after GaoGaiGar FINAL if not for the fact that Project Z ceased to be.
After the release of its third movie, the credits listed the release of a third Tenchi Muyo! OAV series. Took about five years and a series that took place a year after it to do so. This is pretty normal for the franchise, because its creator, Masaki Kajishima, is essentially a free agent and always seeks to obtain funding without relinquishing the rights and the creative control, which is quite difficult.
And let's not forget the fact that the English release of said 3rd OAV series' 2nd and 3rd volumes languished for a year due to the fact that Funimation screwed up on its contract.
The Dream Machine the last film by Satoshi Kon was back on track for a short while but recently financial difficulty has put the film off indefinitely.
The Code Geass Gaiden was first mentioned in the 2008 or 2009 time frame, though its official announcement wasn't until early-mid 2010. It was supposed to air in 2011. It finally came out in late 2012.
The English version of Heroman falls into this category thanks in part to a lack of cooperation between Studio BONES and Disney. The deal with Crunchyroll to get it streamed to English speaking territories was rushed in at the last minute.
Hunter × Hunter. Due to the writer, Yoshihiro Togashi, being extremely ill in real-life, the manga goes on hiatus for long periods of time. The Chimera Ant arc took roughly seven years to complete because of this.
The D Gray Man manga suffers a similar problem to Hunter × Hunter where it's manga creator, Katsura Hoshino, was involved in a car accident in real-life which gravely injured her writing hand. To help endure the pain, the D Gray Man manga was later switched from weekly to monthy releases, but even then, she has a rough time turning the work in monthly.
A new Sailor Moon anime was announced in July 2012, as part of a 20th anniversary celebration. The new anime was supposed to be released in summer 2013, but fans began to worry as nine months passed without a single promotional image or trailer. As of April 2013, production has been "delayed" for unknown reasons. No exact release date has been given.
Monica, a French luxury automobile brand, created 22 prototypes and only 8 production cars before work was stopped indefinitely. Read more here. It was a sign of What Could Have Been. Here's a photo◊.
General Motors planned to turn Saturn into Opel of America, with more vehicles added to the product line, when the 2007-2009 global economic crisis struck. The name then disappeared as 2009 ended and 2010 started.
The Saturn division itself was first announced and a prototype shown in 1983. It was 1991 by the time you could actually buy one, and the original sedan's wraparound rear window had been stolen internally by Oldsmobile, leading observers to see the Saturn as the "copy".
Due in large part (but not entirely) to World War II, the VW Beetle design was finalized for production in 1938 but the first cars delivered to retail customers weren't until 1947.
Fiat has been teasing the return of their Alfa Romeo brand to the United States since about 2003. Aside from a few 8C Competizione supercars being sold to American collectors, nothing has come of it. Now that Fiat owns Chrysler, though, it should happen in 2013 at the earliest...
The San Francisco 49ers have been trying to build a stadium for years. Their latest plan had been stalled for several years, and groundbreaking began April 19th 2012 and is on schedule to be completed in time for the 2014-2015 season.
The Ballpark Village shopping/entertainment/apartment complex in downtown St. Louis, designed to revitalize the area. Building began in 2005 with a planned completion date of July 2009. Around 2008, building stopped as financier Bill DeWitt refused to spend any more money on the project (and he is a multi-billionaire who makes a lot of money off of the St. Louis Cardinals, so his penny-pinching is completely inexcusable). Cut to late 2011, and it looks it will never be finished (due to DeWitt's frugality and the state basically neglecting the city and its needs).
La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain has been under construction since 1882.
Cologne Cathedral in Germany had the same development hell treatment during the time it was constructed. Construction started during the Middle Ages, halted construction during the 16th century, resumed during the 19th century, and finally completed in 1880. This is fairly common in medieval churches and cathedrals. The grander ones, even in the best case scenario, couldn't be completed in one generation. Under less than ideal conditions, many had construction that dragged on for decades or centuries as they repeatedly ran out of money and had to raise more. As a result, different sections are built according to the architectural styles of different eras, or are asymmetrical because they couldn't afford to build something again on the other side.
For another outstanding example, the Milan Cathedral began its construction in 1386 and its final touches were done in 1965.
The Episcopal Cathedral of St John The Divine in New York City is one of the largest churches in the world, and has never been finished since construction started in 1892.
Several shopping malls:
The Mall at Oyster Bay was first planned to open in 1997 in Syosset, New York. Still hasn't even broken ground.
Great Mall of Las Vegas in, well, Las Vegas. Proposed in the 2000s as an outdoor mall featuring Macy's, Dillard's, a movie theater and condominiums. The property went into default in 2009.
Shops at East Prairie in Ames, Iowa. Proposed in 2002, canceled in 2011 when the land was sold. Good thing, too, as it would've pulled two of the three anchor stores away from the perfectly good mall Ames already has.
A small outdoor mall in suburban Flint, Michigan called Trillium Circle was first proposed in 2004. Things first hit the skids when an existing grocery store decided to close instead of relocate into the mall. A theater opened on the site in 2006, but the economic decline and poor anchor choices (it would've had a Circuit City, but they went out of business) ground development to a halt, with only an IMAX theater, a Buffalo Wild Wings, and a bank being built. The developers have since sold off the land.
Bridges at Mint Hill, a proposed mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. Originally slated for a 2007 opening, it quickly became a Troubled Production due to many factors — declining economy, protection of an endangered species of mussel, and the bankruptcy of the developer (General Growth Properties). Another developer finally bought the property in 2012 and revived the plans.
Glacier Town Center in Kalispell, Montana (which would consist of both a mall and a planned community) was first proposed in 2002. The developers were given a one-year extension in 2010, but since then, nothing has happened.
And going the other way, the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois closed in 1978 (yes, that's a seven). A portion was briefly used as temporary school space, and one wing was fitted with fake storefronts for a car chase scene in The Blues Brothers. The first redevelopment plans were announced in 1997, but redevelopment of the long-vacant building did not begin until 2005, when it was announced that a kitchen supply company wanted to open in one of the former anchor stores. The plans were later changed to demolish the building for a new retail center, but all development was halted when it was realized that the mall was loaded with asbestos, and the company that started demolition did not have a permit. Another company announced plans to build a new retail center on the site in 2010, but nothing happened until mid-2012, when the land was finally cleared.
American Dream Meadowlands, originally Xanadu Meadowlands, was designed as not just a mall, but a full lifestyle center complete with an indoor ski slope, ice rink, amusement park, live theater, and other attractions. It has been in development since 2003. The opening of the mall, located near Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, has been pushed back several times due to various companies going bankrupt (two companies behind the construction of the mall and Circuit City, which was supposed to be a major tenant) and stores pulling out because of the delays. It also didn't help that the mall was originally, as New Jersey's former Acting Governor Richard Codey said, "yucky looking." American Dream has been at least 80 percent complete since 2009, when it was also 70 percent leased. In 2011, the indoor ski slope collapsed under record breaking snowfall, delaying the opening of the mall even further. Now the mall won't open until at least Spring 2014.
Since 2007, Lockport Mall in the Buffalo, New York suburb of Lockport has been slated to be demolished and replaced with a Walmart. While the mall was successfully torn down (except for one store which remains in operation), the Walmart has been repeatedly been held back due to seagulls nesting on the site.
The Sydney Opera House, when it was built between 1959 and 1973. It ended up 10 years behind schedule and 14 times over budget, due to the complexity of the architecture and manufacture of the steel beams. On top of that, the architect, Jorn Utzon, quit in disgust.
The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was begun as the central venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics. It was finally completed in 1987 with the installation of the retractable roof (which had remained in storage in France until 1982). At this point, it was discovered that the roof was not correctly designed and tore easily in use. It was removed in early 1998, and in the later part of the year replaced with a different, fixed roof...which failed dramatically during the first winter, causing the annual auto show that was being set up at the time to permanently change venues. In 2004, a contract was awarded for a new, permanent steel roof. In 2009, the local fire department warned that without substantial repairs, including a new roof (still not installed) the stadium might be ordered closed. In 2011, approval for the new roof contract was sought.
The second El Rancho Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas originally opened in 1948 as the Thunderbird and closed for good in 1992. For almost a decade the marquee advertised a future Countryland USA casino (with hotel towers shaped like cowboy boots), though by the mid-90's that project had fallen through along with a sci-fi themed "Starship Orion" resort as the property changed hands numerous times. An investigation by the local NBC station in 1999 found most of the building's interior had rotted away, though a small portion had been maintained in pristine condition (including working slot machines) as an attempt to attract a buyer. The state of Nevada finally ordered the property sold in 2000, and it was bought by a condominium company. The decrepit building was imploded later that year and, while part of the land was used for a neighboring casino project, the majority of the land remains vacant to this day.
The Ryugyong Hotel(Korean: 류경호텔) of Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name ("capital of willows") is also one of the historical names for Pyongyang. Construction began in 1987 but was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2008, construction of the building resumed, and the building is scheduled to begin partial operations in mid 2013.
Years after the events of 9/11, Ground Zero remained depressingly empty. Plans for a new World Trade Center were approved in 2003, scheduled to finish by the 10th anniversary; a cornerstone was laid in 2004... and all work halted until late 2006 while financial and architectural lawsuits raged. The actual tower construction didn't start until 2008, and the Port Authority now estimates 2013 before it's ready for move-in.
An animated Elfquest movie has been "coming soon" since the mid eighties. Though much of the (albeit scarce) pre-production art looks great, it's still never gotten further than that and will likely never be produced.
Sasmira: The second album of the series has been expected for 12 years and counting.
Kevin Smith's smash Daredevil relaunch got him on a comics kick which turned out to be more than he could handle. His Spider-Man/Black Cat miniseries had a gap of over three years between issues 3 and 4. During that time, most fans had dismissed the remaining issues as vaporware — as they have his Daredevil/Bullseye miniseries, whose only issue to date was published in 2002.
The manga-inspired Battle Chasers was meant to be Joe Madureira's magnum opus, spanning several years and hundreds of issues. However, thanks to his obsession with playing video games and, in the early 2000s, pretty much abandoning the industry to draw concept art for start-up game publishers, it petered out at about ten issues, with the final issue having a delay of about 1 1/2 years and ending on gigantic cliffhangers. (And no, not Monika's.) A continuation had been promised, but going on eight years later it still hasn't materialized.
Firefly — "A Shepherd's Tale". Announced in 2007, finally released in November 2010.
Devil's Due Publishing has been putting off publishing Halloween comics, including the third and final issue of Halloween The First Death Of Laurie Strode and the miniseries The Mark of Thorn (which had at least a dozen covers revealed) over and over again for somewhat vague reasons.
Neil Gaiman's introduction to The Sandman: Endless Nights mentions a story called Obsessional that he plotted with the artist of Going Inside. It involves the population of Manhattan joining a procession into the East River.
Gaiman also mentioned in interviews that he was planning to do a Batman story illustrated by painter Steve Bisley, which was to be titled "Night Circus". This was in about 1992, and the story is still yet to appear.
Despite being created in late 2008, Gemini Storm issue one wasn't released until March 2010. Herbert claims production on issue two is moving along much more quickly.
Issue two was released last December and issue three's line art is done. Harrison Wood, the artist, has released half the pencils for issue four on his deviantArt account. Looks like it's been saved.
DC's "All Star" line has several examples. As the line has been discontinued and creators have moved on to other projects, it seems unlikely that they will be revived:
Sam and Max Plunge Through Space was a concept Steve Purcell was working with as a game and a comic, variously. It never got made and beyond fan discussion it probably won't see the light of day.
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk had a 3-year gap between issues #2 and #3.
Issue #8 of Marvel Comics' The Twelve, a 12-issue limited series, came out in January 2009. Issue #9 came out over three years later, in February 2012.
Steve Moncuse announced in a 2010 interview that he would be reviving Fish Police. This is still the only acknowledgement of such a revival.
Archaia Entertainment announced a prequel to Labyrinth, an origin story for Jareth the Goblin King, in early 2012. It was supposed to be in stores by year's end, and the one-shot story "Hoggle and the Worm" was published in the company's Free Comic Book Day compilation to hype it. Then the date was pushed back to April 2013...but at the end of February it was pushed back again to sometime in 2014, with its Amazon preorder page taken down entirely. A second one shot (this time about Sir Didymus) appeared in the 2013 Free Comic Book Day book, while the offical explanation for the delay on the main book is that the company doesn't want it to go out until it's perfect. Given how controversial the previous attempt to establish an Expanded Universe for this movie — Tokyopop's OEL MangaReturn To Labyrinth, by a different writer and artist — was in the fandom, particularly over how it handled Jareth, one can forgive Archaia for not rushing things.
Ian Flynn's infamous comic Other-M is currently unfinished and since Ian is head writer for the current Archie Sonic comics it's likely to stay this way.
Both of the biggest BionicleCGI fan-film projects, Quest of the Toa and BIONICLE: The Next Generation (or BIONICLE: Retold). The first received notoriety among fans very fast for being produced (voice acting aside) by a single person. It seemed to have gotten pretty far, and was set to be released at the end of 2006, but around 2007, the author disappeared. He attempted to restart the project several years later, with little success, and he uploaded the last teaser video in 2010.
BNG is a still ongoing endeavor, one that has something of a team working on it, but its Troubled Production and the fact that nearly all of the former project leaders have backed out could well have already sealed its fate. Originally, it was to be a series of feature-length 3D animated fan films, then they decided that shorter vignettes would be more manageable, but now that the production team has fallen apart, the most recent idea is to make the whole thing in 2D, with even shorter vignettes, and with no release schedule. The project is, it seems, in a never-ending cycle of constant crash and rebirth.
Quest of the Toa had two sister-projects going on: a fan-game based on the movie and the Lewa Q&A comedy series. Both have met such a fate, though to make up for losing the game files, the game's creator has set his sights on finishing a smaller fan project, of undisclosed nature.
Chapter 2 of the Star Wars fan film series IMPS: The Relentless was in post-production, "almost done", for four years. It was finally released November 2009. Only 6 more to go according to the website.
The conclusion of the second "Starship Exeter" fan episode was originally promised to be released around Christmas 2007. Nearly 4 years later, no word on when or even if we'll see it beyond "a few months from now" (though the person doing the editing has released some screenshots on TrekBBS).
The Movie of Clerks: The Animated Series. Originally planned as Clerks: Sell Out, wherein Dante and Randall decide to make a movie about their escapades in the Quick Stop, this got an animation test in 2006 and was supposed to go straight to DVD a little while after Clerks II. However, according to Kevin Smith, Disney still own the rights to the series and all designs related to it, which essentially negates all possibility of there being a movie any time soon.
Teen Titans: Judas Contract was originally meant to be one of the first of the new franchise of DC Animated films. It was supposed to be a recreation of the classic storyline meant to piggyback off the success of the canceled Teen Titans TV series. It was even supposed to maintain all the racier elements of the arc, such as a scene with Terra in Deathstroke's room with a nightgown on and smoking. Unfortunately it kept getting pushed back further and further to let other more popular heroes a chance to shine until eventually it was revealed the project had been cancelled. Not that it wasn't a surprise since that announcement came about several years after the start of the animated movies and they were already adapting Superman Batman Public Enemies to the animated screen.
The project seems to be dead in the water. It's now been over eight films since Public Enemies, and still no word on Judas Contract. The renewed focus on only Superman, Batman, and Justice League-related movies (in light of disappointing sales for Wonder Woman and Green Lantern First Flight) certainly doesn't make the film's prospects seem too optimistic.
Actually it was revealed to be canceled a couple of years ago citing that they didn't think it was popular enough to turn into a film. And this was loooong before Wonder Woman and Green Lantern First Flight.
A sequel/prequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. One was attempted during, but floundered due to many problems at Disney, with Steven Spielberg, problems converting the characters to CGI, and a skyrocketing budget. Attempts to make a sequel anyway continue to be discussed, but Roger Rabbit remains one of the biggest film properties to never be properly capitalized.
A CGI Spyro The Dragon movie was announced in late 2007, and posters emerged in early 2009 which slated the film for a Christmas release. The movie never came out, and it was later cancelled.
The Last Days Of Coney Island from Ralph Bakshi was announced in 2005, but due to distributor and production problems it was put on hold a few years later. Eventually in 2013, Bakshi created a successful Kickstarter for the project to do it as a series of shorts that will eventually be put together as a Compilation Movie.
Also, one of the projects the directors of Aladdin were offered before picking that movie, an adaptation of Swan Lake, seems to have languished into this.
The Dream Machine, delayed by the declining health and eventual death of Satoshi Kon. His collaborators planned to finish it, but was announced in August 2011 that production had been halted due to financing issues.
Truckers: DreamWorks was supposed to do an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's book with Academy Award winning writer Simon Beaufoy writing the script and a set release date of 2012. The talks of making the film seemed to die down once the script was completed and everyone has since moved on.
Similarly, they purchased the rights to make a film adaption of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine in 2006, shortly before they released their adaption of fellow comic strip Over the Hedge. Since then however, nothing has come of it.
An Aardman/Dreamworks project retelling "The Tortoise and the Hare" that might have featured Michael Caine as one of the voiceover performers withered on the vine.
Dreamworks also planned to adapt a character from the extremely obscure 1980s black-and-white furry comic Tales From The Aniverse in the early 2000s, but reps had a hard time comprehending the treatment that the comics' creator gave them.
Blue Planet, a CGI sci-fi action movie planned by now-defunct Rainbow Studios (later aquired by THQ), with a video-game tie-in. A trailer was released, to widespread acclaim, which showcased the for-the-time high-quality CGI, parodies of Pixar's Toy Story and A Bugs Life characters, and a soundtrack featuring "More Human Than Human" by Rob Zombie. Much of the already-shot footage was recycled for the tie-in game, which was eventually released as Deadly Tide.
In the late 1990's, Fox and Matt Groening signed a deal to make three films based on The Simpsons. The first film was released in 2007 but absolutely nothing has been heard about the sequels (rumors have had one of the films be based on Itchy and Scratchy).
In 2001, Shrek producer John H. Williams founded his own studio, Vanguard Animation, which created Valiant, Happily N'Ever After, Space Chimps, and a direct-to-video sequel of the same. Their website shows several other projects in the pipeline, such as The Nut House (a heist film parody involving squirrels and acorns), Rotten Island (adaptation of a book by William Steig, who also wrote the books that inspired Shrek), an adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Twits, and many more are mentioned in a 2010 press release. However, other than an October 2011 announcement of The Nut House, it seems Vanguard has vanished.
The Magic 7, which apparently was a fantasy film with environmental messages, begun production in 1990, was first announced for a release in 1997, but hasn't seen the light of day ever since. Two of the actors who had recorded lines (John Candy and Madeline Kahn) even died ever since the project started.
Dino Time is already finished, but they keep delaying it. It's possible they're waiting until there aren't any better movies out.
Paramount announced plans for a sequel to Rango in late 2011 but despite the film grossing over $100 million and winning an Academy Award, it looks like the sequel is no more due to Disney buying Industrial Light and Magic (who did the animation on the film).
Then there was The Thief And The Cobbler, which still holds the record for the longest development among animated films, at thirty years. The project started in 1964. Then, in 1992, it fell into the hands of a different studio who had no idea what it was supposed to be, but did manage to get the bastardised result out in 1995.
Henry Selick's Shademaker began development in 2010 at Disney as part of a new foray into stop-motion animation for the studio with a set release date of 2013. Disney even set up a new animation studio in San Francisco for Selick to do the film and future projects. But in the summer of 2012, Disney dropped the film for no apparent reason and gave the rights back to Selick. Not long after, Disney closed the animation studio and now the film's future is up in the air.
Films — Puppets
The Jim Henson Company has been planning a Fraggle Rock movie and The Dark Crystal sequel for quite some time. Every now and then, they'll announce The Dark Crystal sequel, but no progress appears to have been made. This was parodied by Robot Chicken, which joked that the primary reason it's not going forward is that today's kids don't want to watch an all-puppet film. As well, many fans are skeptical as to whether there needs to be a sequel when the original's ending left no plausible room for one (indeed, the graphic novel Expanded Universe consists of prequel stories). Frank Oz, who has not been asked to participate in the production, has only one thing to say about the proposed sequel: "Why?".
The idea for a Muppet movie known as The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made was originally floated in 1985. It's presumably about Gonzo directing a Muppet movie and he blows half the budget on the opening titles, resulting in the movie progressively getting shittier and shittier to the point where a shot of the same street corner is used for every city in the world. The title card was revealed in September 2009, but it was subsequently set aside in favor of The Muppets.
Donald Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming was started in 1962 (which may as well be the Bronze Age as far as computer programming is concerned) and not all the volumes are out yet. Initially not helped by Knuth deciding to create a typesetting system from scratch since he was not satisfied by what was available.
Not entirely accurate, he didn't decide to develop the typesetting system until after the reissue of the first volume in 1977. He began development of the typesetting system (called TeX) in 1978, and it ended up in its own development hell as well, the input format not being finalized until 1989.
It's particularly frustrating when you see that in 2005 someone came out with a three-issue X-Wing Series comic, Rogue Leader, which had nothing to do with Stackpole and is generally considered inferior due to Off Model art, rampant decompression, and a basically pointless storyline, without even any good character interaction, that could be summed up in two sentences: "The Empire will fight even without an Emperor, and some of its people are monsters. Luke Skywalker leaves Rogue Squadron to do Jedi things."
What about The Book of Dust? We've had a sequel novella and a prequel novella, and they are nice but?
Stephanie Meyer put off writingMidnight Sun because an unfinished copy was leaked. She said in 2008 that if she can go two years without hearing anyone mention it, she may begin work on it again once "everyone's forgotten about it", but that clearly did not happen.
She also has talked about working or planning to work on a story from Renesmee's point of view, a story from Leah's point of view, a mermaid story, a ghost story, and a time travel story. There's no sign of any of these.
A Dance with Dragons has been in the queue in the A Song of Ice and Fire series in one form or another for nearly a decade. It was originally going to be one massive book, but it eventually surpassed a reasonable publication size so author George R. R. Martin decided to split it into two books based on certain Point Of View characters and plotlines. The "A" half of the novel (the characters Martin had finished at the time) became A Feast for Crows, while the "B" half of the novel became A Dance with Dragons (a title bestowed on then revoked from a few ASoIaF books now). This occurred in 2005. Martin claimed that he was more-or-less finished with Dance at the time Feast went to print and there is a post-script at the end of Feast where Martin promised the book would be out the next year (which would have been 2006). In the intervening years, a rabid hatedom has sprung up in response to the seemingly inexplicable delay.
Until it was announced on April 27th, 2011 - GRRM's blog, no less - that the book is finally complete! (And it was indeed published, in July on that year.) Saved from Development Hell, in-deed!
And there's two more two-part books to go, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Summer. ...at some point. Any day now. Martin's being as elusive as ever in regards to when the books are going to be finished, though he has said he doesn't want the showto catch up with him.
Another book example is the Harlan Ellison-edited anthology The Last Dangerous Visions (sequel to Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions). It was originally announced for 1973 and has not yet appeared as of 2008; Ellison still claims he's eventually going to release it.
There's even a (short) book about this fiasco, The Book on the Edge of Forever, by author Christopher Priest (most famous for The Prestige). When you consider that TLDV was slated to include stories by long-dead authors such as Frank Herbert, Alfred Bester, and Cordwainer Smith (who died in 1966!!), this is the very pinnacle of development hell.
Cordwainer Smith's story, "Himself in Anachron" was published in a collection, The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith. Ellison was not happy, but eventually some sort of settlement was made.
Diane Duane has been somewhat notorious among her fans for this. In her Young Wizards series, there was a eight year gap between the release of A Wizard Abroad and The Wizard's Dilemma, and a five year gap between Wizards at War and A Wizard of Mars, which was released in April 2010 after getting pushed back by its publishers about six times. Finally, there is the The Tale Of Five series which has lain unfinished for nearly eighteen years now, with the last part, The Door into Starlight having gone unfinished since 1992, but she promises she is still working on it.
Quite a few by Neil Gaiman. In the world of Neverwhere, The Seven Sisters and How the Marquis Got His Coat Back. In the world of Stardust, American Gods, and Anansi Boys, Wall (the prologue has been published) and a story about Tristran going to Hell in a hot air balloon.
The Captal's Tower, third book in Melanie Rawn's Exiles Trilogy, is still nowhere to be seen 13 years after the release of the second book.
The Hellgate Series, cowritten with Linda Evans, ended the second book on a cliffhanger and there's no sign from the publisher or the authors that a third book will ever come out.
His Prince Roger collaboration with John Ringo has had no development since 2005 in spite of fandom interest in the series continuing. A Face Book post by Ringo suggests he's looking to change that status, however.
There were rumors for years about a sequel to The Princess Bride called Buttercup's Baby. In some editions of The Princess Bride, this sequel was mentioned in the epilogue and was "having trouble getting published due to legal problems with S. Morgenstern's estate". An address was also listed that readers could write to for information. This was of course, completely fictional since S. Morgenstern is an alias made up by the REAL author, William Goldman. Still, people who wrote in got a sample chapter (which was simply published in later editions). In 2007, Goldman stated he actually wanted to write it, but was having trouble coming up with ideas. Nothing has been heard since.
Orson Scott Card and Kathryn H. Kidd's 'Rasputin,' a sequel to 1994's 'Lovelock' and the second in 'The Mayflower Trilogy.' Still listed as a work in progress on Card's website.
Card has a similar situation with his Pastwatch series; as of 2010, he stated that he was still wanting to work on the series.
Universercus, the promised third book in Gillian Rubenstein's Galax-Arena trilogy, is yet to be more than briefly mentioned at the end of Terra Farma (which was published in 2001). Even though the auther has published books since then and left the plot gaping open!
For the Warrior Cats series, they announced in Feb 2010 that there would be some sort of online multiplayer game, possibly a MMORPG, based on the books. They made a big deal about it, randomly selecting survey-takers to be beta testers in March 2010. They said that beta testing would take place in the summer of that year, that they'd make regular posts on the official forum to keep fans updated about the progress of the game, and that the game itself would be out by the end of 2010. It's 2012 now. Beta testers haven't gotten a single message after the one informing them that they're a tester, and there haven't been any posts on the official forum from the gamemakers. The only signs that they're apparently still working on it is that HarperCollins Catalogs keeps listing "Online Game" under the Marketing/Publicity tab for each new book, and fans have asked the authors about it (the answer: "it's still being worked on").
A Gone with the Wind sequel entitled "Tara" was nearly published by author Anne Edwards in the 1980s; it was apparently well-written, as the few who read it gave it very good reviews. It was never published due to legal problems with the estate of Margaret Mitchell.
The Repossession Mambo (which was adapted as the film Repo Men) was written in 1996 but did not find a publisher until 2008. However, the manuscript had been circulating in Hollywood for some time and the film was greenlighted a few years before the book was published. The film also suffered through post-production hell as Universal shelved it for two years.
The third book in the Gentleman Bastard series, The Republic of Thieves, has been repeatedly announced as forthcoming...and as repeatedly postponed.
The Railway Series was slated to have a book titled Barry the Rescue Engine, but Christopher Awdry has not yet completed or released it.
The fourth book in the Millennium Trilogy (which was originally planned as ten books). Stieg Larsson had a 75% completed manuscript when passing away but it has never been published due to an ownership dispute (Larsson's then-girlfriend claims to hold the rights since she retains the computer that held the manuscipt but after Larsson died, his parents got the rights due to Swedish law giving the properties of a person who died unmarried to their surviving parents or next of kin). Since Larsson could not get married due to Swedish law making any married couple public (Larsson had made many enemies as a news reporter and he believed that his life becoming public would allow him to be the victim of an assassination, therefore insisting that his privacy be protected), his girlfriend tried to use this as an attempt to gain the rights (since the two were already very much a couple otherwise) but failed to convince the courts. At this point, any attempt to complete the manuscript is near impossible.
Bruce Coville's The Unicorn Chronicles. After writing books one and two in fairly quick succession (1994 and 1999 respectively), and leaving the captive audience with a massive cliffhanger, he then dropped off the face of the earth for nine years before publishing the third book in 2008… which ends with another cliffhanger. Coville even lampshades this in his author's note, saying that he feared fans of the first books would have outgrown the series before he finished it.
The tenth and final book in the Night World series. It's been more than a decade since the last book came out, and the publishers even re-released the earlier books in pretty omnibuses in anticipation of Strange Fate. Alas, she is still writing it.
Live Action TV
K9 was first announced in 1997. It subsequently premiered in the UK in 2009, airing its full season in Scandinavia in 2010.
The Disney Channel series JONAS suffered from this. The original plan was to launch the vehicle for The Jonas Brothers with the band serving as a front for a group of secret agents (think a Kim Possible meets Hannah Montana hybrid) with the name standing for "Junior Operatives Networking As Spies). For whatever reasoning, that didn't fly, resulting in Re Tool after Re Tool, ultimately culminating in a standard, run of the mill sitcom (albeit sans Laugh Track). Then after a botched launch on Saturdays where iCarly cleaned its clock, it went through yet another retool after the first season, and with the Jonas Brothers fading among teenagers, turned into an unexpectedly depressing soapish dramedy in the second season, renamed, JONAS LA, (yes, it's in ALLCAPS). JONAS LA was canceled, because of predictably low ratings.
The team behind Human Giant announced that MTV had allowed them a third season. Unfortunately, they couldn't film much because Aziz was busy on Parks and Recreation. Since then nothing has been said.
The Sci-Fi Channel announced in 2002 that they would produce a Quantum Leap television movie featuring Sam's daughter as a new leaper. A proposed release date of 2004 was given, and the movie's writer even gave a QL fansite an interview about the plot, but ultimately nothing ever came of it.
A few years ago, a planned live-action Star Wars TV series was announced, but since then there hasn't been much news about it. Reportedly, it will be a Darker and Edgier episode-based show that focuses on the minor characters of the series rather than the main storyline, and will take place between Episodes III and IV.
It seemed to pick up a bit after the CGI The Clone Wars started doing well, but has been put on hold because they couldn't figure out how to do Star Wars on a TV show budget. The title has been announced to be Star Wars: Underworld.
ER's Pilot script was written in 1974 but the show wasn't filmed until 1994.
Adapting Super Sentai over to Power Rangers was a very difficult task. There are reports that Haim Saban had been planning to adapt Bioman, which was made 8 years before the first seasons to be adapted Zyuranger.
Entertainment Weekly reported in 2010 that a remake of The Wild Wild West (the series, not the movie) was being developed by Ron Moore and Naren Shankar for CBS; exactly nothing else about the project has been announced since then.
A spinoff from Buffy the Vampire Slayer focusing on Giles to be called Ripper was on the drawing board for years once the original show ended in 2003. It's probably safe to say the actual spinoff will remain the only one...
No fewer than ten pilots were made between 1996 and 2010 for a revival of the Pyramid game show franchise. Even with a successful revival from 2002 to 2004, the pilots just kept coming in the subsequent years.
A pilot was taped for GSN on June 16, 2012. The revival finally started in September, but died only a couple months later.
In September 2011, FX started advertising a series called Untitled Jersey City Project with a vague "Coming Soon" mention (which probably meant it would start in Winter 2012). Cut to Summer 2012 and the show still hasn't aired (and according to some reports, the show was never intended to air and was instead supposed to be an ad for the Audi A6).
The fourth series of Torchwood ended on a massive cliffhanger, and Russell T Davies said that he intended to do a fifth season in America (where part of the fourth series was filmed.) Unfortunately, his partner fell ill, requiring him to move back to the UK so they could be closer to their families while he underwent treatment. While there, he started developing Wizards Vs Aliens as a replacement series for The Sarah Jane Adventures. The majority of the cast have said they'd like to do more, but there's no definite answer regarding when or if that'll happen.
Since 1999, there have been at least two attempts to revive Match Game: One in 2004 was titled What the Blank?! and intended for FOX; the other was to have aired on TBS in 2008. Both stopped at the pilot stage.
However, 2013 did bring a revival on The Comedy Network in Canada, with comedian Darrin Rose hosting.
U.S. Route 31 has sloooooowly been in the process of conversion to freeway from South Bend, Indiana to just east of Benton Harbor, Michigan. A leg on the west side of Niles, Michigan was opened in 1992 as a divided highway without exits but later upgraded. The next-to-last stretch was completed in 2003, but halted just a couple miles shy of an obvious hookup into the existing I-94/I-196 exit, due to a creek in the freeway's path being the habitat for a rare species of butterfly. For over a decade now, plans have been bandied about to fill in that last gap.
Warhammer 40000: Since updates to rulebooks and models for different armies are largely based on player demand, and player demand is in turn based on the availability of up to date rulebooks and models, some teams spend years in development hell. This was exemplified by the Dark Eldar who went over a decade without an updated codex while the much more popular Space Marines received seven. They were mercifully Saved from Development Hell with an excellent new codex and model range, but others haven't fared so well.
Games Workshop recently started work on updating older books, which thankfully will see a resurgence of the forgotten armies. However the Sisters of Battle are notable in that while they're not as old as the Dark Eldar, they might very well have to wait quite a bit longer given that they're getting a Magazine Codex (which usually means development on them has halted and they're just getting lip service in the meantime). Even more notable is that the army is so old, they're the only ones who still require you to use metal models for the entire army (every army, even the Necrons and Dark Eldar, had plastics for troops. Sisters are not so lucky).
With the release of the Necrons during the halloween of 2011, the Sisters of Battle is now literally the oldest range, having not received a new model in the longest time.
Gary Gygax had always wanted to release a version of his iconic "Castle Greyhawk", the location that pretty much launched Dungeons & Dragons while at TSR. Due to his busy schedule as the head of TSR, and his writing duties on a myriad of other modules, he never was able to complete or even start the module. (His being sent to Los Angeles to develop the D&D cartoon series didn't help either). In 1982, the module had been advertised in Dragon Magazine, but as of 1986, when Gygax left the company due to "Creative Differences", no module had been published. In '87, TSR did a wild and mostly unfunny parody version of the Castle that bore no resemblance to Gygax's design. It was seen by many gamers as little more than a parting shot against Gygax, and the module has been pretty solidly rejected by players and pretty much disowned by TSR and Wizards of the Coast, leading to a second try at the module which was much more warmly received.
Still, that wasn't Gygax's castle, one that wouldn't see print until 2008, when "Castle Zagyg" was published by Troll Lord Games. Sadly that one went straight back into development hell after Gary died shortly after the first installment was released and the deal Troll Lord Games had with Gygax fell apart when his wife took control of the company. Nobody's sure what exactly happened, all people know is that in 2008, Gygax Games was going to find a way to publish the rest of the castle. It is now 2012, and as of this writing, the Gygax Games website has been ofline since at least 2009, still promising "something good in the works."
d20 Spectaculars was a Super Hero add-on to d20 Modern that was supposed to be published by Wizards of the Coast in 2006, but it never materialized (possibly because Mutants & Masterminds already had rules for d20 supers and did it very well). Possibly because that's when they started work on 4th edition.
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition was supposed to be released alongside a series of software tools. The most notable was a "virtual game table" allowing people to play live D&D online, complete with 3D models of characters and monsters. The virtual tabletop was postponed and the game came out without any of the promised tools; the subscription-based Dungeons & Dragons Insider service did provide other online tools such as the Character Builder, Monster Generator, and Rules Compendium. 4th Edition was released in 2008, and by 2012 the edition was basically abandoned in favor of developing a new edition, though by then there were several free virtual tabletop programs available online. The virtual tabletop eventually did go into beta testing, but lacked the promised 3D models or the ability to use one's own maps, and was officially cancelled in mid-2012.
GURPS: Girl Genius may be headed in this direction, due to an edition change since the Foglios wrote most of the content. Other GURPS examples include:
Similarly, GURPS Alvin Maker - announced 1992 for a 1993 release, and apparently to have been written by Orson Scott Card himself. (It's possible that this one is simply waiting for him to finish writing the actual series... )
the third edition had a Middle Ages I (which dealt with England) and there was supposed to have been a Middle Ages II (for the continent) which never materialized.
Capcom World Tournament was delayed for a while, then put on hiatus, due to issues with Living Room Games being unable to guarantee a profit through traditional distribution and being unable to risk alienating retailers with distribution methods that would be more likely to turn a profit, like electronic-only format or Publish On Demand. It's still not officially "canceled", despite their decision allowing the license to lapse and their not being able to release it now if they wanted to. This particular bit of vaporware essentially killed the company, too.
There was some talk of releasing it with the Capcom elements removed, but Living Room Games folded due to the financial loss incurred by not actually releasing the game before this could happen. Many RPG fans are disappointed, as by all accounts, it was one of the best and most novel applications of the d20 system ever.
Mekton is pretty much the (barely-) living definition of Development Hell for Tabletop RPGs. Plans for a new edition, using R Talsorian Games' then-new Fuzion system, were announced in the late 1990s. This version, Mekton Double Zeta, stalled very quickly, and very little was heard from it. RTG then sold Mekton to Atomic Rocket Games with the intent of either producing a new edition or alternatively putting Mekton Zeta back into production. Instead, ARG sat on the licence and did nothing with the IP before selling it back to RTG, while retaining a limited licence to produce supplements and Sourcebook material (As of 2010, they have only produced a few short PDF products). At some point after that, the Fuzion version was dropped with development of any new edition being effectively cancelled. In 2009, Mike Pondsmith, the game's original creator, returned to the company and announced a new version, Mekton ZERO, was in development; however, as yet, no details of the new edition have emerged and there has been no activity from RTG beyond random posts on the Mekton mailing list from Pondsmith, and even those have ceased.
In the 1990s, RTG licenced Mekton to a Japanese company to produce a Gundam RPG. In about 2000, RTG then licenced this RPG with the intent of eleasing an english translation in the West. Since then, there has been no news on the progress of the translation, despite being 'in progress' for nearly a decade.
Mekton Zeta itself was subjected to a lot of development hell. The first sourcebook for the edition was out over a year before the rulebook was released. The mecha in it were contructed with a hybrid of Mekton II and Zeta rules and contianed a number of substantial differenes to the construction rules from either. By the time that Zeta was released, the rules had been further revised, leaving the book effectively obsolete and unsupported.
Richard O'Brien has, for years, planned on making a sequel to The Rocky Horror Show. So far, however, nothing beyond a few rumors and some scrapped script ideas. All that's known about the yet-to-be-made sequel is that it would've involved Frank N Furter coming back to life.
The first "leaked" script, Revenge of the Old Queen, began making the rounds in the late '90s, though it reads more like a glorified Fan Fic. Last year, O'Brien announced that he had finally begun writing the playbook for a true sequel, entitled Rocky Horror: The Second Cumming. See the Discussion page for a more detailed version.
The severe postponing of the Belgian production of Tanz Der Vampire. This may be due to the severe fiasco that was Dance of the Vampires, the disastrous Broadway adaptation. (In short: The producer had it rewritten into a spoofy comedy, thinking that would play better to Americans, and then allowed lead actor Michael Crawford more control over the show than songwriter Jim Steinman.)
Jim Steinman has been trying to get a Bat Out of Hell musical off the ground pretty much since the album was released, even stating in interviews it's a concept album that he imagines being adapted to the stage. But after the complete mess that was Dance of the Vampires, Steinman was all but blackballed from Broadway. He still claims he'll make the Bat Out of Hell musical a reality one day, though, even though he face yet another setback in 2006 when Meat Loaf successfully sued for the rights to the title.
Bat Out of Hell was intended to be the music for a Rock Opera that never happened. At some point, Meatloaf must have decided to release it without the stage show because it was a lot of work to not get published.
Vanities: The Musical was planned to be staged on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre in 2009, but due to the recession, this was "postponed indefinitely", and thus its New York debut was relegated to a short run at the off-Broadway Second Stage Theatre.
The Broadway version of Love Never Dies was set to open Fall 2010, but it was pushed back first to Spring 2011 and then indefinitely.
EPCOT has had plans to add more countries to the World Showcase for decades now. Among plans include a Mt. Fuji themed roller coaster in the Japan area, which eventually led to Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom.
The "Flying Turns," a modern replica of a wooden roller coaster popular in the 1930s, has been under construction at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania since 2006. The main engineering problem appears to be recreating a 1930s ride that can also meet 21st century safety standards.
Ah, Flying Turns. By now a punchline among coaster fans. With the countless of times the trains have been rebuilt, track has been reconfigured and all the testing that ultimately went nowhere, Knoebels has continually added new rides to hold the public over year after year. At this point its current 2013 opening is looking (as expected) very unlikely.
The three Code Lyoko OVAs. Reports conflict as to whether they were finally cancelled, but evidence points to their cancellation. In a similar vein, the live-action series, which was announced as "in discussion" a year ago and has not been heard from since, is probably in danger of becoming this. Actually, some recent PDFs found on Moonscoop's website suggest that they are in the late planning stage/early filming stage. Of course, who knows about release dates...
Nelvana holds the rights to the Little Critter characters and at least a couple of scripts were written around 2000, but nothing further has been heard since and it is assumed development was dropped.
Hasbro had planned two DVD releases based on the character TJ Bearytales and even released a music video featuring this character on a My Little Pony DVD. The DVDs were slated for release in either late 2007 or early 2008, but neither ever materialized.
A DTV animated movie based on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, with character designs by James Jean and a script by Warren Ellis, was announced in 2007, but no further developments has been made.
Season 4 of The Boondocks was finally confirmed in May 2012...nearly two years after the final episode of season 3 aired.
Robotech Shadow Rising is the proposed sequel to Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. Its fate is reportedly tied up with the schedule for the proposed live action movie on which no progress is known to have been made since its announcement in 2008.
The TV special The Magic 7 started in 1990, most of the voice tracks were recorded in the 90s - two of the involved actors (Madeline Kahn and John Candy) even died and had to be removed.
The second season of the Thundercats remake has not been renewed and remains on indefinite hiatus.
A series reboot of The Flintstones produced by Seth MacFarlane was announced in 2011. Problems with MacFarlane's schedule means that the series has gone no further as of 2013.
Fearless Photog was a character created for a 1986 HeMan contest by then twelve year-old Nathan Bitner. Among other prizes the winning character was supposed to have entered into production. It wasn't until 2011 and after a massive case of "whatever happened to...?" on the Internet that Mattel announced that it would indeed be produced in 2012.
This page will be finished, any year now. We are getting in a new director and reshooting much of it in 3D.