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Development Hell

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Aagh, the anticipation is killing me!note 

"Fundamentally, what went wrong was that the system was delayed, delayed, and delayed further, until finally it was delayed again, and subsequently delayed, before its final delay happened, before its eventual delayed release."
Technology Connections, on the RCA CED Videodisk format.

The state where an announced creative project becomes stuck at the creation 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 called Vaporfilm. The Video Game equivalent of this is Vaporware.

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. If the team behind the medium is frustrated enough, it can result in Implementing the Incomplete.


The Shelf of Movie Languishment is a variation where a finished work gets stuck in release limbo.

Compare to Extremely Lengthy Creation, where a work did take a long time to come to fruition, but with no problems involved.

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.

If you're looking for a breather from this page, we suggest visiting Development Heaven.


Example sub-pages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 
    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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. A continuation had been promised, but going on eight years and beyond later it still hasn't materialized.
  • 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:
    • His 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.
    • He was planning to do a Batman story illustrated by painter Steve Bisley, which was to be titled "Night Circus". This was during an interview in about 1992, and the story is still yet to appear.
    • Gaiman withdrew from Swamp Thing in protest over the controversial censorship of the intended climax of Rick Veitch's previous run.
  • Winter World was a 3-issue miniseries written by Chuck Dixon and published in 1987, and it was meant to be followed by two sequels, Winter Sea and Winterwar. Winter Sea was meant to be published by Epic Comics but this never happened. Eventually Winter World was republished in 2011 along with Winter Sea as its second part. The third part however remains unpublished.
  • Alien:
    • Aliens: Crusade and Aliens: Matrix were two storylines meant for publication in Aliens magazine. However the magazine was then cancelled after issue #22 meaning that Matrix and the last two parts of Crusade were never published.
    • Aliens: Colonial Marines - Rising Threat was an 8-issue limited series written by Brian Wood and meant to be published from 2019 to 2020. However it was canceled following accusations of sexual misconduct levied against Wood.
  • Batman: Cyber Revolution was a 5-part miniseries written by Ron Perazza and meant to tie in with a toyline from Mattel. The comic was solicited for publication in 2004, but both the toyline and comic were scrapped.
  • 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:
    • All-Star Wonder Woman by Adam Hughes. Hughes has shown off some concept art, but has since moved on to Before Watchmen.
    • All-Star Batgirl by Geoff Johns and J G Jones. Announced in 2006 but no sign as of mid-2012.
    • All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #11 and #12 don't look like they're ever going to happen. A 6-issue limited series follow-up called Dark Knight: Boy Wonder was announced in 2010 as the definitive finale of the storyline, but as of 2020, not a single issue has actually been released.
  • 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.
  • In July 2015, Marvel announced that Tim Seeley and Logan Faerber were working on a new Blade series starring Blade's daughter, Fallon Gray. As of April 2022, it's apparently still on the way, but now as Bloodline: Daughter Of Blade, with his daughter renamed to Brielle. The original creative team is no longer involved and it'll now be written by Danny Lore and illustrated by Karen S. Darboe.
  • Steve Moncuse announced in a 2010 interview that he would be reviving Fish Police. This is still the only acknowledgement of such a revival.
  • In issue #12 of Sergio Aragonés Funnies, Sergio says that the title would continue with another publisher. Said continuation has yet to come.
  • White Sand was written somewhere around 2005, and has since sat on Brandon Sanderson's shelf, awaiting a rewrite that would satisfy the author enough to publish it. The problem was, ever since that time Sanderson was writing either Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive or some other project and the rewrite was pushed back year after year until the book was rescued in 2016 by Dynamite adapting it into a graphic novel.
  • A Truer to the Text Comic-Book Adaptation of Ratha's Creature was originally supposed to come out in Fall 2014 but has yet to come out as of Summer 2019. It's still in production as of 2018.
  • Like many things, the COVID-19 Pandemic affected Marvel Comics, which forced them to halt production for a couple of months. However, even after they started back up, a number of series still never saw print or resume production, including a Punisher vs. Barracuda miniseries, which would've seen the titular Barracuda, a popular villain from The Punisher MAX, become a Canon Immigrant to the classic Marvel Universe, and a reboot of New Warriors set to debut as a spinoff to the Outlawed event (Outlawed itself was also significantly truncated). The trailer for the new New Warriors series is still up on YouTube however.
  • In 2007 there were talks of an adaptation of Rōnin for the big screen, and in 2014 the Syfy channel announced they were going to adapt it as a miniseries. Nothing more has been said about either of them.
  • A graphic novel based on Nintendo's ARMS was announced back in 2017 with initial release date of Fall 2018. After getting delayed twice, it was finally stated to have been cancelled in March 2021.
  • Adam Warren, in 1999, teased a crossover between his incarnation of the Dirty Pair and Superman, but nothing ever came of it besides a single promotional image.

  • A new installment in the Xiaolin Showdown franchise has been in this for six years. In fact, two ideas were discussed, but their status is currently unknown. It's also unknown whether the franchise's perfectionist nature and the death of Stephen Sustarsic, one of the creative forces behind the said franchise, have to do with all that rack, given that Sustarsic was replaced by Mark Zaslove, a friend of his, as a story editor of Xiaolin Chronicles. However, the franchise's creator Christy Hui recently hinted about the Xiaolin Warriors' return, so it's very likely the new installment in the franchise will be eventually Saved from Development Hell.

    Fan Works 
  • Ian Flynn's Sonic the Hedgehog fan comic Other-M suddenly stopped after thirty issues, despite plans for an "Act III". Considering that he went on to be the head writer for the official comics just a few years later in 2006, and continues to retain the role even after the "Archie Comics" continuity ended in favor of starting fresh with "IDW", it's very likely to stay this way.
  • Fan works related to BIONICLE:
    • Both of the biggest CGI fan-film projects, Quest of the Toa and BIONICLE: The Next Generation. 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.

      As for BNG, it's had a very Troubled Production. Originally meant to be a series of feature-length 3D films, the project eventually separated into a 2D and 3D "team". The former produced a video short in the style of the old official BIONICLE Flash videos but due to the creators' other occupations, the project got canceled. However, the 3D team is still said to be functioning and working on a fan film of their own.
    • 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 Doctor Who fan film Devious, which follows a half-regenerated third Doctor working for the Time Lords, has been filming on and off since 1995. In 2009, a 12-minute preview, including the entire Jon Pertwee scene, was included on the DVD of "The War Games". Five years later, it still isn't finished.
  • An Animated Adaptation of the "Running Wild" arc of Sonic the Comic was in production for the 20th anniversary but nothing has been heard of it since the initial preview.
  • Horse Women, the Friendship is Witchcraft adaptation of the first Equestria Girls film, is only partially done. The first part came out in 2014, the second part came out 2 years later, and that has been it.
  • Avatar: The Last Puppet Bender:
    • The video "Puppetbenders - Where Are They Now- Part 1" was uploaded in 2010. A Part 2 hasn't surfaced, though a few other Puppetbender skits have been released since.
    • Avatar: Legend of the Puppetbender, a The Legend of Korra parody, was teased for summer 2012. Nothing else has been heard about the skit. Skits were added onto the Blu-Rays for the cartoon, but those are separate from the original Avatar: Legend of Puppetbender short(s).
  • In 2011, Deviantart user Love Robin posted two teasers for an upcoming Kim Possible fanfic called "The Lies That Bind". The plot would have focused on Kim helping Bonnie deal with her pregnancy by Ron as well as a possible Bonnie/Kim relationship. After more than 10 years, it's still unclear when or if the full story will be written.
  • The 3rd entry in Mega Man: A Day in the Limelight (featuring the Mega Man 3 Robot Masters in Mega Man 4) had a demo released in 2013 with four playable stages, but as of July 2021, there has been no word or announcement regarding development.

    Films (In-Universe) 
  • In Argo, this is the supposed fate of the Argo film project, after the U.S. embassy personnel are rescued from Iran. ("It's in turnaround.")
  • The Last of Sheila: This is why Tom the screenwriter hates Jerkass movie producer Clinton Greene. Clinton bought the option to Tom's dream script some years ago, and refuses to make it, and also refuses to let go of the option.

  • 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 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.
  • Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole collaborated on a six-issue Star Wars Expanded Universe comic for the X-Wing Series which bridged over into Zahn's Thrawn books, called The Reenlistment Of Baron Fel. But the X-Wing Series comics were canceled abruptly. So Zahn and Stackpole worked on the script and turned it into a four-chapter novella, but Del Ray did not buy that script. Both versions are languishing on their hard drives, and it's been something like ten years since the X-Wing Series was going.
    • 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." It's likely dead now that the Star Wars literature written prior to the introduction of the sequel trilogy is no longer canon.
  • Stephenie Meyer:
    • She put off writing Midnight 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". It was finally released in August 2020.
    • 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. Nor of her The Host (2008) sequel.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: After the first three books were published over four years, A Feast for Crows took five years to complete due to an aborted five-year Time Skip in the plot. A Dance with Dragons took six years to complete. The Winds of Winter is taking more than ten years to write. The delays over the books caused Game of Thrones to overtake the books and be completed before Winds even got a release date.
  • 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 Ellison claimed he was eventually going to release it until his unfortunate passing in 2018. Its fate remains unclear.
    • 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. Priest's "The Last Deadloss Visions," the basis for The Book on the Edge of Forever, can be read here.
      • 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.
    • J. Michael Straczynski announced on Patreon and Twitter that the book would be ready to submit for publication Spring 2021. In September 2021 he tweeted that it was now completed and with an agency, who were looking for a publisher.
  • Diane Duane has been somewhat notorious among her fans for this. In her Young Wizards series, there was an 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 Tale of the 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.
  • David Gerrold's fans have been waiting for the fifth The War Against the Chtorr novel (A Method for Madness) since at least 1994. And it's only the third-to-last in the series. In 2017, A Method for Madness was slated to be the title for the sixth book, with the fifth retitled A Nest for Nightmares. It's unknown whether there will be a seventh.
  • Quite a few by Neil Gaiman. In the world of Neverwhere, The Seven Sisters. 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.
  • David Weber is responsible for this in two series.
    • The Hell’s Gate Series, cowritten with Linda Evans, ended the second book on a cliffhanger and it took David Weber and new co-author Joelle Presby 8 years to bring out the third book. As of writing that was 4 years ago, with no progress reported on book 4.
    • 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 author 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 based on the books. They picked beta testers in March 2010, saying that the game would be out at the end of 2010. Though for a while they kept listing the release of the game in the "marketing/publicity" section for each new book in HarperCollins' catalog, the beta testers never got another message after the one saying they were picked to be one, the gamemakers didn't make any posts on the official forum to keep fans updated on the game's progress though they'd promised to (to the point that the subforum for it was, eventually, removed because it confused new members). There have been one or two surveys about what fans would like in a game since then, but they have never made any official statements saying whether or not it's cancelled.
  • 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 Railway Series was slated to have a book titled Barry the Rescue Engine, but Christopher Awdry has not yet completed or released it.
  • The Last Great Tortoise Race, the third and final Nursery Crime book by Jasper Fforde. Its page on his website said it would be published "Spring 2012", but said Spring passed with no such book and the page was taken down, and the current "upcoming books" page doesn't mention it at all.
  • A revised version of Mass Effect: Deception was promised by BioWare in 2012 after readers pointed out its many continuity errors. As of 2019, there has been no news on when or if it will be released.
  • 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 manuscript 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. Because of this, the publishers requested another writer to continue the series despite not being based from Larsson's manuscripts. The fourth book, The Girl in the Spider's Web, was released in 2015, and received mixed reviews.
  • 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. Fortunately, The Last Hunt was released in June 2010, less than two years after Dark Whispers.
    • Coville also has a number of books he'd LIKE to write, including further installments in The Unicorn Chronicles, the Magic Shop series, the Nina Tanleven series and others. Unfortunately, publishers don't seem interested. The truly curious can find references to many of these works and others in his replies on the guestbook of his official website.
  • 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.
  • Myth-O-Mania books IX, X, and XI landed here in 2003, after Hyperion let the series go out of print. IX and X were Saved from Development Hell in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and published by Stone Arch under the titles Hit the Road, Helen! and Get Lost, Odysseus! However, XI remains unfinished. According to the epilogue of VIII, it would retell Jason's search for the Golden Fleece. Its delay has received some in-universe lampshading.
  • The Wise Man's Fear, the second book of The Kingkiller Chronicle, was published in 2011, three years after its initially-anticipated release date. Despite Patrick Rothfuss having released the companion novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things in 2014, the third book of the trilogy is still nowhere in sight.
  • Markus Zusak (The Book Thief) has been writing his next novel "Bridge of Clay" for nearly a decade. The book was originally supposed to be released in 2011. It was finally released in 2018, to rave reviews.
  • Scream of the White Bears was a xenofiction book by David Clement-Davies. It was about polar bears dealing with global warming. The story involved a prophecy where a cub with one black paw would be born that could save the species. Unfortunately, the book's project didn't get enough funding and the book was never published.
  • Worm was preceded by years of failed drafts. That's part of why so many minor characters have fleshed out backstories — several were originally planned to be the protagonist in earlier versions of the story.
  • At the end of The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Caveman from the Future, there is a sneak peek at a sequel, but there is currently no word on when or if it will be released.
  • The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign has an in-universe example. Lu mentions that she's wearing the impractical costume she is because a Wuxia film is being shot in her neighbourhood. Nine volumes later, she's still wearing it.
  • Nonfiction example: shortly after Jim Henson died, Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Powers was chosen by his family to write an authorized biography. In 1993 he finished the manuscript, which was planned for a 1994 release. But the Henson family objected to his portrayal of Henson, and when Powers refused to make major changes, the book was cancelled. Eventually another biographer working with the blessing of the Henson estate, Brian Jay Jones, published Jim Henson: The Biography in 2013. Powers went on to co-write the original book of Flags of Our Fathers.note 
  • Madelyn Alt's Bewitching Mysteries series had seven books released from 2006 to 2011. An eighth book, In Charm's Way, was announced and given a pre-release date, but it was later de-listed. On top of that, Alt hasn't been heard from since sometime in 2012, leaving the series' fate up in the air.

  • In a milder example than most, development of Stern Pinball's Shrek was delayed — and the costs raised — due to demands and red tape from Smash Mouth as well as the films' actors.
  • John Popadiuk has been accused of letting his pinball machines in the 2010's languish in development hell. This came to the forefront in late 2014 when he showed two empty cabinets of the machines he had been working on during Pinball Expo 2013, then showed up with the same two empty cabinets for Pinball Expo 2014 while other producers had since been created and produced playable prototypes. Whether or not this is actually the case is uncertain — Popadiuk is incredibly secretive and prefers to reveal as little information as he can, which can give the impression that progress is slow — but the fact remains that both Magic Girl and Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland have had at least 3 years in development when most other industry professionals spend no more than one.
    • A development blog and preview site for Magic Girl were finally revealed in February 2015, providing numerous images of the game's backbox and playfield art, audio and video clips, and other game elements. While a release date has still not been announced, it shows that some progress has been made.
  • Alien was revealed at the 2014 Pinball Expo, slated for release in April 2015. (Dennis Nordman left Heighway Pinball in part because he felt it would be impossible to complete the game in such a short span of time.) The game was delayed several times afterward, with subsequent release windows later in 2015 and 2016 also falling through, before it ultimately begin shipping in 2017.note  By most accounts, the reason for this was that the game had a Troubled Production (including issues with design and manufacturing, licensing woes, and alleged mismanagement from Andrew Heighway).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The matches for the first season of Wrestlicious were filmed in 2008 but did not air until 2010. In 2011, Viacom sent a letter of intent to pick up a second season, whose matches were done before the year was up but never did get around to airing.

    Puppet Shows 
  • 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 leaves no plausible room for one. Frank Oz, who has not been asked to participate in the production, had only one thing to say about the proposed sequel: "Why?". In early 2012, the film was shelved indefinitely due to 'budgetary concerns'; instead TJHC has moved on to producing a fan-written prequel novel as part of a contest, the graphic novel sequel The Power of the Dark Crystal (its title being the one floated for a film), and most prominently the Netflix prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance in 2019.
  • 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.
  • Then there's talks about a third Sesame Street movie, which tapped Shawn Levy to produce.

  • The Star Wars Radio Drama adaptation of Return of the Jedi ended up shelved for a decade due to Ronald Reagan's cuts to NPR's federal funding.
  • In 1976, Tom Baker cowrote and attempted to produce a Doctor Who movie, Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, that got caught up in Development Hell due to the implosion of the British film industry in the 1970s recession. Big Finish Doctor Who has expressed interest in doing it as an audio drama, but according to Baker it's unlikely it will ever go ahead due to copyright issues between the intended producer of the film version.

  • The Grand Prix of America is a Formula One street race in New Jersey. Or it would be, if they could actually get the permanent parts of the course built. It was first announced in 2011 for a spot on the 2013 F1 schedule, only to be pushed back to 2014 after the clearances weren't secured in time. Then it missed the 2014 date due to financial difficulties. In late 2013, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone publicly claimed the race's backers are in breach of contract due to the repeated delays, and that the slot is now open to any group who can put together enough money to finish the course. The backers have since slammed Ecclestone and claimed he's deliberately trying to sabotage their efforts. As of July 2014, Ecclestone has indicated that, regardless of who finishes the course, the earliest it could be added is 2016 due to an agreement with some of the bigger teams not to exceed 20 races in a season, and even then he doubted anyone could get it done by that date. Come late 2015, and the final F1 calendar for 2016 did not feature the Grand Prix of America despite actually expanding to 21 races.note  As of January 2016, it's unclear whether anyone is still seriously working on it.
    • Subverted with the revival of the United States Grand Prix, which was almost canceled due to a brief contract dispute between Ecclestone and the builders of the Circuit of the Americas, but ultimately went off on its originally scheduled date at the end of the 2012 season.
  • Miami for Major League Soccer has been plagued for over two decades in "Expansion Hell". The first team, Miami Fusion FC, could not negotiate a stadium deal to use either the Orange Bowl in the city proper, or the venue at Dolphins/Hard Rock Stadium, but instead played at tiny Lockhart Stadium in northern Fort Lauderdale for the team's 1998-2001 existence. Once MLS began its re-expansion phase in 2005, a team actually in the city of Miami looked promising. Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint, and FC Barcelona put a joint venture together in 2008 that was turned down by the league in 2009. MLS Commissioner Dan Gelber promised Miami a team if an MLS-Only Stadium could be secured in Miami. David Beckham, in return for joining the LA Galaxy, was given the right to form an expansion team (referred to as Team 20) with only a $25 Million entry fee anywhere without a team in the US. Team 20 was likely to join the league in 2012 along with the Montreal Impact. Beckman had the rights to Miami and could join once a stadium deal was secured. However, the city of Miami rejected two waterfront proposals plus another near the site of the old Orange Bowl; the University of Miami rejected a joint MLS/college football stadium; and a lawsuit by property owners in the Overtown district of Miami (where the City granted building rights) caused various stadium and team co-owners to leave his group. Since the tentative agreement in 2012, MLS expanded into New York City, Orlando, Atlanta, Minnesota, left (and later returned to) LA, with Nashville possibly taking the field before them in 2020. After a local judge dismissed the Overtown lawsuit, MLS Miami was officially awarded a team on January 29, 2018 for play "In the Future", with the team officially known as Club Fútbol Internacional de Miami, or Inter Miami CF. Since the official announcement, the Overtown location has been scrapped and FC Cincinnati was promoted to MLS for play in 2019. On November 6, 2018, the voters of the City of Miami finally approved a stadium at Freedom Park, near Miami International Airport, with Inter Miami scheduled to play its first MLS game in early 2020. However, on March 19, 2019, after lawsuits and other delays, have pushed the team to negotiate a deal with... Lockhart Stadium until at least 2022. The field is over 52 miles away (2 hours away with drive-time traffic). On August 19, 2019, Freedom Park had too much toxic material, including lead and some Miami Commissioner want the team to pay for the cleanup as part of their lease. It is very likely Miami never actually hosts the team.
  • Another MLS stadium that just can't seem to get approved is the one for New York City F.C., which had many proposals that didn't pan out - most damningly, the region's other team with recurring new venue problems, the New York Islanders, managed to get a new arena approved before NYC FC got their stadium!
  • Major League Baseball hasn't held an expansion draft since 1997 and hasn't had an expansion since 1998 for unknown reasons. So any plans for Portland getting a MLB team and Montreal getting a return of the Expos are, like with Miami's MLS team, also in Expansion Hell for now.
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers spent much of its last decade trying to either acquire major renovations of Ebbets Field or to construct their own, new, Stadium in Brooklyn. The City of New York, lead by Construction Commissioner Robert Moses, insisted that The Brooklyn Dodgers should accept a move to Queens. The City blocked an eminent domain request for a small piece of land because of Moses's desire for the Stadium in Queens. After secret discussions with the City of Los Angeles, and a secret ally in the New York Baseball Giants, both teams abandoned NYC for California. Eventually Moses would get his Queens Stadium (Shea Stadium) 7 years after the move for the new New York Mets.
  • A team called the Atlantic Schooners, based in Nova Scotia, was approved to join the Canadian Football League starting in the 1984 season, but it was contingent on meeting certain goals, including the financing and construction of a 30,000-seat stadium. The ownership group wrestled with various government entities, who refused to provide any government funding for the stadium. With no stadium plan in place when they reached a league deadline for it in 1983, the application was withdrawn. The Atlantic Schooners name has been revived for other CFL expansion efforts, including one currently in the tentative planning stages.
  • A planned new Quebec City team for the NHL has been in Expansion Hell since the early 2010s. Doesn't help that in 2018 commissioner Gary Bettman tacitly rejected the Quebec City bid (or to some, was Trolling those who wanted a return of the Quebec Nordiques) by stating the league "would not expand any further for the foreseeable future".
  • Basketball fans of Seattle have been in Expansion Hell for more than a decade, as the league doesn't want to expand and allow the Supersonics to return - at most, there were threats to relocate both the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks there.
  • There have been proposals for an European Super League, bringing together all of European football's most storied franchises, since the 1990s. Proposals in 1998, 2009, and 2016 never came to fruition. The closest that the Super League has come to kickoff was a formal announcement in 2021 from clubs in England, Italy, and Spain. That announcement was met with backlash from fans, media, and national governments; FIFA and UEFA also warned that the Super League's players could be banned from international competition. Less than 48 hours after its announcement, all the English teams pulled out of the Super League, effectively making the 2021 proposal dead. And with the British government and English Premier League looking into penalties for teams that took part; the concept of the Super League is in increasing jeopardy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: 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 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.
    • In-universe, this is also currently happening with Abbadon the Despoiler's 14th Black Crusade. It's been in limbo for ages because Abbadon has his heart set on getting all the surviving Traitor Primarchs to participate. Considering how much they all hate each other, it's unlikely to happen any time soon.
    • As of July 2015, there is still no update for the Sisters of Battle, as in no new models, no new hardcover codex etc etc. Some rumours were made about a fully new range of miniatures but even these disappeared quickly after.
    • A new range of plastic Sororitas and a Codex was released in June 2021. This was preceded some time before by a special collectors box of plastic Sororitas.
  • 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.
  • This blog post describes the 17-20 years of development hell experienced by one Champions book.
  • "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.
  • Mutants & Masterminds itself had a low-key version of this with the initial release of the 3E system as the DC Comics themed DC Adventures. According to some of the writers on the project, the initial system was completed, and characters built, almost a year before the release, during which time Green Ronin went back and forth with DC Comics about which "iconic" version of the character to build (particularly since DC was moving towards the NU 52 continuity) as well as a lot of squabbles among DC writers about the Power Level of their favored characters on a relative and absolute level.
  • 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 in 2008 without any of the promised tools. The subscription-based Dungeons & Dragons Insider service did eventually provide some of them, such as the Character Builder, Monster Generator, and Rules Compendium (with less functionality than originally promised in some cases), but several others including the tabletop were still nowhere to be seen. The virtual tabletop eventually went into beta testing, but lacked the promised 3D models or the (absolutely crucial) ability to use one's own maps, and was officially cancelled in mid-2012. Later that year (on the most generous reckoning), 4th Edition was basically abandoned in favor of developing a new edition. By then there were several free virtual tabletop programs available online, though none had all the features of the version WotC had planned.
  • Exalted Third Edition began development in 2011, was announced in 2012, had a very successful Kickstarter in 2013, and the corebook finally saw release in early 2016. The Troubled Production included such elements as having to pull off massive rewrites, the departure of one writing staff member due to creative differences, and one of the developers coming down with some messy medical issues.
  • Steve Jackson Games is perpetually prone to this trope, because Steve Jackson is a perfectionist who tries to be involved in everything his company does. After all, everything they ship literally has his name on it.
    • GURPS: Girl Genius seems to be in perpetual limbo, possibly due to an edition change since the Foglios wrote most of the content, perhaps because the Foglios have lots of other, probably more profitable work in hand. Other GURPS examples might include:
    • GURPS The Difference Engine - announced in October 1991 for 1992 publication. The problem was said to involve the original assigned writer suffering a fatal accident, and the license will long since have expired, so this one can be considered defunct.
    • Similarly, GURPS Alvin Maker - announced 1992 for 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...) Again, the license agreement will have expired.
    • The third edition did have a GURPS Middle Ages I (which dealt with Britain), and there was supposed to have been a Middle Ages II (for the continent) which never materialized. However, there's no evidence of that even having been started; sales on volume I may simply have been too disappointing for the project to continue.
    • GURPS Thaumatology did eventually appear after only a moderate delay. However, the excuses for that apparently included both the author and the editor experiencing some fairly bizarre (unrelated) health issues, and the publisher being mugged. As the book was about exotic magic systems, there was some joking discussion of a possible curse.
    • The entire line, including several partly-completed books, suffered significant delays in 2012-3, along with some other projects from Steve Jackson Games. This was mostly because the company had decided to use Kickstarter to fund a relaunch of their classic board game Ogre, which had proved so spectacularly successful that delivering on the promises made devoured most of the company's time and resources.
    • The OGRE Kickstarter, meanwhile, shipped a year after the initial estimates.
    • GURPS Vorkosigan Saga took so long to get out that it was only up for sale for about a year before the license expired.
    • In Nomine ran so far behind that one year, the staff went to GenCon wearing shirts reading "For God's NOT ask about IN NOMINE" with a FAQ on the back.
  • 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.
    • A Kickstarter campaign for Mekton Zero has since come and gone. Nothing has been heard since.
    • 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 constructed with a hybrid of Mekton II and Zeta rules and contained a number of substantial differences 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.
  • Airfix Models, one of the first companies releasing plastic model construction kits and scale military miniatures, realised in the middle-to-late 1970s that its product range was becoming hopelessly outclassed and surpassed by newer-established competitors with better designers and newer equipment. The company set about redesigning and revamping its 1950s and 1960s-tooled kits and figures, earning critical acclaim for some of the brand-new designs. Then it went bust. The history of Airfix for the next nearly thirty years was one of its best lines being cherry-picked by rivals, or else owners intent on milking the tired old models for whatever profit they generated. It was only in the 2010's, under good management prepared to invest, that the company was able to resume its programme of retiring the worst and most indifferent older models and introducing retools. Modellers and table-top wargamers alike have been very enthusiastic concerning the new models. But now Hornby, the new owners, are in financial trouble...

  • 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.
    • Ditto for its film version, which was originally going to be followed up with a straight sequel, titled Rocky Horror Shows His Heels. Numerous factors, including the unavailability of certain cast members and a reportedly incredibly lackluster script, ultimately led to its transformation into the 1981 box-office flop Shock Treatment, touted by O'Brien as "not a prequel, not a sequel, but an equal". Though it uses characters and setting from the first film, it's more of a Spiritual Successor than a sequel. O'Brien tried his hand at writing another straight sequel to the Picture Show, resulting in Revenge of the Old Queen, which was leaked onto the Internet and began making the rounds in the late '90s, though it reads more like a glorified Fan Fic.
    • Eventually O'Brien announced that he had finally begun writing the playbook for a sequel to the stageshow, entitled Rocky Horror: The Second Coming but attempts to fund a production fell through and the project has not moved forward since the mid-2000s.
  • 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 tried to get a Bat Out of Hell musical off the ground pretty much from the moment the album was released, even stating in interviews it was a concept album that he imagined being adapted to the stage. But after the complete mess that was Dance of the Vampires, Steinman was all but blackballed from Broadway. He faced yet another setback in 2006 when Meat Loaf successfully sued for the rights to the title. Eventually a musical was produced in 2017
    • 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.
    • Also Jim Steinman wrote music for a proposed Batman musical.
  • 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. Andrew Lloyd Webber still wants to get it to New York, but so far has had no success. This for a show that he first started working on in 1990.
  • Heart and Lights, a Rockettes vehicle that was supposed to be an annual springtime attraction for Radio City Music Hall, cancelled its premiere engagement just days before opening night in March 2014, citing script issues. A new director and choreographer were hired, and it ran in Spring 2015 and '16 as The New York Spring Spectacular.
  • In 2012, the Broadway production of the hit Austrian musical Rebecca actually got as far as the sets going up before it turned out that the key investor didn't exist -- it was all an elaborate scam.
  • A musical adaptation of The First Wives Club had a limited engagement in San Diego in 2009 that was hyped as the pre-Broadway tryout, but after it closed it lost its director and saw no other productions for years afterward. A Retooled version with a new director, book writer, and choreographer opened in Chicago in 2015, but did so poorly that Broadway plans died with it.
  • A musical adaptation of Fight Club was announced in 2004 with a creative team consisting of original author Chuck Palahniuk, David Fincher (who directed the film adaptation), and Trent Reznor, set to be staged for the book's tenth anniversary in 2006. That date passed with no musical to show for it, and despite director Julie Taymor joining the team in 2015 and Reznor saying it was still being worked on during a 2017 Q&A, Fincher stated in a 2021 interview with The Guardian that “Its time may have passed".

    Theme Parks 
  • Dubailand as a whole.
  • 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. It finally opened on October 5th, 2013.
  • Decades, the Rock'N'Roll theme park in Arizona, which got approval to be built by the state government but never saw the light of day mostly due to money problems and probably because they could not get licensing and permission from the artists themselves. Looking at these proposed plans will give you an idea.
  • Universal Studios Florida was a project that Universal had been trying to get done throughout the entirety of the '80s, but due to a variety of circumstances, including quarrels with Disney, the park wouldn't open until 1990.
  • Plans for Universal Studios Japan went all the way back to the late '80s, but for reasons unknown, it took the park until 2001 to finally materialize.
  • The third theme park in Universal Orlando Resort. It was first thought of during the expansion of the resort in 1998, and they even bought the land to build the park. But the economic fallout of the September 11th attacks along with the initial financial failure of Islands of Adventure made the project less viable and the land was sold off a few years later. Eventually, with the success of the Harry Potter rides and the purchase of NBCUniversal by Comcast, the land was bought back by the end of 2015 for $130 million, leading to many, including local news outlets, to speculate that the third theme parknote  will finally be coming within the next few years. These speculations were confirmed in 2019 when the third park was finally announced as Universal's Epic Universe.
  • Universal Orlando had been trying to develop its own water park throughout the '2000s, but like the idea of a third theme park, it was put on hold due to the financial issues they were facing at the time. The water park finally came to be in 2017, under the name Volcano Bay.
  • The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! did not open until seven years after the rest of Islands of Adventure opened, despite the fact that the track, loading station, and queue line had been at the park since opening day. This is because the ride was built improperly by its original manufacturer, leading to Universal delaying its opening until they could get the money to hire a new manufacturer to properly redo the attraction, something that wouldn't happen until the mid '2000s.
  • In June 2015, Universal filed a patent for an "interactive game floor system", with drawings hinting that a real-life, interactive Pac-Man ride was in the works. The project is now most likely stalled due to development on Super Nintendo World, suggesting that Universal likely had this idea as a backup plan in case they were unable to secure the theme park rights to Nintendo franchises.
  • Two Universal parks in both South Korea and Russia were announced years ago yet neither have begun construction since their announcement.

  • Hot Toys is infamous for showing off prototypes of characters from their various licenses, only to never formally produce them for retail. Examples include:
  • Robobuz was a toy, basically an Autobot bus with the symbol removed, that had its release continually delayed because the manufacturing partner didn't have any openings (reportedly the toy would start being manufactured after the factory's main business slowed down, which it never did).
  • Marvel Legends:
    • Each figure in the Mojo wave was originally supposed to include a member of the X-Babies (child clones of various Marvel heroes created by Mojo). 1st Appearance Daredevil was supposed to come with Wolvie and Shadow Kitty (Wolverine and Kitty Pryde), Longshot with Shower (Storm), Baron Zemo with Colossusus (Colossus), The Falcon with Captain Amerikid (Captain America), Psylocke with Thunderstorm (Thor) and Luke Cage with Creepy Crawler (Nightcrawler). Prototypes for child versions of Iron Man and Hawkeye were also revealed. Rising production costs led to ToyBiz abandoning the X-Babies idea, and the Daredevil figure ended up being replaced with a 1st Appearance Iron Man.
    • The Onslaught wave figures were each supposed to come packed with a henchman character, like a Skrull warrior, a HYDRA agent, an A.I.M. soldier, a Hellfire Club guard, a Hand ninja, a Doombot and a Brood drone. This plan was axed for the same reason as the X-Babies figures, and the Crimson Dynamo figure from the wave was also dropped. However, the Brood and Skrull figures were later rescued by Diamond Select for the company's Marvel Select line and the Hydra agent, A.I.M Soldier, Hellfire Club Guard and Hand Ninja have all gotten figures as well as of 2021.
    • Similarly, there were plans for Forbush Man and Frog Thor to appear somewhere as bonus figures, but these too were cancelled.
    • When Hasbro first took over the license, there were plans for a stopgap wave made up of repainted Marvel Legends and X-Men Classics figures from ToyBiz. The line was scheduled to include Wolverine, the Mutant X version of Iceman, and the Ultimate versions of Cyclops, Magneto and Captain America. While photos of the figures made their way online, the toys themselves were never released.
    • In 2007, Hasbro ran a special fan poll that included prototypes of 1st Appearance Storm, Magneto, Gambit in his Muir Island uniform, Northstar, Aurora, Silver Samurai, Sunfire and Lilandra. Sunfire won the poll and was eventually released, with Northstar & Aurora note , Silver Samurai note , & 1st Appearance Storm note  all following, but still no Lilandra or Muir Island Gambit as of 2021.
    • The Fin Fang Foom wave was supposed to include Bi-Beast and the Red King, but both were bumped for unknown reasons.
    • Hasbro held another fan poll in 2009, this time showing Deadpool, Multiple Man, Black Widow, Brother Voodoo, the Bombastic Bag-Man, Classic Ms. Marvel, Modern Havok, the Hood, Lady Bullseye, Ed McGuinness Hulk, Nuke and Terror, Inc. As of 2021, Deadpool, Black Widow, Hulk, Brother Voodoo, Multiple Man, Nuke, & the Hood have all been released in some capacity, but not the others.
    • Blade and Dani Moonstar were supposed to appear in the Epic Heroes wave, but were bumped, although Dani was released in 2019 as a Walgreens exclusive figure.
    • The Phoenix 5 version of Cyclops was meant to show up in the Puck wave, but ended up being canceled by Hasbro due to the costume supposedly being too flash in the pan.
  • Speaking of Hasbro, a prototype Fin Fang Foom toy for their Marvel Universe line was shown off at a convention, but ended up being cancelled due to the poor sales of their Galactus and Sentinel figures.
  • Rainbow Rangers was announced to have a Fisher-Price toyline that would show up in the fall of 2019. Some websites even listed preorders for the toys, but those never came to be. The fate of this toyline is currently unknown.
  • From 2018-2019, Mattel's DC Multiverse line unveiled a number of new figures at conventions and in press images. While many of these were ultimately made, Simon Baz, 90s Catwoman, Impulse, Flashpoint Aquaman, Mammoth, Batman Ninja Joker, classic Riddler and the DC Rebirth versions of Black Canary and Hawkgirl were all cancelled when Mattel lost the DC Multiverse license transferred to McFarlane Toys.

    Web Animation 
  • Any Object Show can fall into this territory. If it doesn't complete its first (or at least newest) season like Battle for Dream Island or Inanimate Insanity did, its next episode will fall flat, and eventually fade out of the black with no word on renewal, or else it could lead to it getting canceled altogether. Reasons can vary but it's usually due to the creator being unable to keep up with school/work and/or their own lack of interest. Luckily, an object show can get revived by making a reboot after it's original failed, but sometimes can fall flat afterwards.
    • BFDIA was never completed and only got cancelled after 6 episodes, even IDFB was canned after a single episode.
    • Code Red is an upcoming object show that has been gaining massive popularity in the Object Show Community from its intro and teaser. The only problem is that it's been "upcoming" for the past four years without any updates let alone episodes due to the creator's combined demotivation and Old Shame. In an OSC podcast, he stated he would eventually release the episode but it's up to debate of whether he would continue the series or not.
  • Paradigm Spiral is an animesque web-cartoon, with a manga-style comic on the side. It's RWBY-inspired to the point where it's caused controversy for plagiarism. Paradigm Spiral has been in development since 2015 with not much progress. Its first episode was still in-progress as of 2017, but the official Youtube channel has since removed all its videos.

  • The Princess Pi story "Princess Pi vs. Dr. 8" appears to have entered this. The list of Princess Pi villains released back in 2011 showed a drawing of Dr. 8, and described his gimmick as using mathematical calculations to determine the most effective evil schemes. Additionally, a post that cartoonist Peter Paltridge made on the Toon Zone forum compared his personality to that of Charlie Sheen. Despite all these details, Peter never gave a release date for the story.note  Considering how many other comics and articles he must make, it seems highly likely that he'll never release it.
  • In Muertitos, the equivalent of Hollywood is actually called Development Hell, in a Shout-Out to this. The story arc it appears in actually primarily parodies Adaptation Decay and So Bad, It's Horrible, however.

    Web Original 
  • One of the most infamous examples in the world of web originals is ProtonJon's let's-play of Superman 64. The test video went up in December of 2007, with the trailer coming out a month later. The LP wouldn't properly start, however, until mid-2010, and updated once every few months for some time. However, after Stage 5, the playthrough started seeing the delays it would become infamous for, with Stage 6 being released nearly 9 months after Stage 5. After that, the next stage would be put off for nearly a year, and the one after coming out over three years later. Stage 9, the most recent episode as of this writing, came out roughly 7 months later. At this point, the LP is over a decade old and is just over halfway done. While Jon was already infamous for his erratic upload schedule since graduating from university, the numerous delays besetting the project (tech issues, personal problems, working on other solo projects, writer's block, and the death of the seller of one of his capture cards, among others) have become the butt of many jokes among fans. The exact timeline of the LP is as follows:
    • December 1 2007 - Test video
    • January 26, 2008 - Trailer
    • June 17, 2010 - Stage 1, parts 1 and 2
    • September 24, 2010 - Stage 2, parts 1 and 2
    • October 13, 2010 - Stage 3, parts 1 and 2
    • January 7, 2011 - Stage 4
    • July 27, 2011 - Stage 5
    • May 6, 2012 - Stage 6, parts 1 and 2
    • January 31, 2013 - Stage 7
    • July 23, 2016 - Stage 8
    • February 25, 2017 - Stage 9
    • April 1, 2021 - Stage 10
  • Parodied in this Onion article: Script Has Been Floating Around Hollywood For 75 Years
  • Jack Douglass teased a YouTube version of "Choose Your Own Adventure" in 2008. Since then, he's gone on to create a number of successful projects, including "Your Grammar Sucks" and "JackAsk", but nothing more has been heard about CYOA.
  • As part of their July-August 2013 Indiegogo fundraiser, Channel Awesome raised funds for three new shows: a pop culture game show called "Retro Pop Culture Challenge", a new comic book show, and a video game-based trivia show "The Gaming Gauntlet". As of December 2014 the pop culture show has apparently been filmed and is in post-production, but nothing has come of the other two shows.
    • One of the shows, apparently now called Pop Quiz Hotshot, has had a few pictures of the set for the show pop up over time, featuring other site contributors such as The Cinema Snob and Linkara, and even some test footage as well as an audition sign up page have popped up on the website. Very little of the show popped up since then, until March 31, 2015, when a pilot episode for the show was released.
  • Go to the Trope Launch Pad and you likely see unfinished tropes that have been there for MONTHS. Which is why we have the TLP Bump handy to keep developing trope concepts alive.
  • An in-universe example: In Homestar Runner, Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, was in production for 4 1/2 years before finally being released as episode 4 of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.
    • The site itself hadn't had new content since December of 2010 until the April Fool's Day special was released in 2014.
    • Their games aren't free from it, either: the periodically updated Stinkoman 20X6 had level 9 added in 2005, with a promise of the final level "coming soon". 15 years later, it was finally released in December 2020.
  • "Pimp Lando X" from the Pimp Lando series, which only has had a teaser 2008.
  • Shot On Shitteo, an intentionally shlocky comedy-horror anthology from Brad Jones was supposed to come out in 2014. Shot on VHS tapes, the stories featured a killer wheelchair, rapist squirrels and an irate filmmaker. Production began in 2013 and was supposed to be very fast. Unfortunately, a snow storm hit Springfield during filming forcing the shoot to be postponed and Brad later got too occupied with The Reviewers to continue. The biggest blow to the film came when Jake Norvell was fired from The Cinema Snob site and as he played a huge role in the first story, all of the shot footage had to be discarded. Brad was toying with editing the existing footage into fake trailers with a new story but thought against it feeling as that approach would greatly hurt the film. Legal issues concerning Jake also got in the way. In the end, he simply pulled the plug only hinting that the footage will be mysteriously leaked. Brad has stated that the revenue obtained from the v-logs covered all the costs on the aborted project.
  • A series of "webisodes" based on Garth Ennis' Crossed were announced in March 13, 2013. So far, no further news about the project are available.
  • Spec World, an ambitious world-building project showing how evolution would have progressed differently if the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct, has seemingly entered this. The site stopped updating in 2008, although some rumblings existed in its Yahoo! Groups page until that service was ended in December 2020.
  • JonTron's review of Takeshi's Challenge took 2 years to finish, due almost entirely to how hellishly, confusingly difficult the game is.
  • Team Four Star has a poor track record of delivering on announced original content:
    • In 2018, Team Four Star showed a short teaser for a wrestling-themed show filmed with action figures called AWF. They still occasionally mention it on social media when asked about future projects, but nothing more has been shown.
    • In 2018, TFS premiered a pilot for an original 2D-animated series called "Fist Master." Although it was announced as a series, no followups have been revealed.
    • The Season 3 finale of DBZA, released in 2018, ended with a teaser card promising a Season 4. Multiple update videos and social media updates throughout 2018 and 2019 made promises about the release window, with the timeline being pushed back every time. In October 2019 an off-hand reference was snuck into an update video that the team was considering making Season 4 with original 3D animation rather than the repurposed anime footage the series was known for. In January 2020, KaiserNeko made a Twitter post that noticeably said that IF Season 4 was made, it would be done with 3D models. After being bombarded with questions by upset fans, the team finally admitted that Season 4 was cancelled in February of 2020.

This page will be finished, any year now. We are getting in a new editor and reformatting much of the page in 3D.


Video Example(s):


Did you hear about Cyberpunk?

At the beginning of their editorial regarding Cyberpunk 2077's infamous launch, Jim Sterling broke out into song about it, pointing out specifically in the first part of the song how the versions seen on the PS4 and Xbox One were horrid.

How well does it match the trope?

4.48 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / PortingDisaster

Media sources: