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Development Hell

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Aagh, the anticipation is killing me!note 
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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 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.

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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.


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Examples with their own page:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • The planned Spiritual Successor to the Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, Aoki Uru, entered preproduction in 1988, but hasn't been completely abandoned yet. Despite it being shelved indefinitely, Studio Gainax is still wishing to eventually produce it, and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto still releases the concept arts from time to time.
  • Lost Universe, which had only one season, fraught with Troubled Production; 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 U.S. release of Shonan Junai Gumi is similarly stalled.
  • 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. With Morosawa's death in February 2016, it appears that the movie is currently on indefinite hold, if not cancelled outright.
  • Despera's production is currently on hold due to the director Ryutaro Nakamura's health issues and his untimely death.
  • We might have found out what happens after GaoGaiGar FINAL if not for the fact that Project Z ceased to be. Though a net novel based on Project Z has been confirmed.
  • 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 financial difficulty has put the film off indefinitely.
  • 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-lifenote , 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 its 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.
  • NANA has been in this since the summer of 2009, due to Ai Yazawa's serious illness and hospitalization. While she was released from the hospital in April 2010 and a special chapter/spin-off was made in 2013 for the 100th issue of Cookie magazine, as of December 2014 the main series is still on hold.
  • Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road was first announced in 2003 and was to be released in 2005. Then various complications happened (e.g. the staff members all left). It was later announced to become a 3-hour special on New Year's Eve of 2013. That's 10 YEARS it's been stuck.
  • The first season of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, which aired in 2010, had a typical Gainax Ending plus Sequel Hook. Despite Studio Gainax releasing promotional images for season 2, it was cancelled due to most of the show's staff (director Hiroyuki Imaishi) leaving to form Studio Trigger. Gainax has however teased in late 2016 that they may have something new for the show in the works after all... Sadly, it turned out to be merely a temporary themed café and a bunch of merchandising items.
  • In July 2011, an anime adaptation of the light novel Savanna Game was announced, planned to air in 2012. There has been no word on it since. It has gotten to the point that some people believe there was never going to be an anime and that the announcement was just shameless advertising for the novel.
  • A sequel to Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 entitled Tokyo 2041 was announced almost a decade ago to be in the early stages of production, with ADV Films, the US distributor of Tokyo 2040, backing the project. ADV later said that they were waiting on the staff from the original series to become available before they could proceed. We haven't heard any updates since, and with the downfall of ADV Films, and the rights to Tokyo 2040 now belonging to Funimation, it's safe to say the project is canceled.
  • A sequel film to Ninja Scroll was announced in 2005, but nothing new has come about since.
  • Back when t.A.T.u. were at the height of their popularity, an anime starring their animated counterparts called t.A.T.u. Paragate was in the planning stages. According to what remains of the official site (Wayback Archive link) it was supposed to come out in Winter 2004. Nothing more is known about it, since when the girls cut ties with their manager (the same guy who decided about adding a lesbian subtext to their performance) the project ground to a halt. The opening animation was to be directed by none other than Shinichiro Watanabe, but there's no evidence about it, and it's possible that nothing other than a title and a vague hint of plot was ever put together for this failed project.
  • In 2012 Madhouse announced they were animating a short based on Peanuts, but as of 2017 more info has yet to be released.
  • The 2nd season of the adaptation of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid, along with an interquel movie that takes place between A's and StrikerS seems to be stuck on limbo after the 1st season for ViVid was poorly received to the point that the BD/DVD for the 1st season seems to have gone into development hell as well.
    • All of these did eventually come out (though, in the case of ViVid, it was a spin-off instead of a sequel).
  • Rebuild of Evangelion is certainly taking its sweet time. The quadrilogy of films was supposed to be completed in 2009; it's 2016 at the time of this writing and there's still not even the slightest hint on Evangelion 4.0. Sure, there was the trailer at the end of 3.0, but given that the trailer for 3.0 at the end of the previous film ended up totally unrelated to the actual film's contents, it might as well not even exist. It's assumed that Hideaki Anno was just busy directing Shin Godzilla, but that film has been released, and the fourth Rebuild movie is still stuck in hell. In July of 2016, Anno apologized and insisted he had gotten back to working on it, and the film series' animation director stated in November of that year that the film's production was in progress. Almost exactly two years later, 2020 was announced as the planned release year; only time will tell if yet another Schedule Slip will occur.
  • Chronic with the Robotech franchise:
    • Robotech II: The Sentinels was Harmony Gold's attempt to continue the series through original animation once more episodes were ordered. The scripts for all 65 episodes were written, and production began. However, after Matchbox pulled out its sponsorship deal due to the falling Japanese exchange rate, Harmony Gold could no longer afford to continue on with the project. The completed animation was later edited together into a Direct-to-Video movie that ends on a cliffhanger. The remaining scripts were later adapted into novels and comic books.
    • Robotech: The Odyssey was supposed to follow The Sentinels, but the cancellation of that project resulted in this one never entering production. Some of its ideas were incorporated into novels though. Fourth and fifth sequels in the series were also whispered about, but never went past the rumor stage.
    • Robotech 3000 was Harmony Gold's attempt to continue the series in CGI. The project stalled following poor fan reception at a screening of the trailer in 2000. Then the animation production company went under. There was talk of reviving the project through traditional animation, but it was later canceled.
    • Robotech: Mars Force was revealed in 2004 by writer Greg Weisman, who confirmed that the series would be more children-focused. No updates have been confirmed since 2006.
    • Robotech: Shadow Rising was the planned sequel to Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles (the only other animated sequel to the original series to actually result in a released project). It was announced in 2007 with a tentative release date of 2009. The film entered hell with Funimation pulled out as a production partner. However, Harmony Gold still insists that the project is not dead.
    • Robotech Academy was announced in 2014 when Harmony Gold launched a Kickstarter to raise half-a-million dollars to produce a 24-minute pilot episode. When the project was only able to raise about $200k, the campaign was canceled, though Harmony Gold is still reportedly shopping the project to developers.
    • The long-mooted Hollywood movie adaptation has its own entry in the Live-Action Film section.
  • Mirai Arise, an original anime by Sunrise, was announced in 2015 with a release date sometime in 2016, but for unknown reasons, no news has been heard of ever since.
  • An anime adaptation of the manga Alive: The Final Evolution was announced in 2008, however the project was canceled in 2010 due to GONZO's financial troubles.
  • The increasingly-theoretical sequel to Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion. The original series came out in 2011, and Rebellion in 2013. It's a Cash Cow Franchise, so another anime installment seems inevitable. However, the original screenwriter expressed no interest in working on another Madoka project, and it's unclear whether Studio Shaft ever decided on a replacement.
  • This Tumblr post gives details about a Time Bokan series that ended up not being made. It was to be called Time Bokan Express Daredaman and was going to have a 1930s Western-inspired setting, with a time-traveling train that also could turn into a mecha and was used for temporal tourism. The Terrible Trio was inspired by American gangsters this time. Unfortunately, the Itadakiman series (1983) was a complete failure, so Tatsunoko pulled the plug on Daredaman and didn't come back to the Time Bokan metaseries until 2000's Kiramekiman.
  • According to insiders, an anime adaptation Hannah Montana was in production in the late 2000s. It was to be produced by Toei, but it never came out. This video discusses it.

    Automobiles 
  • Monica, a French luxury automobile brand, created 22 prototypes, of which 8 went into production before work was stopped indefinitely. Read more here. It was a sign of What Could Have Been.
  • 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.
  • Mercedes-Benz T80 is a Stupid Jetpack Hitler example back in 1930s when aerodynamics were primitive. With an aircraft-like design and even an aircraft engine, the car boasts futuristic and aerodynamic performance which could not be seen for next decades. It was supposed to run by Hans Stucknote  on a special stretch of Autobahn, but the project was halted due to World War II. The bodyshell was saved, however, and there were never any run attempts afterwards. Many people over the decades have urged Mercedes-Benz to fully restore the T80 and test run it to see if it would have reached the ridiculously high speed record.

    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.
  • 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. A continuation had been promised, but going on eight years and beyond 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:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 July 2016, it still hasn't shown up. According to Tim Seeley himself, a new artist has taken over, Afua Richardson, while he has quit due to fans throwing a shitstorm over a white man doing a black girl's comic.
  • Steve Moncuse announced in a 2010 interview that he would be reviving Fish Police. This is still the only acknowledgement of such a revival.
  • Sergio Aragonés Funnies had an 18-month gap between issues 7 (January 2012) and 8 (June 2013). This was due to Sergio Aragones needing an operation, which set everything back.
    • Speaking of which, the Groo vs. Conan crossover was originally announced in 2007, but got delayed several times for various reasons, the aforementioned operation being one of them. It finally came out in 2014, seven years later.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • Ian Flynn's infamous comic Other-M is currently unfinished, and since Ian is head writer for the current Archie's Sonic and Mega Man comics it's 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.
    • BioCraft: Chronicles, a spoof-style fan film made using Minecraft, was set to come out at the end of '11. After being scrapped and started over, it was put on indefinite hiatus in '14, with plans to do something with it eventually.
  • 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.

    Film (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.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stephanie Meyer 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", 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. Nor of her The Host 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 seven years to write. The delays over the books have caused Game of Thrones to overtake the books.
  • 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.
  • 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. Gerrold, of course, is getting up in his years, and Author Existence Failure could result in an Orphaned Series.
  • 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 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 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. The page on his website saying it will be published "Spring 2012" still exists, but the current "upcoming books" page doesn't mention it at all.
  • 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. 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 VIIInote , 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.
  • Scream of the White Bears was a xenofiction book by David Clement-Davies. It was about polar bears living in a world where their environment is quickly changing. There was a prophecy that a cub with one black paw would be born that could save them. 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In some traditions, God needed more than one go at creating a female help and companion for Adam. In Jewish tradition, His first go was called Lilith, who proved to be surly, combative, stubborn, unbiddable and headstrong, to the point where she was dispatched to Satan to work for him. Woman 1.1 was of course Eve, who was programmed to be subordinate to Adam by the simple means of using one of his ribs to symbolise that as Adam came from God and is subordinate to Him, Woman came from Man and thus is subordinate to her husband. Outwardly submissive and passive, Eve fell for the persuasive talk of another male, the serpent. Thus it could be argued that from a Judeo-Christian perspective, the whole world (hardware) and the human race (software) is God's Development Hell...

    Pinballs 
  • 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.

    Pro 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 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?". 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, not to mention a Netflix prequel series.
  • 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.

    Radio 
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 sake...do 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 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.
  • 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...

    Theater 
  • 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.
    • Last year, O'Brien announced that he had finally begun writing the playbook for a sequel to the stageshow, 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.
    • 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.

    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.
  • The long-rumored third theme park at Universal Orlando Resort. Plans were discussed as early as 1998, during the expansion of the pre-existing Studios park that led to Universal Orlando Resort and the Islands of Adventure park. However, by the early 2000s, with the September 11th attacks and the economic downturn that resulted from it, Universal tabled the plans and sold off the land it was slated for to pay up debts. Cue The New '10s, and with NBCUniversal's purchase by Comcast and the success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal bought much of the undeveloped land back for $130 million, leading to rumors that the third park may finally be back on the table.
  • 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.

    Toys 
  • 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.
    • 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, while the rest have yet to see the light of day.
    • 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. Deadpool, Black Widow and Hulk were all eventually released in some capacity, while the rest weren't.
    • Blade and Dani Moonstar were supposed to appear in the Epic Heroes wave, but were bumped.
    • The Phoenix 5 version of Cyclops was meant to show up in the Puck wave, but ended up being cancelled 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.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • 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 nearly 7 years 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
  • Parodied in this Onion article: Script Has Been Floating Around Hollywood For 75 Years
  • The Masked Girl had a year between release of the opening and release of the actual first episode.
  • 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.
  • Shiny Objects Videos promised a fully stop-motion animated video back in 2010. It, uh... hasn't panned out.
  • 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, the game Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, was in production for 4 1/2 years before finally being released in SPCG 4 AP Episode 4.
    • 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". Over 10 years later, it hasn't been released yet.
  • "Pimp Lando X" from the Pimp Lando series, which only has had a teaser released...in 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 suppose 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.
  • Rooster Teeth's Day 5 has been mentioned to have begun development in podcasts from early 2012. It finally came out in June, 2016.
  • 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 only signs of activity related to it today are on its Yahoo newsgroup, and even these are not very frequent.

    Western Animation 
  • The three Code Lyoko OVAs. Reports conflict as to whether they were finally cancelled, but evidence points to the latter.
  • Nelvana held the rights to produce a Little Critter Animated Adaptation 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 'n Friends DVD. The DVDs were slated for release in either late 2007 or early 2008, but neither ever materialized.
  • This webpage (Wayback Machine archive) has information on five series that qualify, they include Spinoff(s) of both Rugrats and Hey Arnold!, a clone of Teacher's Pet, a Animesque series like Avatar: The Last Airbender and a series that was supposed to be based off of a comic book. Another page (on the same website) has information on a show called Baxter and Bananas that was originally aired as a 15-minute short in 2002. But no more information has surfaced on it.
  • An animated series based on the comic book series The 99 was announced to be one of the launch programs on The Hub, no word about the series has been heard since its announcement in March 2010
  • 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. It finally came out in July, 2017, as a Netflix original show.
  • The fourth season of the 2010 reboot of Pound Puppies has not been renewed and production of the series has stalled indefinitely due to poor ratings and the failure of the toy line.
  • In the 2000’s, there was talks about a Crazy Frog cartoon and an animated film at that time. Nothing has been materialized.
  • 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.
    • Shadow Rising has been put on hold in favor of another film project, Robotech Love Live Alive, which was released on DVD with the special edition reissue of Shadow Chronicles in July 2013. Love Live Alive took the 50-minute OVA Genesis Climber MOSPEADA: Love Live Alive and added 40 minutes of new bridging material written and conceived by the late Carl Macek to create a full-length feature designed as a direct lead-in to Shadow Rising. Shadow Rising is still MIA, after an abortive 2014 crowdfunding attempt to produce a pilot called Robotech Academy came to naught.
  • The Magic 7, which apparently was a fantasy TV special 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.
  • The second season of the ThunderCats remake, that was going to last 39 episodes, had not been renewed and remained on indefinite hiatus. It was eventually canceled, ending the series on a cliffhanger, finishing only half of its planned run.
  • The sketch series MAD was not renewed for a fifth season and was halted indefinitely. Since Cartoon Network has now taken the show off the schedule, it's likely been quietly canceled.
  • 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. It appears to be cancelled, as FOX's rights to the reboot expired and returned to Warner Bros., who opted to release a Direct-to-Video movie featuring the characters interacting with wrestlers from WWE. Seriously.
  • Fearless Photog was a character created for a 1986 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) contest by then twelve year-old Nathan Bitner. Among other prizes the winning character was supposed to have entered into production. Unfortunately, the He-Man toys had stopped selling by then, so the entire line (including the Photog figure) was canceled. It wasn't until 2012 and after a massive case of "whatever happened to...?" on the Internet that Mattel finally made Photog, selling him to adult fans on their MattyCollector.com website.
  • After the success of the Robot Chicken Star Wars episodes, Lucasfilm tapped Stoopid Monkey to produce Star Wars Detours, a CGI cartoon featuring various side stories, with a planned 2013 airdate. The series was apparently well in production, with footage being released online, before the Disney acquisition forced Lucasfilm to allocate its resources towards the sequel trilogy. 39 episodes were reportedly completed.
  • Preschool Daze, a Rugrats spin-off focusing on Suzie and Angelica at school, was put on hold after the success of the All Grown Up!, one shot special, led to a series. Only four shorts were produced (making up two full episodes) and put on the Rugrats "Tales from the Crib" DVDs. At this point, it's safe to say it's canceled.
  • In 2011, Mike Judge was supposed to be the producer of a new series for the MTV animation department called Worst Friends Forever, about three unpopular high school girls. Nothing more is known about it, since it was immediately canned.
  • In 2006, Disney announced two Winnie-the-Pooh installments for their Learning Adventures series: Good Day, Good Night and Time to Rhyme. Trailers popped up in various Disney DVDs at the time, featuring fully animated footage. Sadly, neither of them were released making this a rather baffling example.
  • Lauren Faust doesn't really care for a Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls series, but she's been trying to pitch it for years as she knows toy companies prefer when toys have Merchandise-Driven cartoons. There's still no sign of a series or even an animated special after some 10+ years of trying. She tried to pitch Milky Way once and ended up creating My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic instead (and it shows, with several of the ponies being similar to Milky Way characters). She's mentioned wanting to redesign the characters but nothing has come of that yet. The series website went offline and the project is seemingly put on the backburner for now
  • There have been talks of an Animated Adaptation of the book series Rainbow Magic for years, pretty much since the series started (the franchise was bought by HiT Entertainment presumably for this very reason). All that's come out of it was a one-off movie/OVA released around 2010, and nothing else seems planned.
  • There were apparently plans for an animated series of Barbie back in the late 80's, but all that materialized were 2 specials based on the Rockers line. Apparently DIC decided to make Maxie's World and/or Beverly Hills Teens instead.
  • A Johnny Test movie was announced around 2013, but the near-universal hatred of the franchise and the show's cancellation have apparently put the plans on ice.
  • The Canadian/Australian co-produced cartoon SheZow's production has stalled since mid 2013 and is most likely cancelled. The creator and some staff members have been trying to get it started up again as a graphic novel, but even that is going slowly (the comic book itself ended after only one issue, indirectly confirming that the franchise is dead).
  • The creator of Codename: Kids Next Door has been trying to get a sequel/spinoff series about Numbuh One's adventures in the Galactic Kids Next Door picked up for a while now, but its future doesn't look too bright.
  • Filly Funtasia was announced in 2013 but its release kept on being pushed back. It was due for a 2016 release that never happened, although slowly throughout the years, it's been revealed that the show is still in production.
  • Atomic Betty Redux was in the works for several years before a cancellation was announced. It was to be about Betty as a teenager. The idea was scrapped and they simply made more episodes of the series itself.
  • Halfway through its 7th episode, Polly And The Zhu Zhu Pets was put on hiatus and went through a supposed name change to The Zhu Zhus, along with the main character's name, Polly, being changed to Frankie.
  • A Captain America cartoon was scheduled to premiere on Fox Kids in the fall of 1998, but the bankruptcy of Marvel Comics meant it was not to be.
  • The planned Garbage Pail Kids Saturday Morning Cartoon, 13 episodes of which were actually made, was cancelled by CBS before it premiered in 1987.
  • Fox ordered Murder Police for 2013-2014, before abruptly cancelling it in October 2013.
  • In 2015 it was revealed that another adaptation of Astro Boy was being made, this time co-produced by a French studio. Nothing has been revealed since.
  • A third season of Sonic Boom was revealed in the second season finale in 2017. Nothing else has been revealed since then, likely due to the failure of the namesake series and Sega wanting to focus more time on Sonic Mania and the upcoming movie adaptation.
  • There were a couple attempts to make an animated adaptation of The Blues Brothers, but none of them were ultimately made. The first one, as The Lost Media Wiki states, was to be aired on UPN in 1997. 8 of 13 episodes were reportedly completed, but the series was cancelled, and nothing outside of a couple of animatic promos has ever surfaced. The other one was announced in 2016 and was going to be made by Bento Box Studios (the studio that makes Bob's Burgers), but their website doesn't make any mentions of it, and outside of mentions made on every major animation and film site at the time, and this Twitter profile, there's absolutely no info about it whatsoever.
  • The band cartoon Chloe and the Stars is stuck in development hell. It started out as sketches back in the early 2000s but in 2014 there was an attempt to crowdfund a pilot. It didn't reach its goal and the pilot was never animated. The pilot was supposed be about Chloe and the other girls going to an intergalactic Battle of the Bands.

    Other 
  • 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.
  • The Westfield Shopping Center in Bradford, UK. Originally planned in 1998 to spruce up the city's fairly unpleasant shopping area, it finally got approval in 2003. Buildings in the area were completely demolished by 2006 and dug out. A number of shops closed up to prepare to move into the new building. After Westfield decided to focus on other projects the city was left with an enormous demolished pit (referred to locally as 'The Hole') until 2010 when a small section of the site was turned into a park. As a result an entire chunk of the city was basically abandoned, with nearby shops closing up due to lack of people visiting the area. Construction finally got underway in 2014.
  • The Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Rolled out in July 2007, the plans were for flights to begin in 2009, with stretched versions coming out within two to three years. Then technically difficulties and parts delays meant the aircraft didn't make its first flight until December 2009. It wasn't until July 2011 that the 787-8 finally entered passenger service with All Nippon Airways. Then in December 2012, the aircraft was grounded worldwide due to problems with lithium ion batteries catching fire on a few aircraft, including a Japan Airlines 787 at Logan International Airport and at least one pop-the-evacuation-slides emergency landing at Tokyo Haneda Airport by an ANA Dreamliner. Fortunately, once the problems with the base 787-8 model were resolved, production of the longer 787-9 was much faster, as it took its first flight in September 2013 and within a year, United Airlines, ANA and Air New Zealand had pressed their first -9s into regular service.
  • Neon Alley. In Canada. Need I say more?note  In 2016, Viz Media brought some of its series to Canadian streamers through Tubi TV.
  • Elsa's and Anna's inclusion into the Disney Princess line has become this. It was announced in 2013 but as of 2015 it has yet to occur. Their merchandise often has the "Disney Princess" label on it but they're officially not under the line yet. Many fans believe that Disney realized what a Cash Cow Franchise Frozen merchandise is and decided to postpone it until it loses popularity.
  • The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 has been proceeding slowly, even though IPv4 addresses have been exhausted. Modern operating systems and networking equipment have supported IPv6 since the 2000s but ISPs have been slow to roll out IPv6 because of a combination of the expense of upgrading and NAT reducing the demand for new IP addresses. Most ISPs implement dual-stack configurations that support both IPv6 and IPv4 for backward compatibility.
  • The SpaceX "Falcon Heavy." First announced in 2005, was supposed to have its first launch by around 2010, but has been delayed and re-announced so many times that it has gained a reputation for being perpetually 6 months away. The main problem is that it's basically three Falcon 9 rockets cobbled together, so every time the 9 is redesigned (once or twice a year), the Heavy also has to be redesigned, pushing back its completion by several more months. When or if it will actually make its debut remains to be seen.
  • The creator of Vine was displeased on how Twitter managed to acquire his creation and then mismanage it until it was shut down in 2017. So he decided to create a self-funded replacement named "V2" and planned to unveil it in mid-2018. However, lack of funds and legal troubles (for one, the logo is very similar to the Vine one) ensured that this project was shelved indefinitely.


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