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Saved from Development Hell

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"What? Did you think I was GONE forever?"
Duke Nukem, Duke Nukem Forever trailer

Development Hell is what some works go through if there's too much Executive Meddling, lawsuits, and so on. The fanbase is waiting more and more impatiently, but nothing gets done.

Sometimes, however, divine intervention happens. After many, many years, or even decades, of promises, the work is finally released.

Of course, the finished product is almost always significantly, or even completely, different from what the creator originally had in mind, if for no other reason than the conditions imposed by the passage of time.

See also The Shelf of Movie Languishment, where it is finished, but not released. May involve What Could Have Been if the project saw changes after being dusted off. Compare Un-Canceled for serialized works.

Please only list examples here that have actually left development hell. Also, note that just because a title was saved from development hell doesn't necessarily mean that it's good. There are far too many examples of "saved" titles that were so bad or underwhelming that people would have preferred it stayed in development hell.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Back in September 2016, there was an announcement on a basketball sports anime called Barangay 143 which would be set in the Philippines and would be produced by TV Asahi and the Philippine-based studio Synergy 88. Initially, it was supposed to be released in Spring 2017; however, the project is delayed due to lack of manpower. A a mobile video game app was released instead which is sort of a prologue to the upcoming anime. After months of being in limbo, the first-ever Filipino-made anime will be aired on October 2018 on GMA Network.
  • The Code Geass Gaiden was first mentioned in the 2008 or 2009 time frame, though its official announcement wasn't until early-mid 2010. It was supposed to air in 2011. It finally came out in late 2012.
  • Whilst its stay in development hell was rather short, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children does fit. Announced at TGS 2003, and originally targeted for a summer 2004 release, it ended up appearing in its original form in September 2005. The reason, according to director Tetsuya Nomura, was that the movie was originally meant to only be roughly 40-50 minutes long. However, fan interest skyrocketed as soon as the movie was announced, so the script was rewritten and the movie lengthened to accommodate for an expectation. Advent Children Complete again deserves a mention: it saw release in April 2009, after being announced at TGS 2006.
  • The Giant Robo OVA, The Day The Earth Stood Still, took ten years to finish. There are seven episodes.
  • It took nine years for Keiko Takemiya to get her manga series Kaze to Ki no Uta published, due to the plot focusing on a homosexual relationship and Takemiya's refusal to release the series with any censoring.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • The second season, both in Japan and abroad. It only started airing in the middle of a rerun of the first, with no advertising to speak of, amid official denials from the publisher.
  • Keroro Gunsou:
    • ADV Films announced their license of the series in early 2006, then went completely silent about it for two years and never released so much as a cast list, let alone a DVD or anything close (all we got were trailers for the show appearing on some of ADV's releases from 2007, and some of the actors mentioning it in commentaries and convention appearances). Then ADV lost the rights to Frog — along with nearly 3 dozen other titles — in July 2008. Funimation picked up the distribution rights and released a "test episode" on their YouTube channel seeking feedback in late 2008. The response was less than stellar, so FUNimation went back to the drawing board to tweak the scripts and casting. The first batch of episodes was eventually released on DVD in September 2009, and some of the episodes of the final version are up on their video portal. Six months later all of Season 1 (split into two "seasons" due to its length) had been released.
    • The series then went through this again. FUNimation had originally announced the acquisition of the first 102 episodes, but stopped halfway through. It took another year for Funimation to announce 26 more episodes, which were released in quick succession in July and August 2011.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Due to Tokyopop losing the license, the U.S. release was stalled after two volumes. Yen Press acquired the rights in 2013, and are releasing all five volumes in two omnibus editions. Similarly, they've released all three volumes of the Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix manga in two volumes.
  • An anime adaption of Kizumonogatari, the prequel to Bakemonogatari, was announced back in 2011 after the first installment's conclusion. Shortly afterward it was instead announced as a theatrical release delayed to March 2012. And then it was delayed again... And then again. The one time the movie did have a release date, it was rescinded the same day and never mentioned again. Since the announcement of Kizumonogatari, Studio SHAFT has released five more instalments to the Monogatari series and over a dozen other projects with no sign of Kizu seeing the light of day. It finally released in 2016 in the form of a three-part movie series.
  • To celebrate the show's 20th anniversary, the long-delayed Mobile Suit Gundam SEED movie, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Freedom, was finally announced as part of 2021-2022's Gundam SEED Project Ignited multimedia project. Contributing to the long delay was the illness, and eventual death, of head writer Chiaki Morosawa, wife of director Mitsuo Fukuda, from an aortic dissection in February 2016.
  • After two years, Maikaze finally released a trailer for the second episode of their Touhou fanime Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day's Dream, which had been rumored to have been scrapped over criticism, both from the series' original creator ZUN and from fans.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The original series' infamous Gainax Ending was the product of severe budget cuts that left many loose threads hanging. It wasn't until later that Studio Gainax was able to secure the funding for a movie that became The End of Evangelion, which serves as the proper, intended ending to the series.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion: The third movie, You Can (Not) Redo, took a really, really long time. It was released on November 17, 2012, more than three years after the previous movie. The end product had nothing to do with the material from the trailer at the end of 2.22 because the original script was scrapped mid-production, having already reached storyboarding.
      • The fourth and final movie, Thrice Upon a Time, took even longer due to a Creator Breakdown after the third, with the first teaser being released six years after the third movie's debut with a tentative 2020 release. After that was inevitably delayed, it was then announced the film would have a March 8th, 2021 release date, which actually stuck this time.
  • 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.
  • One Piece:
    • It has had a crazy situation with this in America, especially if you're talking uncut episodes. 4Kids Entertainment got the anime in 2004 and it was aired on Toonami severely edited, even by 4Kids standards. 4Kids originally said they would make uncut releases of this and other shows, then that idea suddenly died. Then in 2007, they lost the license altogether. Then FUNimation picked up the show and started putting their version on Toonami... which was canceled after just 25 episodes (they had dubbed over 40 at the time). They started releasing DVD uncut from the first episode, but certain actors told fans at cons that it was FUNimation's worst-performing series (studio reps denied it), leaving doubt as to whether they would even bother releasing the season they aired on Toonami, to say nothing of any episodes after. The time between original licensing of the show and a proper uncut release: over 3 years.
    • It gets crazier once you get to the streaming. The online simulcast was announced and was hacked on the very first night, canceling the event and leaving FUNimation and Toei talking for months, leaving fans wondering if they'd ever get caught up to Japan (or keep getting DVDs at all). Then finally, months later, the simulcast came back and is still going strong.
    • After over a year of no information whatsoever -— and a general consensus that they had dropped the show -— FUNimation announced Season 4 (the first to get no U.S. TV airing at all) for a Summer 2012 release, and Season 5 a few months later for 2013.
  • While writing Orange, the author Takano Ichigo became extremely ill and had to paralyze the publication of her work for more than a year. She's resumed publishing by now (even moved to another magazine from a different publisher), but she still has sequels, meaning the series doesn't get published monthly if the author couldn't make it to the deadline. The series has been completed as of late 2015, however.
  • Pantheon High, an American manga, was published by Tokyopop. Unfortunately, Tokyopop stopped publishing — but didn't go bankrupt — in 2011, right before the third and final volume was to be released. Since Tokyopop wasn't publishing, they didn't release the volume, but since the company still existed, the authors couldn't get the rights back to have it published somewhere else. Comixology finally picked it up in May 2014 and is now selling all three volumes.
  • Despite having been teased since 2011, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt's second season has been stuck in a state of limbo due to the people involved with the show leaving Studio Gainax to form Studio TRIGGER and legal issues preventing the latter from continuing it. Finally though, after twelve years, the second season would finally be announced in 2022 during Anime Expo 2022, by none other than TRIGGER themselves.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal was announced in June 2012 with a tentative premiere scheduled for Summer 2013. The year went by with no updates on the project, and it missed its announced premiere window. Then producers suggested it was pushed back to Winter 2013, and then it failed to make that window. Then updates finally started happening, the first promo image was revealed in March 2014, and the series finally premiered in July 2014, a year behind schedule.
  • Shaman King was canceled around the last chapters due to very low ratings and it was finished with a 'Not concluded' note at the end of it, in 2004. It was until 2008 that Shueisha announced that they were releasing a perfect edition of the manga, giving the chance to the author to finish exactly where and how he wanted it to be. The last volume of Shaman King: Kang Zeng Bang was eventually released in 2010.
  • Due to the manga centering heavily on ableism in Japan, A Silent Voice took several years to become a series due to its controversial nature. There was even an attempted lawsuit against it. It was originally a one-shot in 2008 but was remade in 2011, where it finally got mainstream attention, and later was adapted into a several volume manga in 2013.
  • Slayers missed out on a direct fourth season in 1998 due to production issues and Megumi Hayashibara having schedule conflicts, and while there were more OVAs, a movie (Slayers Premium) and other media, it took eleven years for a fourth season to finally appear. A fifth then occurred the following year.
  • Steamboy was in production for 16 years, which definitely shows in all the Scenery Porn.

  • Cologne Cathedral began construction on 15 August 1248 with the foundation stone being laid. Construction stalled in 1473, though intermittent work continued until the early-to-mid-1500s; this was typical for most medieval cathedrals, which operated on an "ad-hoc" funding basis from donations. However, in the case of Cologne Cathedral, the original plans were rediscovered in the 19th century, in the social context of a German Romanticist movement to which the grand vision behind the massive Gothic structure appealed. Funding was provided by donations as well as the Lutheran royal court of the Kingdom of Prussia, which saw the cathedral's completion as a way to demonstrate its beneficence to its newly-annexed Catholic subjects. Construction finally resumed in 1842; the cathedral's completion was celebrated on 14 August 1880, 632 years after construction began and four centuries since it originally stalled.
  • The Second Avenue line of the New York City Subway, which was originally proposed in 1920. The first phase opened to passengers 97 years later. It was on the city's to-do list for many years and became more pressing when the 2nd and 3rd Avenue els that served the East Side of Manhattan were demolished in 1942 and 1956. With the els removed, this put additional pressure on the nearby Lexington Avenue line, which was already overcrowded even before they were torn down. City bond issues for the line were approved by voters twice (1951 and 1967) and construction finally began in 1972. But a myriad of issues such as changing demographics, the city nearly going bankrupt in 1975, and NIMBYism stalled the project for decades. The idea was finally put back on track in 2005 with another voter-approved bond issue, and construction restarted in 2007. The first segment from Lexington Avenue–63rd Street to 96th Street finally opened on January 1, 2017, as an extension of the Q train from the Broadway Line, with some rush-hour N and R put-ins. Originally designed to be a 4-track subway, it is now a 2-track line due to rising construction costs.
  • I-95 is the major highway along the East Coast of the United States, going from Miami all the way up through Maine to the Canadian border. Despite being one of the first routes of the Interstate Highway System planned and started when it was first proposed in the 1950s, it was still not one continuous route long after most of the nationwide system was built by the 1980s. The original plan was to build a new highway through New Jersey to connect Philadelphia and New York City, but thanks to freeway revolts (locals feared that the highway would bring unwanted development to area farmland) and opposition by the New Jersey Turnpike (what would you rather travel, a tolled road or a free one?note ), the proposed Somerset Freeway got canned. In 1995, due to increasing traffic along US 206 and New Jersey Route 31, this motivated officials in Mercer County to have New Jersey reconsider building the Somerset Freeway as a way to reduce congestion on local roads, but it was ruled out because of a hefty $700 million price tag. Also around this time, I-95 was extended east along I-295 between the site of the Somerset Freeway interchange and US 1 in Lawrence Township, while being extended down the New Jersey Turnpike (until Exit 6) and then west along the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension to known as the Pennsylvania Turnpike Connector via the Delaware River–Turnpike Toll Bridge. The gap was finally closed by a new project in Pennsylvania which opened in 2018.
  • The San Francisco 49ers were trying to get a stadium built for many years under multiple plans to replace Candlestick Park, which was built for baseball and had to be retrofitted to accommodate them. The new stadium in Santa Clara finally broke ground in 2012; Levi's Stadium opened in time for the 2014 NFL season.
  • Plans for Mall at Bay Plaza in the Bronx (an enclosed mall adjacent to the existing Bay Plaza strip mall) were first announced in 1997. A J.C. Penney store was built on the mall site in 1999, but nothing else ever happened until the mall itself finally broke ground in mid-2012. When completed in 2014, it was one of only two enclosed shopping malls in the U.S. to be built since 2006, with Macy's as the other anchor store.
  • Since 2007, plans have been proposed for the redevelopment of the Landsdowne Park area in Ottawa, Ontario, since the announcement of a CFL franchise for the city to play in 2010. The date was pushed back to 2013 after it became a necessity to replace the entire stadium and pushed another year back after a lawsuit from a group of residents in the area. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed in 2012 and construction began.
  • The Washington Monumentnote  sat one-third completed from 1854 to 1879, with the stoppage mostly due to a lack of donations. Congress finally stepped in to fund its completion.
  • One World Trade Center, the single tower that stands to replace the Twin Towers which fell on 9/11, went through several designs and concepts, and its progress was slowed nearly to a halt by politics and incompetent administration. A plan was finally settled, construction was resumed, and the building finally topped out in 2012 — 11 years after the attacks leveled its predecessor.
  • Washington National Cathedral took 70 years to be completed.
  • The "Big Dig", Boston's famous plan to reroute I-93, a.k.a. the Central Artery, into a tunnel below the city. 15 years of leaks, fatal collapses, and other mishaps gave it an estimated price tag of nearly $22 billion. It finally completed and the tunnel opened in 2007...but with numerous problems that they're still trying to fix.
  • The Louisiananote  Superdome was another example of its construction. It was originally supposed to break ground in 1968 and be ready to open in time for the 1972 NFL season (with Super Bowl VI that January serving as the final event for Tulane Stadium, which was serving as a temporary home for the New Orleans Saints at the time) and cost $46 millionnote . Instead, political wrangling between the developers and Louisiana politicians delayed the groundbreaking until August 11, 1971, and ultimately cost $165 million factorings in inflation, the 1973 Oil Crisis, and construction delays. The Superdome would open for the 1975 season, after more construction delays that forced Super Bowl IX (which was intended to serve as the stadium's grand opening) being moved at the last moment to the aging Tulane Stadium, where that game would be played in cold, windy and rainy conditions.
  • North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel, which started construction in Pyongyang in 1987, was built with the intent of creating the world's tallest hotel and to attract foreign customers to the North Korean market. Standing at 105 stories, construction stalled in 1992 as a result of an economic depression, and the tower stood dormant for sixteen years with no exterior or interior work conducted as the building essentially stood as an empty shell. In 2008, Egyptian into vestors restarted construction, and the building's exterior was finally completed, with an intended opening date set for 2012, which was then pushed back to 2013; to date, the progress of the interior and the next likely opening date remain unclear.
  • There is a proverb in the Finnish language, rakentaa kuin Iisakin kirkkoa ("to construct like te Church of Isaac"), meaning a meticulous, lengthy and never-ending project. The proverb refers to the Church of St. Isaac the Dalmatian in St. Petersburg, Russia. Its construction lasted for forty years, from 1818 to 1858.
  • Berlin Brandenburg Airport was supposed to replace Berlin's older international airports Tegel and Schönefeld) when construction began in 2006. In 2011 the airport was nearing completion and plans were in place to complete the overnight transfer of operations from the old airports to the new, but less than a month before it was supposed to open a test run of the airport's fire suppression system found it to be severely lacking and forced it to delay its opening. And delay it more as they couldn't figure out how to fix it in a satisfactory manner. Then it was deemed too dangerous for construction workers to enter out of fear the roof might collapse. The opening was delayed for a total of nine years, and all the while costs overruns began to mount as the S-Bahn station had to open even without any passengers in order to prevent mold from growing and the LCD screens showing departure and arrival information had to be replaced because they had been left on the whole time and had reached the end of their operational lives. Cargo flights did eventually start to come in, and the airport finally opened for passenger traffic on October 31, 2020.

  • Volkswagen Beetle. The pre-production series was ready before the WWII, but the development was shelved and only military models (Kübelwagen and Schwimmwagen) were produced in the Kd F-Werke in the town of Stadt der Kd F-Wagens, near Fallersleben, Germany. After the war, Fallersleben belonged to the British sector of occupation, and the British then re-booted the design and eventual production of the car, now re-named Volkswagen (People's Car) to provide the locals jobs and income, and also to provide those German families who had saved for years for a new car, their car after a decade of wait. The British also renamed the town of Stadt der Kd F-Wagens as Wolfsburg after a nearby castle. Sufficient to say both went horribly right.
  • Nissan's GT-R has gone through this way as part of its Continuity Reboot: The first concept car was unveiled in 2001, but the rounder second concept was shown in 2005, two years before the production model went on sale in Japan.
  • Fiat (now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)note  at one time, teased the return of their Alfa Romeo brand to the United States and Canada by 2007. It returned in North America in 2008, after a 15-year absence from the market, by initially offering the limited production 8C Competizione sports car. Now Alfa Romeo sells the 4C, a small mid-engine sports car, the Giulia, a luxury sport sedan, and the Stelvio, a luxury compact crossover SUV, in both the United States and Canadian markets. What other models will come to North America remains to be seen, most likely to be an SUV slotting above the Stelvio and two sports cars, both of which resurrect the GTV and the 8C nameplates.
  • Prototypes of a mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette have been shown by General Motors since 1960 CERV 1 (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) which was designed to compete with Ford GT40. However both it and the later projects were always axed by GM since classic, front engined Vettes were selling like hotcakes and the prototypes were seen as needlessly complex and pushing Corvette from relatively affordable sportscar into supercar territory (1970s Aerovette prototype featured a 4 rotor Wankel engine, while 1990s CERV 3 had twin turbo V8, four wheel drive and four wheel steering). In 2010s the C7 generation received so much praise from performance enthusiasts, that Chevrolet finally saw an opportunity to market the next generation as a supercar, resulting in mid-engined C8 hitting the showrooms in 2020.

    Comic Books 
  • Paul Dini's Black Canary / Zatanna: Bloodspell graphic novel was first announced in 2006 and was finally released in 2014.
  • CAGE!, a comic book mini-series by Genndy Tartakovsky was originally announced in 2007. It didn't get released until 2016, nine years later.
  • Firefly — "A Shepherd's Tale". Announced in 2007, finally released in November 2010.
  • Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe, greenlighted by Jim Shooter in 1983 as a way to poke fun at recent leaks about upcoming shake-ups to the status quo of several Marvel books, was delayed several times, due to Shooter being so closely tied to the original concept for the book, people in Fred Hembeck's life passing away or having close calls with death as he was trying to write the original story (thus souring him on the idea of writing about humorous deaths for a while), editor Larry Hama letting it languish while Shooter was focusing on Secret Wars, worsening relations between Marvel and DC rendering the original Framing Device unusablenote , and Shooter's firing from Marvel rendering the revised framing storynote  unusable as well. When it was finally released in 1989, it had a much shorter framing story involving The Punisher and depicting Hembeck as a Fallen Creator whose career had been wrecked by the unpublished book.
  • Gemini Storm was created in 2008, but had massive delays since everyone on the project was new to ongoing comics and weren't used to deadlines, especially the colorist. Finally released in March 2010. And then the second issue was on hold until December 2010. According to the notes though, Wood has stopped inking the pages, which has sped up the process and the new colorists are much more reliable.
  • Ghost Rider vol. 2 (1990-1998) was discontinued after 93 issues, mostly because Marvel Comics was facing financial problems and was forced to cancel several of its ongoing series. A number of long-running plotlines and in-series mysteries were supposed to be resolved in issue #94, but that issue was not allowed to be published. After several years of inaction, Marvel published the missing issue as Ghost Rider Finale in 2007.
  • Grant Morrison's The Multiversity was notoriously in the works ever since the end of 52, scheduled for 2010, then 2012, then 2013, until finally being solicited in 2014.
  • Archaia Entertainment announced a prequel to Labyrinth, an origin story for Jareth the Goblin King, in early 2012. It was supposed to be in stores by year's end, and the one-shot story "Hoggle and the Worm" was published in the company's Free Comic Book Day compilation to hype it. Then the date was pushed back to April 2013...but at the end of February it was pushed back again and its Amazon preorder page was taken down entirely. The 2013 and 2014 Free Comic Book Day compilations each included an additional one-shot story, while the official explanation for the delay on the main book was that the company didn't want it to go out until it was perfect. It finally began release in 2018 as the 12-issue miniseries Labyrinth: Coronation.
  • NYX by Joe Quesada started out as a mini-series in 2003 but repeatedly faced delays in production and release of new issues. It went on hiatus following the 5th issue (September 2004) and was thought discontinued. The final two issues were published in September-October, 2005, completing at least the introduction of the main characters. Some unresolved subplots were covered in a sequel mini-series in 2008-2009.
  • The third mini-series of Phonogram, concentrating on Emily Aster and titled The Immaterial Girl, was teased by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie for years and initially scheduled to be released in 2012. Gillen's afterword to The Wicked + The Divine #5 strongly hinted that they'd given up on the story because they'd both changed too much over the years to want to write/draw in that world anymore. It finally got Saved from Development Hell in 2015, when its release was announced at the Image Expo, and it finally began in August of that year.
  • 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.
  • Sky Doll is a Franco-Italian sci-fi comic started in 2000, whose very complex art style needs long preparation time. Issue 3 came out in 2006, and after some (admittedly gorgeous) preparatory sketches from 2012 or so, issue 4 finally saw the light of the day in 2016, a full decade later.
  • Kevin Smith's Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do mini-series. A 6-issue mini-series started in 2002 but went into hiatus after the 3rd issue. Issues #4-6 were published in 2006.
  • 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.
  • Ultimate Hulk Versus Wolverine (Issue 3). Originally solicited for April 19th, 2006. Finally released in March 2009. Frankly, it's amazing Marvel finally remembered.
  • White Sand was languishing on Brandon Sanderson's shelf as a piece of literature for ten-odd years, always awaiting a rewrite, before Dynamite came along and asked if there's something Sanderson has that they could turn into a graphic novel.
  • Hound (2014): Since the 1990s, Paul J. Bolger tried multiple times to adapt the Irish myth of Cú Chulainn into a movie for over two decades to no avail. He eventually came back to comics—which he had first tried for the project—and created the graphic novel based on the screenplay he had written with Barry Devlin. Breakthru Productions in association with Cúchulainn Entertainment published it in three limited volumes between 2014 and 2018 before Dark Horse Comics reprinted it in a single volume in 2022.

    Comic Strips 
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn probably counts. Originally, Dana Simpson submitted a strip called Girl to Amazon's Comic Strip Superstar contest in 2009. Even though the strip won, Dana later admitted that the strip was bare-bones and needed further work; a runner-up strip was syndicated instead. On a whim, she added a unicorn in one strip, which she felt changed everything. After some back-and-forth between Simpson and the syndicate editors, Heavenly Nostrils debuted online in 2012. In 2015, the strip (re-titled to Phoebe and Her Unicorn since then) finally debuted in newspapers, nearly six years after the original contest.

    Fan Works 
  • Atelier Marie and Elie had various Fan Translation programs going on for both the original games and the PS2 compilation for well over a decade, before a French team finally delivered the game in English in March 2018, roughly 20 years after the games first hit shelves in Japan.
  • BioCraft: Chronicles, a spoof-style BIONICLE fan film made using Minecraft was set to come out at the end of 2011. After being scrapped and started over, it was put on indefinite hiatus in '14. The project and its status became a kind of running joke in the community, and after final release date of April 1, 2019, was announced, it surprised many when it did come out.
  • For a long time, Season 5 of Calvin & Hobbes: The Series updated bi-yearly, if at all, all throughout the serial "Nocturnals". Eventually, on September 1 2, 2013, garfieldodie uploaded Part 2 of Season 5 and revealed that it would update on a semi-regular basis and that the absence was caused by real life getting in the way.
  • The conclusion of the second "Starship Exeter" fan episode was originally promised to be released around Christmas 2007. For several years, there was no word on when or even if the final segment would be seen beyond "a few months from now" (though the person doing the editing released some screenshots on TrekBBS). The complete episode was finally released on YouTube in May 2014.
  • Aeon Genesis's Fan Translation of Ys V: Lost Sand City of Kefin was stuck in development hell for nearly a decade, but was finally completed in time for the release of Ys: Memories of Celceta, the remake of Ys IV.

    Films — Animated 
  • Alice in Wonderland (1951) spent almost 20 years in development hell. Walt Disney reportedly conceived of the idea of making his first animated feature film in 1932, and that film was supposed to be Alice. He purchased the rights to John Tenniel's illustrations of the story and even had an actress in mind to hire. But then he found out that Paramount was working on an Alice film and discontinued the project. Alice was replaced in the production schedule with a feature film about Snow White. Disney revived the Alice project in 1938 and discontinued it again in 1939, this time over concerns with the budget. Disney revived the Alice project again in 1945, but delays in the scriptwriting process, redesigns of the characters and animations, and the studio's focus on higher-priority films kept it unfinished until 1951.
  • The Astro Boy movie was rumored for the longest time before finally getting made, with one version being a live-action/CGI mix directed by Genndy Tartakovsky.
  • The Croods was in development for around a decade. It was originally set to be a Aardman Animations film animated in stop-motion and written by John Cleese titled "Crood Awakening" but it ended up falling through. When DreamWorks Animation broke off their deal with Aardman, they retained the rights and different directors tried working with it until it was given to Chris Sanders and gained its current form, released in 2013.
  • Delgo. Development was begun in 1999 by Marc Adler, who wanted to make a big-budget, computer-animated film independent of titans like Disney and DreamWorks. Alder and his small animation studio, Fathom Studios, spent $40 million making the film, cast the likes of Burt Reynolds, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Val Kilmer, and took so long to finish it that by the time it was released, two of the actors (Anne Bancroft and John Vernon) had been dead for three years. When they couldn't get any major studio interested in the film, Fathom instead had a distributor-for-hire give the film a wide release, which it received on December 12, 2008. It is now famous for having the worst opening weekend of any wide-release film ever until it was dethroned by The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure in 2012. The fact that the film itself is a Cliché Storm of epic proportions certainly didn't help.
  • Destino, the unlikely collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí, was first conceived back in 1946 but didn't reach screens until 57 years later. The home video release also counts; a Walt Disney Treasures set was announced for 2008 but dropped, the short and a making-of documentary eventually appearing as extras on the Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 Blu-ray release in 2010.
  • For a better part of the 1990s, Disney had been struggling to make Kingdom of the Sun, a typical animation renaissance-era musical based on The Prince and The Pauper, but after hitting numerous walls in story development, the creators scrapped 90% of what they had drastically re-tooled it into the comedy classic now known as The Emperor's New Groove.
  • In 2004, the CGI film Foodfight! was announced (it had been in development since the '90s, but production was halted in 2002 when the files containing the animation were stolen from a hard drive and the animators had to start over from scratch). Best described as "Toy Story in a supermarket", the film promised to bring together over 80 famous beloved advertising characters (the process of licensing that many food mascots took YEARS, and even then, they couldn't license all 80 they wanted, so the characters they couldn't license were replaced with rather unintelligent Expies) with voice talent including Charlie Sheen, Hilary and Haylie Duff, Wayne Brady, and Eva Longoria. The creators expected it to be a real commercial hit, merchandise for the movie started appearing on store shelves before the movie even had a release date... unfortunately the film ran into countless problems as detailed here, or perhaps in this New York Times article. After many years, a trailer was finally shown at AHM in 2011, and a company has the bought the DVD rights for this film in Europe, and a quiet American release though Video-On-Demand came in 2013, at which point it was quickly destroyed by internet critics.
  • Frozen: An animated Disney adaptation of The Snow Queen had been in development since the early 1940s when Walt Disney himself was interested in adapting it, before ultimately concluding that the story itself was too long and episodic to work as a straight adaption. He shelved the project with the intent of revisiting it later on but died before he had the chance. The concept was resurrected at Disney in the 1990s as a hand-drawn animated film but was again put on hold when the animators ran into the same story problems that Walt Disney did. They tried again in 2002... but then stopped again when Disney's management changed a couple of years later. After a few serious retoolings the film was officially greenlit again in 2011, and then finally released in 2013.
  • The Haunted World of El Superbeasto was supposed to come out in May 2007 but it was released only two years later when Rob Zombie completed his other commitments.
  • Since 2003, there had been talks of doing another Hey Arnold! film known tentatively as "The Jungle Movie" which would be the Grand Finale of the series. It would have had Arnold discovering what really happened to his parents and resolving things with Helga. After the box office failure of Hey Arnold! The Movie, this was put on the back burner. In 2016, it was announced that the movie will finally be made (as a Made-for-TV Movie) with Craig Bartlett at the helm and was released in 2017.
  • Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil was supposed to be released in January 2010. However, it was stuck in development hell.note  The creator himself wasn't sure when it was going to be released, if ever. It finally came out in April 2011. Bizarrely, this meant Hayden Panettiere had two movies Saved from Development Hell in 2011, as Fireflies in the Garden (filmed in 2008 and released in Europe) had a long wait before U.S. release due to mixed reactions in Europe and distributor difficulties (the original distributor Senator Entertainment went under); it was eventually released in October of that year.
  • Filmation started working on Journey Back to Oz around 1964, but due to the funding running out they were forced to put it aside, with the studio becoming busy producing Saturday Morning shows. Eventually, in the early 1970s, they finally received enough funds to finish the film. It premiered in 1974, a whole decade after it entered production.
  • The French animated film The King and the Mockingbird, which started production in 1948, and wasn't finished until 1980.
  • Lady and the Tramp (1955) spend more than a decade in development hell. The film concept was conceived by Disney story man Joe Grant in 1937. Grant used his own pet dog called "Lady" as an inspiration. Grant and several other Disney artists worked on various proposed scripts for the film for the rest of the 1930s and 1940s, but all versions were rejected by Walt Disney himself (who thought their stories lacked in action and their protagonist was too sweet). After 12 years of working on a never-finished script, Grant left the Disney studio in 1949. Other storymen continued where Grant left off, and the script was completed in 1953. The animation department worked on the film for two years (1953-1955), and production again faced unexpected delays. Among other things animator, Frank Thomas insisted that a romantic scene he put much effort in (with Lady and the Tramp eating spaghetti) had to be kept, and repeatedly argued with Walt Disney who wanted the scene cut. And the film's initial background artist Mary Blair quit early in production, in order to start a new career as a book illustrator. A replacement had to be found and backgrounds remade in a new style.
  • The Last Days of Coney Island from Ralph Bakshi was announced in 2005, but due to multiple distributors and production problems, it was eventually out in Development Hell. However, in 2013, Bakshi managed a successful Kickstarter for the film to be made as a short anthology film. It was eventually released to Vimeo on his 77th birthday on October 27th, 2015.
  • A Monsters, Inc. sequel had been conceived in the mid-2000s, as a direct-to-video release by Circle 7 Animation. Circle 7 closed down before they could even complete it (or any of their other Pixar sequels that were in production at that time), and so Michael Eisner concluded that all Pixar sequels should be handled by Pixar themselves. Then in the late 2000s, it was announced that Pixar would be making a Monsters Inc. sequel sometime in the near future, but they later changed their minds about making it a sequel and thought that it would be more interesting and entertaining to make it a prequel instead. Said prequel, Monsters University, was released in 2013.
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman was originally to be made by Universal Pictures for release in 2001 as a live-action/CGI combo film starring Rowan Atkinson.note  It was scrapped upon the failures of the film versions of fellow Jay Ward properties Dudley Do-Right and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, but it was revived by DreamWorks Animation as an all-animated film with a different plot, which was released in March 2014,note  becoming a modest success.note 
  • Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank was announced in 2015 for a 2017 release under the name Blazing Samurai. Sometime during that, its two animation studios, Mass Animation and Arc Productions, after Troubled Production were both shut down along with the film's main distributor Open Road. The movie was nowhere to be seen despite various companies announcing their work on it and actors stating it was still happening (with the film secured funding by 2020, with production completing in 2021) until Paramount (under the Paramount Animation brand before switching it last minute to Nickelodeon Movies) finally announced it as Paws of Fury. It finally released on July 15, 2022.
  • Shrek:
    • Puss in Boots was in development as early as 2004, and was initially slated for a Direct-to-DVD release in 2008. In 2006, however, the executives at DreamWorks thought that Puss deserved to be seen in theaters, therefore completely changing their plans. It was finally released in 2011.
    • Guillermo del Toro revealed that there were plans to create a sequel to Puss in Boots a year after the film was released, and Antonio Banderas claimed that work on the film had begun in 2014. The sequel did not start production proper until 2018, did not receive its final title (Puss in Boots: The Last Wish) until 2020, and to top it off, there was a director change in 2021. The film was eventually released in 2022.
  • Tangled was originally announced in 2006 as a CGI Fractured Fairytale named "Rapunzel Unbraided" about a girl and a pizza delivery boy who was transported into the world of Rapunzel, where the actual Rapunzel and her prince had been transformed into animals. This concept was abandoned rather quickly and it was turned into a more faithful adaptation. Originally it was meant to look like a watercolor painting, but pulling off such a look was too expensive and difficult at the time, thus it was swapped for a more traditional All-CGI Cartoon. The plot at this point was a Darker and Edgier Genre Throwback to early Disney Princess films starring Rapunzel alongside a Gentle Giant thief named Bastion. However, it was lightened up considerably when directors changed. Due to how tasking animating Rapunzel's hair was, and the multiple story changes, the movie didn't end up coming out until 2010. Take into account Walt Disney's own aborted attempts at adapting Rapunzel, and the road to the premiere seems even longer.
  • Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was announced in 2006, originally one of three films to kick off the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line alongside Superman: Doomsday and Justice League: The New Frontier but was postponed various times before being canceled, due to DC feeling that people wouldn't like that sort of story. However, after the success of Justice League vs. Teen Titans, the project was brought back, retooled to be part of the New 52-based DC Animated Movies Universe.
    • Another film part of the same line is a curious case where the initial attempts weren't meant to be animated films, but it's worth mentioning that there were a few attempts at adapting Batman: Year One into a film that never got off the ground, with Joel Schumacher writing a script with Frank Miller's help, only fort the studio to demand the former to make Batman Forever, and then another separate attempt by Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky that also never got made. Ultimately an animated film was made, and released in 2011, long after the previous attempts fell through.
  • One of the ultimate examples: in the '60s, Richard Williams began work on The Thief and the Cobbler, an Arabian nights-esque tale featuring a silent Buster Keaton style protagonist and a big name star in Vincent Price. The film languished in production for decades, with Williams steadfastly refusing to give up on it. In fact, pretty much every job he took in the interim was done purely for the money so he could continue working on his labor of love (which certainly explains the likes of Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure). By the time the film was finally released in a severely compromised form in 1995, the hero had several lines and Price had been dead for two years. Fortunately, there now exists a fan-created version of the film, which uses both footages from the compromised release as well as the animators' own rough animation tests to better suit the original vision of the story.
  • Marcell Jankovics's Animated Adaptation of the Hungarian play The Tragedy of Man had its script written way back in 1983, alongside a Bible series that was co-financed by an American backer. Said backer disappeared some years later, prompting the studio to greenlight The Tragedy of Man instead. Production began in '88, only for state funding to cease a year or two later. Jankovics and various animation teams kept working on the film for the following decades, trying to raise interest by screening completed scenes at festivals. With the help of an aborted gig at Disney (see Kingdom of the Sun above) and a GM advertising deal, the animation was finally done by 2009, though with many shortcuts like Limited Animation and an over-reliance on crossfaded still frames. The finished film, with updated vocal work, was released in late 2011.
    • The work that had gone into the unmade 80s Bible adaptation would also be partially salvaged and made into a 2015 illustrated book, alongside a 26 minute long cartoon episode, the only one to be completed.
  • UglyDolls was announced in 2011 as a planned film based on the toys of the same name for Illumination Entertainment. After nothing for four years, in 2015, it was announced as STX Entertainment's first animated movie, yet still kept dark. Later, in March 2017, Robert Rodriguez was announced as director for the film, only to later be replaced by Kelly Asbury. The movie eventually was solidified with an official May 2019 release date, eight years after its announcement.
  • Wreck-It Ralph. Disney came up with an idea for a movie about video games back in the late '80s, under the working title High Score. This incarnation of the movie never got off the ground. Then they revived the concept during the late '90s, this time under the title Joe Jump, but this one didn't get very far either. The concept was revived yet again in the mid-2000s as Reboot Ralph, and production finally started around 2010 or 2011, now with the title Wreck-It Ralph. The movie was slated for a March 2013 release, but due to the film being finished quicker than expected, it was moved to a November 2012 release (with the DVD and Blu-Ray coming in March, funnily enough), going on to be a critical and commercial success, while Pixar's Monsters University, which was slated for that time frame, was moved to Summer 2013.

  • ...And Ladies of the Club took Helen Santmyer fifty years to write.
  • Margaret Mitchell spent nearly ten years writing Gone with the Wind, and she had previously written several other hundred plus page stories which never made it to publication.
  • Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman is an unusual example in that it is not technically a sequel, but the original first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird itself, written back in the 1950s and gathering dust for six decades. Since the original eventually was reset to the 1930s after the idea of setting it in the then-contemporary '50s was scrapped, this now makes Go Set a Watchman a sequel.
  • Mark Danielewski spent ten years working on House of Leaves.
  • The third book in the Inheritance Cycle took around three years to finish. Then Christopher Paolini said the book was too long so he split it in two and still took more time before releasing it. In the acknowledgments for Brisingr, he thanked one person in particular for "giving me a much-needed kick-in-the-pants early on" and mentions that without which, he would probably still be working on the book.
  • Alex Gino started writing Melissa in 2003, but due to the Values Dissonance society had with LGBT+ children's books back then, it wasn't published until 2015.
  • Stephenie Meyer worked on Midnight Sun, a P.O.V. Sequel of Twilight in conjunction with the original tetralogy. However, when excerpts of it were leaked, she put the project on hold indefinitely, stating that she wanted to finish it "when everyone's forgotten about it". She fulfilled the promise: it got released in 2020, over a decade later and well after the Twilight fad had died down.
  • The manuscript to Olivia (1949) was written in 1934. Bussy put it on ice for 15 years after a friend found the story unappealing.
  • George R. R. Martin's esteemed series A Song of Ice and Fire did this with its fifth book. While writing the fourth novel in the series, Martin realized that the manuscript had gotten too large to publish (1600 pages, not even including the lengthy House indexes in the back), so it was decided to split it in half. The first half was published as the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, in 2005, with the second half titled A Dance with Dragons and set for release in 2006, since so much of it had (theoretically) already been written. But Martin took until April 2011, and it was rushed to store shelves three months later. Indeed, Martin's slowing pace was so precipitous that there was concern that the series would be overtaken by its TV adaptation Game of Thrones, to the point that Martin had to disclose several major plot points to the producers in case something happened to him before he could finish. A large reason he ever got the book out at all was the pressure to ensure that the show could keep going. His pace improved somewhat since then, but not enough to outpace the show, which aired its final season in 2019.note 
  • Lilith Saintcrow published one book of a planned Steelflower trilogy in 2007, but piracy of the ebook led her to cancel the other two. She changed her mind ten years later and published Steelflower at Sea in 2017 and Steelflower in Snow the year after.
  • It took Ricardo Pinto eight years to write the third book in The Stone Dance of the Chameleon trilogy, due to real life getting in the way. (His house burning down, for instance.) His British publisher picked up the book and reprinted the older two books, his American publisher did neither.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Silmarillion. J. R. R. Tolkien worked on it from WWI to his death - over fifty years! - and it was published posthumously by his son Christopher.
    • The Lord of the Rings could count as well. The skeleton of the story was ready already in 1936, but the book was published nearly twenty years later 1954-1955.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There was talk of a movie adaptation of 13 Reasons Why for years before it finally became a Netflix series. Selena Gomez was in talks to play Hannah when development first started in 2011, but by the time it actually entered production, she was way too old to play a high school student convincingly. She is a producer on the Netflix series, however.
  • All in the Family: Norman Lear bought the rights to adapt the Brit Com Till Death Us Do Part in 1966. It wouldn't be until 1968 when a pilot (titled Justice For All) was taped, but ABC dropped it after the Turn-On fiasconote . Another pilot was made the following year (Those Were the Days) but it went unnoticed. Then a final pilot was taped in 1970, CBS picked it up, and the show premiered in 1971.
  • The Aquabats! tried for most of the band's existence to get their own TV show. And boy, did they try. And every time they tried, something shot the show down before it could go to air. Once the network got new executives and canceled the previously-greenlit show. Once the network just stopped talking to them. Once, admittedly, they themselves hated one of the pilots they made. But they just kept trying. It took three pilots, a few networks, numerous network executives, and a different band lineup every time, but finally, after years and years of fighting, The Aquabats! Super Show! got its time on TV on The Hub in early 2012.
  • Blonde Charity Mafia, a docusoap about three charity organizers in Washington, D.C., was originally developed at Lifetime before ending up on The CW. It was originally scheduled to air in summer 2009, but delayed to early 2010 before being shelved. However, the full series aired on MTV channels in Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica was announced in 2007, in July 2008 it was picked up as a 2-hour pilot and in December of that year finally chosen to become a series. It wasn't until April 2009 that the pilot was released as a DVD and the series itself aired in January 2010.
  • A Cloak & Dagger (2018) series was announced alongside Jessica Jones (as well as unproduced Hulk and Mockingbird shows) back in 2011. Like the aforementioned series, it spent a significant time in Development Hell before it was officially picked up by Freeform in 2016, and began airing in 2018.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In 1989, the show was canceled pending a revamp...which was attempted in 1996, but rights issues and low US ratings of a TV movie (it was co-produced by Fox) pushed it right back into development hell until 2005.
    • The 7-year gap between the original show and the TV movie also ended up being a case of development hell. Actually, two cases; after the BBC cancelled the show, they were approached by a film company in the UK who wanted to do a theatrical feature, so when Philip Segal approached the BBC about restarting the show as a joint BBC/20th Century Fox venture, the BBC kept putting him off until it became clear that the film company they'd already given the go-ahead to never was going to produce the property. By the time Segal got the BBC on board, the people he'd dealt with at the Fox TV network were no longer there, and the new guys had no enthusiasm for the project, so he had to take it to the network's movie-of-the-week division (which operated separately from the series-production division) to get it made as a one-shot, in hopes of getting it picked up as a series if it did well enough. (Its failure to do so, on the other hand, was just a classic case of Screwed by the Network, when Fox decided to schedule it to air in the same time slot as the penultimate, and crucial to the plot, episode of Roseanne.)
    • The Fourth Doctor story "Shada" was originally going to air in 1980. Due to strike action preventing multiple studio recording sessions from happening, the story was put on the shelf, with the intention to complete and air it later on. With both Tom Baker and Lalla Ward leaving the show the following season, this became an impossibility, and the only footage from that story seen for over a decade was used as stock footage in "The Five Doctors". In 1992, the completed footage was released on VHS, with Tom Baker narrating the unfilmed parts in-character as the Doctor. In 2003, a modified version of the story was used as the basis of an audio drama starring the Eighth Doctor. In 2012, an official novelization of the script was released. Finally, the original story was completed as originally intended in 2017, thirty-seven years after the intended broadcast date, with the unfilmed parts animated and all the surviving actors reprising their roles.
  • New Line Cinema had spent $1.5 million dollars to develop a film Trilogy for Foundation in 1998. Their failure to complete the project lead to Peter Jackson's production of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2008, the company announced that Bob Shaye and Micheal Lynne would be co-producers. Columbia Pictures purchased the right to produce a movie from an auction in 2009, and contracted Roland Emmerich as director and co-producer. The other producer chosen at the time was Micheal Wimer. Two years later, Dante Harper was hired on to the project. After that lapsed, in 2014, HBO purchased the rights for a planned TV adaptation with Jonathan Nolan attached. In 2017, Skydance Television and David S. Goyer announced that they would develop a TV series based on Foundation. In 2018, the series was purchaced by Apple and will be released on their streaming service in September 2021, nearly a quarter century after the project was first proposed.
  • An adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire was first confirmed in January 2007, but was delayed a couple of times. HBO took its own sweet time to greenlight the project, then rejected the pilot because of poor test screenings, requiring a 90% reshoot. The actress who portrayed Daenerys Targaryen dropped out, requiring all of her scenes to be reshot with a new one. Game of Thrones wouldn't see airing until April 2011. Fortunately, it ended up being a hit, and then some.
  • The first script for a Good Omens screen adaptation was written in 1992, it was a movie, and nobody liked it. Terry and Neil were asked repeatedly over the next few years whether there'd ever be a movie. It finally came out in 2019, several years after Terry's death, as a very popular miniseries.
  • A live-action film or TV adaptation of the video game series Halo had been rumored since 2002 and was in various stages of development since then. Though two live-action webseries (Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and Halo: Nightfall) set in the Halo universe were released in 2012 and 2014 respectively, an official adaptation of the "main" story wouldn't come out until Paramount+ finally released their Halo TV show in 2022.
  • When the final season of How I Met Your Mother was airing at that time, CBS announced in the fall of 2013 that there will be a spinoff entitled How I Met Your Dad which would be aired in 2014. By that time, various news sites revealed the new characters unrelated to HIMYM cast and the new lead to be played by Greta Gerwig with Meg Ryan as the lead's voiceover and the pilot was already made. But after the mixed reception of the HIMYM finale, interest slowly dwindled, the pilot wasn't picked up by CBS, Carter Bays called it quits due to disagreements with CBS and the contracts of the actors expired at the end of the year. In December 2016, there was an attempt to produce the spinoff which is renamed How I Met Your Father with This Is Us producers, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. However after the success of This Is Us which promoted the two producers as co-showrunners, the spinoff is on hold again. In August 2017, there was another attempt to revive the spinoff with Alison Benett as the writer. Then on April 2021, Hulu ordered the series with Aptaker and Berger as the creators, writers, and executive producers along with the three original staff of How I Met Your Mother (original creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and producer Pamela Fryman) as executive producers. The spinoff was eventually released on January 18, 2022.
  • As early as 2011, Awkward Black Girl creator Issa Rae met with network executives to bring the web series to television. However, Rae faced Executive Meddling from the network execs, who wanted to Race Lift the main character to white. Eventually in 2013 it was announced that Issa Rae would be teaming up with Larry Wilmore to create a pilot for HBO and the show premiered in 2016 as Insecure.
  • Writer Melissa Rosenberg had been trying to pitch an adaptation of Alias (no relation to the ABC show) called A.K.A. Jessica Jones as far back as 2010, but had no luck. The project was finally revived by Netflix for a 2015 debut (with a slight name change) as part of its collaboration with the MCU.
  • K9 was first announced in 1997. It eventually premiered in the UK in 2009, airing its full season in Scandinavia in 2010.
  • Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures snapped up the rights to make a film of The Screaming Staircase, the first book of Lockwood & Co., before the novel was even published and become Illumination's very first live-action film. This did not end up happening. Meanwhile, Joe Cornish, who serves at the showrunner for the Lockwood & Co. (2023) TV series, was interested from the start, but got in too late. He waited patiently and ultimately snapped up the rights after they reverted back to Stroud, Illumination and Universal never getting anywhere with the project.
  • More specifically a DVD release of a classic TV show: The DVD box set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. lingered in Development Hell for years due, among other reasons, to these factors:
    1. There were legal issues surrounding the 3rd-season episode "The Pieces of Fate Affair", scripted by Harlan Ellison, who, in true Ellison fashion, had filled the script with Take Thats at numerous thinly disguised people. (This episode was notorious for many years as being one of the few episodes of the show that almost never got shown in syndication.)
    2. It was very difficult to find top-quality masters of many of the first-season episodes; for quite some time, in fact, it was feared that they had been lost.
    3. There were disputes over who was entitled to release the show on DVD.
    • Eventually, however, the arguments and legal disputes were settled, masters were found, and Warner Brothers, which owns the copyright on the series, finally put the DVD boxset of the series out, first as a limited release through Time-Life Video in late 2007, and then under its own imprint the following year. It all ended happily; the boxset was received with delight by fans and, for the most part, highly positive reviews by critics.
  • Before its cancellation, the second season of Blade: The Series was going to introduce Moon Knight in order to set up a Spin-Off. In 2006, it was announced that Marvel was developing a solo Moon Knight TV series, but other than writer Jon Cooksey being brought onboard to develop the show in 2008, nothing more was ever heard about it. Then, in 2019, a Moon Knight (2022) series was officially ordered for the Disney+ streaming service, with Oscar Isaac later signing on to star as the title character.
  • A live-action adaptation of Nancy Drew had been swirling for more than a decade, dating back to the early 2000s and involving multiple different networks. Each one passed on and the project was reworked numerous times, before The CW finally gave it a series order in 2019.
  • The British miniseries Our Friends in the North was based on a play Peter Flannery wrote in 1979. Plans to adapt it for television in the 1980s were stalled for legal reasons, due to at least two characters being based on real people. It finally made it to screens in 1996, by which point a lot more history happened, thus causing the story, (which originally ended with Margaret Thatcher being elected Prime Minister) to be expanded to the (then) present.
  • The Room (2003) director Tommy Wiseau shot a pilot for a new TV series called The Neighbors in 2007. Wiseau spent several years pitching the show to various networks until it finally premiered on Hulu in March 2015.
  • The unaired episode of Not the Nine O'Clock News available on YouTube was not a pilot, but instead the first episode of a regular series. The show was shelved because of the 1979 general election, and only premiered after the political content was greatly toned down.
  • Odd Squad:
    • The show itself was in development for at least two years, since 2012, before officially being announced at the 2014 PBS Annual Meeting and premiering in November of that year.
    • The Odd Squadcast, a Podcast based on the show, was first announced in January 2020 alongside a new season of the show (which would premiere a month later). It was initially slated for a release sometime in the summer, but was pushed back to November 25, 2020, likely due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the second season of OddTube premiered in the summer instead. It was then pushed back further to December 2, 2020, where it finally premiered.
  • Haim Saban started trying to get a network to pick up an Americanized version of Super Sentai in 1986 (making a pilot based on Choudenshi Bioman), but no one had faith in the idea. He finally got his lucky break in 1993 (changing the footage source to Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger), as the then president of Fox Kids had previously had tried to do the same thing before but failed. Thus Power Rangers was created, and the rest is history.
  • An adaptation of Preacher has been talked about for as long as the comic book existed. It first started as a version of the "Gone to Texas" story arc with Rachel Talalay directing, but it was canned due to budget issues and the dark subject matter. Then it was going to be on HBO with Mark Steven Johnson wanting to do every episode issue by issue, but again the dark subject matter got it canned. Then Sam Mendes was attached to do it, before the rights we’re sold to AMC in 2013. The pilot episode was finally filmed in May 2015, with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg directing and Dominic Cooper starring. It debuted summer 2016.
  • Between 1996 and 2002, several pilots were shot for a revival of Pyramid. The show eventually built up a two-season revival with Donny Osmond as host, although this individual version didn't seem to have its own pilot. After that, several more pilots were shot over the next decade — one was almost picked up by CBS (The $1,000,000 Pyramid) but axed. Finally, the show got greenlit for GSN to start in September 2012 as just The Pyramid, but fizzled out only a couple months later. Then over the summer of 2016, ABC decided to pick up a primetime version as The $100,000 Pyramid as a companion to Celebrity Family Feud and its revival of Match Game; this version was better-received than the GSN run, and was renewed for a second season.
  • A Live-Action Adaptation of Archie Comics was announced around 2013 but no news was given until 2015. The casting was finally specified in 2016, when it was revealed to be the Darker and Edgier Riverdale.
  • A live-action adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman languished in development for over two decades. Every attempt at a film adaptation was stymied by Executive Meddling, and Eric Heisserer (who at one time was attached to write) stated his belief that it would be a better fit to adapt the comics for TV. Netflix eventually greenlit an adaptation in 2019, which finally saw release in 2022.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager was shopped around from network to network for about ten years before getting picked up by ABC Family in 2008.
  • Squid Game creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk made the first draft for the show as early as 2008. However, his pitch had been rejected countless times for being "too grotesque and too unrealistic", and he believes that classist issues becoming more forefront as time went on is what eventually led to Netflix greenlighting the show in 2019, with the final product eventually releasing in 2021 to massive success. Prior to the show being picked up, Hwang had been a Starving Artist and at one point had to sell his $675 laptop to make ends meet.
  • In 2014, TNT ordered a pilot for a live-action Teen Titans series called either Titans or Blackbirds, with a script by Akiva Goldsman. The series would focus on Dick Grayson as he moved out of Batman's shadow and became Nightwing, with the show's team of Titans including Starfire, Raven, Oracle, and Hawk and Dove. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the project, but the network eventually stated that the series had been put on hold over issues with the script and worries about the over saturation of the superhero genre. However, it was later announced that the project had been picked up and would begin filming on Fall 2017 with Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti onboard as executive producers. Titans was ultimately released on DC Universe in 2018, before moving to HBO Max beginning in Season 3.
  • The U.S. version of Top Gear went through three different pilots before finally being picked up. It lasted 6 seasons.
  • Terry Pratchett started talking about a TV series based on the Discworld City Watch subseries in 2011. The Watch (2021) came out ten years later, and six years after his death, although it was very much not the show he'd intended.
  • The Wiz almost received a TV special adaptation in 1998, courtesy of the producers and director of Cinderella (1997). However, rights issues with Universal, the studio that distributed the movie version of The Wiz, prevented Disney from getting very far with their take. After the Cinderella producers started airing musicals on NBC, they finally got to release a TV special of The Wiz in 2015 - albeit with a different cast and crew than they had originally lined up for Disney.

  • Wildflower, the follow up to Australian plunderphonics collective The Avalanches' debut album Since I Left You, was released in July 2016, nearly sixteen years after their critically lauded debut. Every so often, a member of the band claimed it was done and they were just clearing the samples (this being important, since they're a plunderphonics group that means almost all of their music is samples), but then nothing was heard for a few years. Up to the release of Wildflower, the group even lampshaded the album's perpetual development with a trailer for a (pseudo) documentary entitled Since They Left Us that featured several artists that would end up being featured on Wildflower, including Danny Brown, Ariel Pink, and Father John Misty. Fans and critics generally agree that Wildflower was worth the wait.
  • The Beach Boys' Smile served as an Ur-Example for the concept of 'musical development hell'; created as a follow-up to Pet Sounds and intended to release in 1967, the project was aborted when band leader Brian Wilson suffered a Creator Breakdown of epic proportions and sank into a fog of mental illness for years. Wilson eventually re-recorded and released it in 2004, 37 years later, as a solo project. Later, a persistent rumor that Wilson deleted the original masters during his breakdown was debunked when The Smile Sessions finally came out on November 1, 2011. A recreation of Smile using all the material recorded back in the '60s, it was released in many formats, including a two disc set and a five disc box set, among other things. The box set features over five hours of session material, most of which was previously unreleased.
  • The Beatles on iTunes.
    • It was supposed to happen at the end of 2008, but it just fell through. Trying to compensate for the inability of Apple Corps (the Fab Four's recording company) to make a deal with Apple, Inc. (the iTunes computer company), the former made a limited release of the entire discography on MP3. It finally happened in November 2010, a year after a deal had supposedly finally been made.
      • The long-standing animosity between the similarly named companies — Apple Corps sued Apple, Inc. several times between 1978 and 2006 over trademark issues — was most likely a contributing factor in the delay. The two sides reached a final settlement in 2007.
    • Let It Be was supposed to have been an early 1969 "back to basics" album called Get Back (and accompanying "making of" film), with an album cover in which the 1969 Beatles recreated their Please Please Me album cover in the original setting. With the Troubled Production and band squabbles delaying the album, the cover was scrapped (it was used later in 1973 on the compilation 1967–1970) and the album abandoned while the band recorded Abbey Road. With production work (and overdubbed orchestral accompaniment of several songs) by Phil Spector it was finally released a month after the band broke up under the new name.
  • Big Boi's solo debut, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. He originally released a single with Andre 3000 to promote it in 2008... then the label got involved. Unlike Lil Jon, though, Big Boi was able to take his previously recorded material to another company and get the album a 2010 release: fans agree it was worth the wait.
  • The Big Star tribute album Big Star, Small World was completed and scheduled for a Spring 1998 release by Ignition Records. Ignition went under before it could be released though, and the compilation didn't see the light of day until 2006, when Koch Records bought the rights. As a result, the album ended up an Unintentional Period Piece of sorts: Most of the contributing artists were at their height of popularity in the mid-nineties, and three bands who appeared on the album were long broken up when it came out note , while two others had managed to break up and reunite note  during the eight-year interim. At the time one of the big draws was to be a new song from Big Star themselves, but the song in question, "Hot Thing", showed up on the compilation Big Star Story to generally lackluster reception.
  • Big Star's album Third/Sister Lovers was released three years after they broke up.
  • Chicago's Stone of Sisyphus was originally slated to be Chicago XXII in 1994, but Reprise rejected the album. They responded by leaving the label and making a big band-styled album as their 22nd. Stone would eventually be released in 2008 as Chicago XXXII on another label (Rhino) mostly intact.
  • Corelia's second album, New Wilderness, spent five years in development. For about four of those years, the band was completely silent. Since the album was crowdfunded via Indiegogo, where it raised over $30,000, this led some of their fans to question whether or not the album was even being made, or if it was all just a scam. The silence was finally broken in April 2020, when the band was forced to address the issue of an unrelated producer impersonating a member of the band and claiming that he would be releasing the album soon. In response, the real band members issued an apology, explaining that the album had been worked on, but mental health issues and the departure of one of their members resulted in its release being massively delayed. Finally, in May of the same year, their album New Wilderness was released, albeit in a rough, unmixed state.
  • Daniel Amos finished recording their third album Horrendous Disc in 1978. Many factors—two record label changes, mistakes in the initial pressing of the album, and some other behind-the-scenes shenanigans that, to this day, no one really understands—conspired to delay its release. It didn't hit shelves until 1981... one week before Daniel Amos' fourth album came out.
  • While David Bowie's 1987 album Never Let Me Down was put out and released on-schedule, the Creator Backlash-induced George Lucas Altered Version Never Let Me Down 2018 took over 30 years to get off the ground. Bowie first proposed a do-over of the album shortly after its release, only for Reeves Gabrels to talk him out of it on the grounds that it was too soon to do so. Bowie next brought it up shortly before starting work on Earthling, but this also fell through. Finally, Bowie managed to recruit a team of session musicians to record new backing parts for the album, based on a 2008 remix of "Time Will Crawl" that he had approved of. While Bowie died before recording sessions for Never Let Me Down 2018 began, it eventually saw release two years later on the Boxed Set Loving the Alien (1983-1988).
  • Decrepit Birth released Polarity in 2010, but it took seven years for Axis Mundi to follow. Why? It was a mix of things. Matt Sotelo had to focus on his family, numerous lineup changes occurred (Dan Eggers and Joel Horner left basically right after Polarity was released, they had a revolving door of bassists that only finally ended after Sean Martinez left Rings of Saturn, and Chase Fraser was fired in 2014 after a lengthy history of being a dick), Samus Paulicelli went back to school and moved to Canada, the actual writing process was rather slow (and didn't even really begin until 2013) and involved at least one massive overhaul of the material after Samus told Matt that he didn't think it was up to par, the recording process was similarly drawn-out, and, once the album was actually done, the label sat on it for months before giving them a release date. While it wasn't quite up to Necrophagist levels, people had given up hope that there actually would be a fourth album for a while.
  • Hysteria by Def Leppard. Production for the followup to 1983's Pyromania was to begin in 1984, but their producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange was busy producing The Cars' Heartbeat City album, so Leppard worked with Jim Steinman, the composer of Meat Loaf's classic albums. Unfortunately, Steinman's method of producing was far looser than Lange's style. On top of that, on New Year's Eve 1985, their drummer Rick Allen lost an arm in a car accident. An undaunted Allen was determined to re-learn how to play the drums, using his one remaining arm and his feet. The rest of the band supported Allen fully and tried to boost his confidence (and their own) by having a special electronic drum kit made for him and scheduling a number of comeback concerts. Def Leppard reconvened with Mutt Lange in 1986, and were subject to his usual meticulous taskmaster production style, finally releasing Hysteria in late 1987.
  • Deltron 3030's (Del the Funky Homosapien, Kid Koala and Dan the Automator, all contributors to the Gorillaz) second album was announced around 2006, and Automator started working on instrumentals as early as 2004. The album, titled Event 2, officially saw release in 2013 - seven years after being announced, and a full thirteen years after their first, Self-Titled Album.
  • After 1997's Medazzaland, Duran Duran began work in earnest on their next album. In the meantime, Blondie reunited and Nick Rhodes and Warren Cuccurullo were assigned the task of writing some songs for their upcoming album. These songs were never used for some reason and the Blondie reunion album, 1999's No Exit, included only Blondie's songs. Nick and Warren decided to use them for the upcoming Duran Duran album instead. Another complicating factor was the fact that EMI (Duran Duran's record company) dropped them from the label and the band had to find a new record company. Finally in 2000, Pop Trash, whose title is taken from one of the album's songs that were originally written for Blondie ("Pop Trash Movie"), was released on the Disney-owned Hollywood Records.
  • Dystopia had released two full-length albums (Human = Garbage and The Aftermath) based off tracks from various splits they did with other bands, but their first full album with new material had been in the working process for many years. Tracks were recorded in 2004, but due to label issues they didn't get released at the time. It wasn't until 2008, nine years after The Aftermath and several years after the band broke up, that Dystopia was finally released.
  • Flavor Flav's solo album, Lifestyles of the Rich And Flavor, had been touted (mostly by Flav himself) since the mid-90s. It finally saw release (sort of) as Flavor Flav in 2006. Most rap fans are completely unaware of the album's existence.
  • Forest For The Trees' self-titled (and so far only) album was being worked on as early as 1993, but didn't see release until 1997 — chief member Carl Stephenson suffered a nervous breakdown that prevented him from working on the album for years. Beck appeared on a couple of songs, and his vocal ad-libs at the end of "Infinite Cow" are the biggest audible hint of how long the album had been gestating — due to Beck's Vocal Evolution it's easy to surmise that his contributions were most likely recorded around 1993. Also, Carl had coined the term "trip hop" to describe the album's psychedelic hip hop sound, and the phrase appeared in the lyrics to the songs "Dream" and "Paint". By the time the album came out, Trip Hop was more widely known as a totally different genre. Reportedly, an unnamed second album was completed but remains on The Shelf of Album Languishment — the label it was recorded for, DreamWorks Records, technically no longer exists.
  • The Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy was a famous example, being released in 2008, after 14 years in development (one of the signs it would come out was the song "Shackler's Revenge" being featured in Rock Band 2, about two months before the album itself was released), subverting the long-standing joke that China itself would become democratic before Chinese Democracy was released. And yes, it's Banned in China. Showing that Tropes Are Not Bad, the album received mixed but generally positive reviews.
  • La Toya Jackson's Startin' Over began its production on November 2001, and had some singles released, but ultimately never saw a physical release. It ended up being released in June 2011 as a digital-only EP, with the slightly modified title of Starting Over.
  • Lupe Fiasco's third album, Lasers, was shelved in 2008 by his label because they thought it wasn't "pop" enough. A combination of Lupe caving to pressure and rewriting some songs (something he has said will forever taint his own opinion of the album) and general fan outrage led to the album finally being released in 2011.
  • Massive Attack's next album. For a while, at the end of 2006, it had a confirmed release date, which was spring 2007, but it did not come out. Since then, it has no release date at all, the band even dropped the title, Weather Underground. Ultimately it took until February 2010 for the album, which was retitled Heligoland, to come out.
  • Although Meat Loaf has been fairly prolific over his nearly 40-year career, the Bat Out of Hell series of albums are notorious for their stints in Development Hell. The first, released in 1977, is still considered one of the greatest albums of all time. Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell wasn't released until 1992, however, due to ongoing conflicts between Meat Loaf and songwriter/producer Jim Steinman. And finally, after an almost as long gap, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose was released in 2006, which ran into problems including Meat Loaf and Steinman fighting over who owns the rights to the title "Bat Out of Hell" (they were ultimately awarded to Meat Loaf) and only half of the tracks being written by Steinman, and those tracks not being original works, but rather recycled from his work with other musicians and solo projects. When asked to comment on his relationship with Steinman, Meat Loaf once said "Jim and I love each other. We're best friends. It's just our managers and lawyers that can't stand each other, and they're the ones that keep starting all this shit."
  • Static Age was technically the first album by The Misfits, recorded in 1978, but was their fourth studio album to be released. This is largely in part due being unable to find a label interested in releasing it, followed by their guitarist and drummer quitting after an early tour, leading chief songwriter Glenn Danzig to write new material for the newer members. Many of the tracks were released on compilations of rarities, such as 1985's Legacy of Brutality, but it took until 1997 for the album to be heard in its full, original form.
  • Mission of Burma released the EP Signals, Calls and Marches in 1981 and the studio album Vs. in 1982. Then singer Roger Miller lost his hearing. Sophomore effort ONoffON appeared in 2004.
  • My Bloody Valentine fans spent twenty-two years wishing for a follow-up to Loveless to be released, being tantalised for much of that time by the knowledge that Kevin Shields was in fact working on a new album, but it was in Development Hell. They finally got their wish on February 2, 2013, when the band's third full-length album, mbv, was released.
  • Slightly odd example as it didn't involve newly recorded material: Neil Young's Archives self-curated best-of compilation. First discussed in the late 1980s, and announced several times since. There were rumors that Young had convinced himself that actually releasing them would send him into a terminal writer's block. First massive installment finally came out in 2009.
  • Nelly's album Brass Knuckles, which was intended to be released in 2006, spent two years in delays due to having a large number of producers having different ideas on how to produce the record. The final album, with many guests and credited writers and producers, was released in 2008 to negative reviews and very weak sales (selling only 1/24th of what Nelly's previous album, the double album Sweat/Suit sold). Nelly hasn't recovered from its failure.
  • Most of Northward was written all the way back in 2008 following a propitious jam session between then-After Forever singer Floor Jansen and Pagan's Mind guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad at ProgPower USA in '07. They planned to record while AF was on what was supposed to just be a hiatus due to guitarist Sander Gommans suffering a burnout. Then AF broke up altogether, which scuttled the recording deal with their label. This led Floor Jansen to form ReVamp as her new full-time band, putting Northward on hold again. Then she went through a burnout herself in 2011, after which she was called in to replace Anette Olzon in Nightwish on very short notice (the band later released a documentary about it called Please Learn the Setlist in 48 Hours). Nightwish finally took a year off in 2017, during which Floor and her husband Hannes Van Dahl had a daughter and only then managed to block out time with Lofstad to record Northward. It finally came out, to rave reviews, on 19 October 2018, ten years after it had originally been envisioned.
  • Obituary's ninth album landed in Development Hell for a couple years after the band was booted from Candlelight Records and couldn't find a new label. They eventually resorted to Kickstarter to raise funds for an independent release, which went better than they expected - the minimum level for the album's recording and release was $10,000, with $20,000 enabling the filming of a series of documentary-style short films during the recording sessions at Morrisound Studios. They got $60,000 by the time the campaign closed, and the publicity later got them a distribution deal with Relapse Records for the album, named Inked in Blood and released in 2014, about two years after the original projected date.
  • Ohgr (Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy)'s Welt album was originally recorded in 1995, but got stuck in legal limbo until 2001.
  • Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark's 11th studio album was announced in late 2002 and finally released, after several release dates were announced and retracted, in late 2010, under the title History of Modern. Since Paul Humphreys rejoined the band during that time, a whole new album was recorded with him, and only one of the songs was retained (in re-recorded form). So technically the album that was announced in 2002 is still unreleased.
  • Paul Pena recorded his second album New Train in 1973, but it got caught in a tug-of-war between his management and his label and never got released. Oddly enough, Pena still made a fair amount of money from the project when Steve Miller had a huge hit covering one of the album's songs, "Jet Airliner". (Miller heard the song because his associate Ben Sidran produced the album and gave him a tape of it.) After 27 years, a deal was finally worked out and New Train was released in 2000.
  • Peter Gabriel was working on the album Up for about 7 years— he started working on it in 1995, it was supposed to be "near completion" in 1998, and yet it took four more years to finally see release. Then there's the debut album by the side project Big Blue Ball, which was in production for eighteen years. His album I/O started development at the same time as Up, yet languished in Development Hell itself until its release in late 2023, after almost three decades.
  • Simple Minds' Our Secrets Are the Same was recorded and intended for release in 1999. However it wasn't released that year because of a number of record company mergers, followed by their record company deciding they couldn't do anything with it and releasing the band from their contract in 2000. However, during this time an unmastered promo CD-R arrived in the hands of a Spanish radio host who proceeded to play all the tracks from the album over a few weeks. Fans recorded these and these recordings were subsequently bootlegged. Because of the bootlegs, an attempt to release the album in early 2003 fell through as it was considered unmarketable on its own. Eventually it was released officially as the last disc of the Boxed Set Silver Box in late 2003.
  • Tears for Fears:
    • The Tipping Point was initially announced in 2013, and after numerous delays and re-recordings, it was planned for release in 2017, with two songs being included on the Greatest Hits Album Rule the World that year to drum up publicity. However, Curt Smith's dissatisfaction with the product nearly drove him out of the band again, having previously left from 1991 to 2000 due to Creative Differences with Roland Orzabal. Combined with the death of Orzabal's wife, this led to the album being completely rewritten and re-recorded from the ground up (barring the closing track, previously one of the two teaser songs on Rule the World). Eventually, the album was completed in a way that both Orzabal and Smith liked, finally seeing release in February 2022.
    • The protracted development of The Tipping Point had the knock-on effect of delaying the completed Super Deluxe Edition for The Seeds of Love, which was initially planned as a 25 year anniversary edition. It eventually came out in 2020, just barely missing the 30th anniversary mark. Appropriately, the original release of The Seeds Of Love was originally announced in 1986, but due to the group deciding to completely change their production style, it took until 1989 to come out.
  • Uncle Kracker's Happy Hour album spent nearly five years in development hell before it was finally released in 2009.
  • Shortly after releasing Tommy, The Who began working on an epic followup to be entitled Lifehouse, which would have been accompanied by a film and a series of experimental concerts involving using the vital statistics of audience members to produce synthesizer tracks. The project fell apart and most of the songs were released on the Who's Next and Who Are You albums. Pete Townshend ultimately released Lifehouse in 2000 as a six-disc solo album and a radio play for the BBC, and the synthesizer concept found its way onto the web in 2007.
    • The album that became The Who's Endless Wire was announced in 1999 and hit the shelves in 2006, its release having been delayed by touring, Townshend's putting the finishing touches on Lifehouse, and the death of John Entwistle. Two "preview" tracks were released on a compilation album in 2003 - neither made it onto the final album.
  • Wintersun's second album, Time.
    • The first half of the album spent multiple years in development that left an eight-year gap since the Self-Titled Album. The album was originally announced in 2006, but didn't see the light of day until 2012.
    • Time II was talked about after the release of part 1, and then nothing happened, with the band ultimately releasing the Nature Metal Concept Album The Forest Seasons in 2017 instead. In February 2023 the band stated in a Facebook post that they had moved on to other projects and Time II was no longer in active development. However, the announcement and the subsequent single "Warning" were met with derision from fans on social media (compounded by the fact the band had earlier crowdfunded a new recording studio, leading to some fraud accusations), which evidently was the kick in the pants that principal songwriter Jari Mäenpää needed: the band announced in January 2024 that they had finally finished the album after a Sequel Gap of twelve years.
  • Recording for Yes's Big Generator album began in 1985, with former vocalist Trevor Horn producing (having previously produced the band's comeback album 90125). Due to Creative Differences between Horn and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist/co-writer Trevor Rabin, work resumed on the album with Rabin as producer until its release in 1987.
  • The follow up to Slaughter to Prevail's 2017 album Misery Sermon was stuck in the oven for quite some time due to various issues. They started work on the album sometime during 2017-18 but due to heavy touring it got put on the back burner. The decentralized nature of the band (Alex, Evgeny, and Mike are in Russia and Jack Simmons is in Britain) made it hard to get everyone on the same page. They did release two new singles ("Agony" in 2019 and "Demolisher" in 2020) and had other songs in the works, but Sumerian thought that the band wasn't writing their best material. After sorting out their issues with Sumerian, COVID-19 hit, making it hard to hit the studio (and in general slowing down music releases). According to drummer Evgeny, the instrumentals were all done as of September 2020, so the new album just needed mixing/mastering before it drops. KOSTOLOM finally saw the light of day in August 2021.

  • Capcom's Big Bang Bar got players buzzing with excitement as soon as the first machines hit test locations, with many calling it a Breakthrough Hit. Unfortunately, Capcom closed their pinball division before full manufacturing could begin, leaving only 14 prototypes. Fortunately, Gene Cunningham of Illinois Pinball Inc. bought the rights from Capcom, and eventually released a "remake" in 2006 of 191 tables.

  • Work on a sequel to Annie, called Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge, started in 1989. After a disastrous out-of-town tryout, two name changes, several rewrites, and going through three different actresses for Annie, it opened off-Broadway as Annie Warbucks in 1993.
  • The Broadway revival of Godspell was scheduled to open at the end of 2008; it lost a producer and thus didn't open until the fall of 2011.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber announced plans for a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera in the late 1990s; Love Never Dies didn't open until 2010.
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark may be the ultimate theater example. After being batted around since 2007, it was finally supposed to open in February 2010. As of November 2010, it has had precisely one preview (in which the technical difficulties that had caused the production to be so delayed in the first place still occurred and delayed the performance by over thirty minutes at one point). It has an announced opening on March 2011, which the producers said was "the final postponement". Nobody bought it, and was postponed for summer. Considering how the first reviews went, well...The show finally opened in June 2011, after some major rewriting of the story, and ran until January 2014.
  • The original 1927 production of Strike Up the Band closed during its Philadelphia tryout, inspiring its librettist George S. Kaufman's famous quip that "satire is what closes on Saturday night." The producer revived the musical three years later to considerably more success with a reworked score and a revised book by Morrie Ryskind that changed the Pretext for War from Swiss cheese to Swiss chocolate and substituted an All Just a Dream happy ending for the original's Here We Go Again!.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Krosmaster had a few ones:
    • The original concept for the first Duel Pack was Missiz Freez versus Merkator. The former was replaced with Captain Amakna in the final release, but the instruction booklet found in the box still had a picture of Missiz Freez's datacard. She finally came out as part of Series 5, with a fully reworked stat card.
    • The earliest prototype for the game was promoted by the French-only Wakfu Mag magazine with the release of two promotional miniatures as a freebie with the magazine, Remington Smisse and Maskemane. While the former was released in the first wave of miniatures, the latter's mold was released, but recolored as a generic Masqueraider. It took 4 years for Maskemane to finally get his own miniature as part of a special pack themed around the Wakfu OVAs.
    • A Chafer King miniature was presented in the first teasers for Series 4 but was not featured in the final release. He was finally released as part of the Krosmaster Blast spinoff game.
    • While only two Duel Packs were released, two more were planned but never released: Duel Pack 3 was going to feature Anathar and Justice Knight, while Duel Pack 4 would have presented Adult Ogrest and the God reincarnation form of Tristepin from the Wakfu OVAs. The four miniatures were finally released as stretch goal additions for the Krosmaster Blast Kickstarter campaign.
  • The Warriors of Chaos army book from the 7th edition of Warhammer was released in late 2008 and featured images of a new model for the Daemon Prince. The model itself was released only in August 2010, with a White Dwarf article explaining that they wanted to release it as part of a wave of new Chaos Daemons models and so it was postponed until more new models for that range were ready.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Ark Encounter, a $149.5 million park sponsored by the Christian creationist organization Answers in Genesis, was drowning in controversy and development hell. Its centerpiece is a full-size replica of Noah's Ark, while later phases called for the addition of models of the Tower of Babel and a first-century middle-eastern village, an aviary, and a motion theater. Announced in 2010 with construction scheduled to start in 2011 and an opening date of 2014, despite funding issues (the project had to be scaled down to $70 million), it was still heavily hyped and promoted by AiG since the announcement. Construction didn't break ground until August 2014 when earth-moving machines arrived to begin excavating what will be the parking lot, even though in November 2014 they claimed to be still $15 million short of funding.

    Not helping matters was a controversy over AiG's hiring policy, which requires employees to sign a statement of faith signifying their agreement with its strict Young Earth creationism views. Americans United tipped off the government of Kentucky under the implication that it could apply to the park itself as well. In turn, they refused to grant the park over $15 million in tax incentives. However, AiG sued, citing religious discrimination and First Amendment violations. The district court ruled in favor of AiG, allowing the park to become eligible for the incentives. The first stage of the park officially opened on July 7, 2016.
  • Disney Theme Parks:
    • The Haunted Mansion at Disney Theme Parks was delayed several times, due to the sheer number of unused ideas that were thought up. The facade was completed in 1963, but it didn't actually open until 1969. The ride itself has an example of it. In the beginning, one of the planned characters/gags in the ride was going to be the "Hatbox Ghost", the groom to the Attic's bride, whose head would disappear from his shoulders and reappear in his hatbox in time with the bride's heartbeat. The figure was produced, and the lighting implemented to create the disappearing trick, but the figure was taken out very shortly thereafter once it was clear that the distance between the riders and the figure was too short to allow the effect to work. Because it was taken out so early and so few people had seen it, the Hatbox Ghost achieved legendary status within the fanbase. His presence endured in the franchise, and in 2015, with decades of technological advancement, the Hatbox Ghost was made again with a more complex digitally-aided head-transfer effect and more animation, finally placing him in the ride like he was always supposed to be.
    • A ride based on The Little Mermaid (1989) began planning in the early 1990s. The plans went on hold due to the sluggish business of EuroDisney. During the following decade, a project to renovate California Adventure prompted production on a Little Mermaid ride to resume. It finally opened in the summer of 2011.

  • Rumors of a new American Girl doll, Rebecca, began to surface in the adult collector community as far back as 1998 when Mattel trademarked the name of the character. Eventually, details leaked that she'd be the first Jewish history, and after that, she seemed abandoned, with dolls such as Native American Kaya and '70s girl Julie (and the entire Best Friends line) appearing instead. Rumors of prototypes of Rebecca being seen by company insiders floated the entire time, with various descriptions given of her appearance, but most of the collecting world has given her up as an idea dumped on the drawing room floor. Following the retirement of Samantha in 2008, American Girl finally confirmed they were producing Rebecca, who was released in May of '09.
  • Marvel Legends:
    • Each figure in the Onslaught wave by ToyBiz was originally supposed to include a henchman character as a special bonus, such as a HYDRA agent, a Doombot, a Hand ninja, a Hellfire Club guard, and so on. Rising production costs forced ToyBiz to abandon the bonus figure idea, but the Skrull soldier and Brood drone designed for the wave were later released as part of Diamond's Marvel Select line.
    • In 2013, Hasbro showed off promotional photos for a Mandarin figure that was intended to be part of the Iron Man 3 wave. Despite a prototype being shown off at conventions, the figure wouldn't be released until 2018, when it was included as part of a box set celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    Visual Novels 
  • Type-Moon announced in 2008 that Tsukihime (2000) would be remade, with updated art, character designs and other details. Very little happened for the next half-decade, and then Fate/Grand Order seemed to consume the entire company, making fans lose hope and turning "Tsukihime remake when?!" into a sarcastic meme. The remake was rather unexpectedly announced to be in test play in 2019, and the first half was finally released in 2021. It not only features updated art, but also new characters and in some places a pretty divergent story. Fans are still waiting on the second half, but at least they're reasonably confident now that it's not too far in the future. The developers explained that progress had stalled five years in by 2013 because of focus on the aforementioned Grand Order and other projects but they had enough free time by 2017 to properly finish development for the game that would release in 2021.

    Web Original 
  • Awesome Comics was promised by Channel Awesome in 2013, but was saved in 2016 by their intern hosting it along with three new people.
  • Bite Me - The Gamer's Zombie Apocalypse Series, a web original from machinima who went into hell after the first season, uploaded on 2010, and was saved almost 2 years later with the second season.
  • Rooster Teeth's Day 5 has been mentioned to have begun development in podcasts from early 2012. It finally came out in June, 2016.
  • The Doctor Puppet stop-motion shorts inspired by Doctor Who are a combination of standalone stories and a multi-part storyline, "The Adventures of Doctor Puppet", which aired its first two parts in March 2013 and features the Eleventh Doctor trying to rescue his previous selves. The time involved in making each individual short combined with the creators having to acknowledge new developments in Who with the standalones meant that the eighth and final short wasn't posted until October 2018, just days before the debut of the Thirteenth Doctor. The Stinger of the final part humorously acknowledges the biggest change to continuity that they couldn't incorporate into the story: the War Doctor is kicking back on a beach in a spoof of the ending of Avengers: Infinity War, as by the time "The Day of the Doctor" aired the puppet storyline had already moved past the point where he would have appeared had its creators known that yes, he was an actual incarnation of the Doctor.
  • France Five is a French parody/homage to Super Sentai. The four first episodes were released from 2000 to 2004. The fourth episode ended with a cliffhanger, and the fifth (and last) episode was scheduled for 2005, then 2006 or 2007, then no schedule was given. Finally, after 7 years, it was released on 05/05/2012. it is not the last episode. The sixth (and last) episode is scheduled for the end of 2012.
  • Homestar Runner (in-universe) had Dangeresque 3 finally released in movie form, four years later than Strong Bad originally announced. In real life, it was the basis of the fourth episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.
  • Pottermore, an esoteric and unexplained online supplement to the Harry Potter book series. Originally opened for limited beta testing in July 2011 and scheduled for public release that August, release dates were continually pushed back…and back…and back… until finally, it opened to the public on April 14, 2012.

    Western Animation 
  • Italian series Adrian is a vanity project by the famous singer Adriano Celentano: it was announced for a 2009 release, but the concept dates to around 10 years before that. It was picked up multiple times, but every time it was plagued by tons of problems, mismanagement, and went overbudget several times; finally, around 10 years after the initial announcement, it was released on Mediaset's Canale 5 in January 2019, in prime time and with great fanfare... and it was a humongous flop.
  • A Barney & Friends reboot was announced in 2015 for a 2017 release, but nothing came of it until 2023, when it was announced that there would be an All-CGI Cartoon reboot of the series.
  • The pilot for Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom was made shortly after Season 1 of Peppa Pig finished production, but the series didn't premiere until shortly before the third season of Peppa Pig was started on TV, because Season 2 of Peppa Pig put Little Kingdom in development hell. The character of Nanny Plum was almost scrapped before the series entered development hell, but revived while the series was in development hell.
  • Back in the early 80s, there were plans of a French-Hungarian co-produced Animated Adaptation of Voltaire's Candide, which were halted when the director's feature film debut bombed, followed shortly by him passing away. Fast-forward to the 2010s, when the project got reimagined as a mini series, taking guidance from the creator's original notes and adapting his excessive Deranged Animation to modern media. A completed episode was released in 2014, and the rest of the show, titled simply Candide (or alternatively The Adventures of Candide), followed in late 2018, albeit censored and almost banned by the Hungarian state. The full, uncensored series was released on Vimeo's on-demand platform some time later.
  • Around 2007, Warren Ellis planned to make an animated movie based on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. In 2017, Castlevania (2017) was finally released on Netflix with Ellis as the head writer.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door was supposed to come out around early 2001 but didn't start until late 2002.
  • The Mister Rogers' Neighborhood spin-off Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood was in development for six years before finally arriving.
  • Getting Daria on official DVD was Development Hell for many years. To the point where fans all but gave up on seeing an official DVD at all. It was finally Saved from Development Hell. Sort of. There is the small issue of damn near the entire original soundtrack being ripped away and replaced by generic musical scores or silence, but MTV figures the fans will take what they can get. And for the most part, that's true.
  • In 2012, Jeff Kinney announced an animated TV special based on Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever that was set to premiere in 2013. A year later, he was asked about it again and confirmed that it was pushed back to a 2014 release that ultimately never happened. Absolutely nothing else about it was said since then, and many assumed it had been cancelled, especially following the critically-reviled Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul movie. However, with the first two books getting Animated Adaptations in 2021 and 2022 respectively, Cabin Fever was announced in January 2023 to also be getting an adaptation. It eventually came out in December of that year as Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever.
  • Dora and Friends: Into the City! aired its Explorer Girls special in 2011 and was due to air future episodes not soon after. Years passed and nothing ever appeared so many assumed it was canceled, probably due to the controversy involving the time skip. In 2014 it finally aired, having added a male character to the line-up.
  • Two cases with the Chinese-Spanish series Filly Funtasia:
    • The show itself was announced in 2012 but its release kept on being pushed back, as a cause of many production issues. It was initially due for a 2014 release, although slowly throughout the years, it was revealed that the show was still in production. Not so shortly after it was announced that it would come out in 2019, the show would finally premiere March 11 on an Italian channel, Frisbee. This would result in the episodes being infamously Out of Order in both seasons of the show.
    • That being said, despite many trailers steadily being released in English (which is technically the original language), and some other-language versions airing on TV priornote , the finalized English version would not see an official release until March 3, 2022, in Singapore, with an organized episode order to boot. Although fans were unexpectedly treated to three sporadic English episodes being released on apps in the US in early 2021, it was a different, placeholder dub, and not many were satisfied with the results.
  • In the early 1990s, an animated series based on Gremlins called Gizmo and the Gremlins was going to debut. Due to Gremlins 2: The New Batch flopping against the heavily-promoted Dick Tracy, production was cancelled. Almost thirty years after the original show was cancelled, a new Gremlins animated series, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, premiered on the streaming service Max in 2023.
  • High Guardian Spice was supposed to come out in early 2019 via Crunchyroll as the first entry in their Crunchyroll Originals line of shows; however, after the initial announcement trailer, little was heard from the series and it missed its scheduled release date despite many of the crew stating it was completely finished. It was abruptly released in late October of 2021 with little fanfare.
  • The 2015 Inspector Gadget revival series has been in development since at least 2012, but series co-creator Andy Heyward has been hyping it up since at least 2009.
  • Making Fiends was in the planning stage for years and there were promos for it A YEAR before it aired on tv. It eventually came out only for Nickelodeon to cancel it after six episodes despite good ratings.
  • Miraculous Ladybug was supposed to come out around August of 2013 but was pushed back to September of 2015. In the process, they changed the art-style from a 2D animesque style to an All-CGI Cartoon and changed a lot of plot details (including replacing the male lead and making the series more kid-friendly).
  • The show Ni Hao, Kai-Lan was originally announced for Spring 2007, but didn't materialize until February 2008, though the characters from the show were featured for months in the now-defunct Nick Jr. Magazine.
  • The Lakewood Plaza Turbo pilot came out in 2013. This lead to the OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo mobile game and accompanying short series in 2016, 3 years later. The full series, OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, would premiere the following year.
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures was first announced in 2011 or 2012. There was no news for quite some time so people assumed it had quietly been canceled due to poor reception. It was eventually released in June 2013.
  • Phineas and Ferb was first pitched around 1990 with a pilot made for Nickelodeon in 1992, but lack of faith in the project and additional commitments from the show's creators (hoping to get their big break that way), delayed the show for more than 15 years, finally premiering in 2007 on Disney Channel instead of Nickelodeon.
  • The Dance Pantsed special of The Powerpuff Girls was originally slated for a 2013 release but was pushed back to January of 2014 instead.
  • Samurai Jack originally ran on Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2004, ending abruptly without a conclusion to the story. Creator Genndy Tartakovsky tried for several years to finish the show, even having confirmed the development of a finale film in 2006. With sparse details being provided of this film over the following few years, it eventually fizzled out. The show finally ended up seeing a conclusion in the form of a fifth season airing in 2017, this time on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] block.
  • The Simpsons was supposed to premiere in Fall 1989, but the initial version of the pilot episode, "Some Enchanted Evening", was deemed atrocious by the executives and staff and had to be redone. The show premiered with the Christmas special first (December 1989), and the first official episode aired was "Bart the Genius" on January 14, 1990, with the redone pilot being aired as the season finale.
  • An All-CGI Cartoon reboot of Strawberry Shortcake was being produced by DHX Media, and was announced in 2017. Some previews and a picture of the main girls were provided, but fans were not pleased with how it looked. On September 9, 2021, a trailer unexpectedly dropped of a new Strawberry Shortcake cartoon called Berry in the Big City, which shares some design cues but otherwise looks completely different, most notably that it's an Art Shift into a 2D series. Later, it was announced that there would be 3D specials of this incarnation to be released on Netflix.
  • The original short for Uncle Grandpa was produced in 2008/2009 as a part of The Cartoonstitute. The short lost out to fellow Cartoonstitute short Regular Show for being picked up as a full series, but the pilot lingered online for years. After years of fan demand, and the failure of another series by UG's creator (Secret Mountain Fort Awesome), Uncle Grandpa was finally picked up in early 2013 and started airing on Cartoon Network later that same year.

  • The site of the old Filene's building in Boston was like this for years, after the original developer stopped construction abruptly after they ran out of money and left a huge, unsightly hole in the ground right in the middle of downtown for years until the city revoked their permit and sold it to Millennium Partners, who are now building the Millennium Tower and completed it by 2016, and the end result of a mix of retail and residences that were more or less what the original plan was, but given how long it was in limbo Bostonians are happy to just have something in the space.
  • The Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripen airplane. Intended to be a jack-of-all-trades, as the name implies (JAS = Jakt, Attack, Spaning or Fighter, Attack, Reconnaissance) the project was initiated in 1977. The design was initiated in 1979, and the first prototype rolled out in 1987. It appeared the prototype was, although promising, seriously flawed, and two prototypes were lost (1988 and 1993). Gripen was seriously immature in 1993 on its first contract competition (Finland chose F/A-18 Hornets instead). It finally entered service in 1997, twenty years after the original concept. It has been developed and improved ever since, and in 2017 it has become fully mature and one of the best all-around light fighters in the world, and Saab has actually earned revenues on Gripen exports. It is now (2017) one of the candidates to supersede the F/A-18 Hornets in the Finnish Air Force - 25 years after the initial competition.
  • Similar to Sweden, in 1985 Canada's government under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was set to replace its then over 20-year-old Sikorsky Sea King helicopters with a new model. By the time a replacement model, the Westland EH-101 was decided on, it emerged that the Labrador search-and-rescue helicopters also needed replacement. The replacement was tacked onto the Sea King replacement order, ballooning the contract price to nearly $6 billion. With Canada entering a recession in 1993, new Prime Minister Kim Campbell announced that the order would be shrunk, bringing the price down to $4.4 billion. However, it wasn't enough to salvage an already unpopular government, and a new government under Jean Chretien was elected later that year. The order was swiftly cancelled (costing about $500 million in cancellation fees), but as the decade progressed it became more apparent that the Sea Kings were still growing older and becoming even more obsolete - requiring over 30 hours of maintenance for each hour of flight. By 2003, Chretien and his successor Paul Martin made the replacement of the Sea King a priority. The Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone was chosen in 2004, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2008. Problems with Sikorsky, which nearly led to yet another cancellation, delayed the first arrivals until 2015 - thirty years after the first selection process began.
  • More recently, in 2010 the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an intention to purchase the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II to replace its aging fleet of CF-18 Hornet fighter jets. Unlike the Sea King replacement, no official order was placed, but the decision to pick the model in a sole-sourced contract instead of opening the project up to bidding from multiple aircraft makers quickly proved controversial. Concerns over price and operational suitability were deciding factors in the new government under Justin Trudeau, elected in 2015, cancelling the project and deciding to start over again with an open replacement process. The process is still ongoing in mid-2018, with a winner scheduled to be announced in 2019 and deliveries in 2025. Evidently learning from the Chretien government, the Trudeau government decided to purchase used F-18s from Australia in the interim. However, with an election scheduled for 2019, it's hard to think history isn't about to repeat.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope was originally planned to launch in 1983. Delays in construction pushed that back to 1986, when it was indefinitely delayed by the Challenger disaster. The completed telescope had to be stored in a clean room, powered up and purged with nitrogen(to the tune of $6 million a month), until space shuttle flights resumed. It was finally launched in 1990.
  • The Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue in Indonesia took nearly three decades to finish. It was envisioned back in the 1990s as a pet project of the government of dictator Suharto. Five presidents and a financial crisis later, it was finally completed in 2018. In interim twenty eight years, generations of schoolchildren were baited to visit "the most magnificent statue in the country", only to find that the attraction consisted of nothing more than incomplete busts of Vishnu and Garuda placed separately throughout the area.
  • Microsoft Windows 1 had a difficult and protracted development, from 1981 to 1985. Its multiple delays and the commercial failure of similar productsnote  made many doubt that it would ever come out, or even that GUIs were viable at all. It ultimately did come out, and it was a flop. But they kept polishing it, and in 1990 the much improved Windows 3.0 became a massive success.