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9 Sci-Fi Movies That Almost Never Happened

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Mad Max Fury Road image
Warner Bros.

Sometimes it’s the script and sometimes it can be the budget. Or maybe even a falling out between the studio and director. There are many reasons why a film may not get made. Here are nine sci-fi movies that almost never hit the screen.

1. Alien 3 (1992)

This direct sequel to Aliens almost never happened. In fact, it’s a miracle that it got made at all. First off, it took three attempts to get the script right. The studio discounted William Gibson’s script first, followed by Eric Red’s in 1987. Both screenwriters have stated that interference all around and a feeling of rushing led to their demise. The studio finally settled on David Twohy’s script. There was also uncertainty about whether Sigourney Weaver would return, but a $5 million dollar salary secured it. There were also financial worries due to the special effects. So much so that Fox almost pulled the plug. Although it made a modest sum at the box office, the critics disliked it. Director David Fincher still disowns it to this day.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The original Mad Max films are classics. This new addition to the franchise from 2015 was fraught with problems from the off. Production for the film initially started way back in 2009. There were problems with the location and various reshoots needed to happen. Heavy rainfall also affected filming, which ended up moving production from Australia to Namibia.

There were also claims by the media that they had damaged the ecosystems in Namibia, although this was denied by authorities. These problems exacerbated fractious relationships between director George Miller and the cast. It all worked out in the end though, as the film won five Oscars. It’s also considered one of the best films in the franchise.

3. Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner is often touted as one of the greatest and most influential sci-fi movies of all time. And with good reason. Its story (an adaption of Phillip K Dick’s novella) is superb, as are the ground-breaking special effects. Director Ridley Scott has said he’s never been happy with the final product. In fact, he’s recut it at least three times and the script had multiple rewrites.

During production, there was interference from the studio who wasn’t happy with how it was going. Scott’s methods on set also caused problems with the cast. The director and lead actor Harrison Ford have previously stated how hard they found working with each other. Although they both state their relationship is good now. All that tension and stress created something trailblazing though, as it still looks fantastic to this day.

4. Star Wars (1977)

Probably one of the most well-known sci-fi films of all time, Stars Wars almost didn’t get made. The production in Tunisia was fraught with all sorts of problems, notably the weather. It’s interesting to note that various studios initially turned the project down before Fox reluctantly took it on. Budgets then overran and George Lucas almost made himself ill through stress. If that wasn’t enough, the cast members have been very vocal regarding the poor script. Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness have both gone on record pulling apart the awful dialogue.

Lucas himself was also convinced the film would flop as he missed its premiere, instead of going on holiday with Steven Spielberg. It all worked out in the end though, as Star Wars is one of the biggest film franchises on the planet and George Lucas is a billionaire.

5. Waterworld (1995)

At the time, Waterworld was one of the most expensive films ever made with a budget of over $100 million. As the title suggests, there was a lot of water involved. So much so that production even built its own island in Hawaii. You can imagine the logistical nightmare of transporting the cast and crew (along with extras) to a man-made island. Add in that lead actor Kevin Costner was almost wiped away in a storm and two stuntmen were severely injured, patience soon ran thin. So much so that director Kevin Reynolds left the film leaving Costner to finish it. It also went $75 million over its already huge budget. The film was still a success, but nowhere as much as it should have been considering the monumental effort that went into it.

6. Gremlins (1984)

Ah, the 1980s. A time before CGI when creatures had to be made and worked by real people. Although this 80s classic was a success and spawned sequels, it almost never got finished. Director Joe Dante has spoken about the immense frustration on set with having to use puppeteers. Under each set was an army of them who controlled Gizmo and the Gremlins whilst watching themselves on screens. According to Dante, the entire final three months of the shoot was purely for the Gremlins effects. He was also critical of the studio, who he called particularly unsupportive. Thankfully, it all turned out well in the end as the film was a success. And as the technology advanced, so did the quality of the sequels.

7. World War Z (2013)

By the time 2013 came along, there had already been a slew of zombie films. But Paramount thought the world could do with another, so World War Z was given the green light. This was a monster movie. Pardon the pun. To create the huge swathe of zombies, production recruited over 900 extras. This took the number of crew on set to over 1500. They also filmed in various locations across the globe, getting themselves in hot water with the Hungarian authorities. This was because hundreds of undocumented weapons arrived in the country for filming. They were supposed to be duds but were fully functional. Oops.

The ending of the final section of the film was also changed, which added $20 million. The overall final budget almost hit $200 million, which gave the head of Paramount a squeaky bum. The film was a financial success, but critics were split on whether it was a decent movie.

8. Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future is one of the greatest films from the 1980s. It was also the highest-grossing film of 1985. But it almost didn’t get off the ground. First off, the original script was rejected by every major studio. Disney even called the script ‘dirty’. Not quite sure what they meant by that, but hey-ho. It was eventually picked up by Universal and production began in 1984.

Michael J Fox was initially wanted for the role of Marty McFly, but producers for his show Family Ties wouldn’t show him the script. This meant that quite a chunk of the movie had already been filmed with Eric Stoltz in the lead role. He was eventually sacked with Fox being brought in to replace him. This ended up costing an extra $4 million as over a month’s worth of filming had to be redone. It all worked out in the end though.

9. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

This iconic film was plagued with mishaps and problems. Firstly, it went through four producers and three directors before it was even released to the public. Then there were the costumes. Looking back, they were impressive for a movie from 1939. But they ended up causing a lot of problems for the actors. Original tin man actor Buddy Epsen ended up with a severe reaction from the suit before he was replaced by Jack Haley. Scarecrow Ray Bolger ended up with permanent scars after the repeated removal of his makeup. Wicked Witch actress Margaret Hamilton also ended up with severe burns after an accident on set.

Added to these problems was the cost of the practical effects that themselves proved troublesome and added to the budget. Health and safety nowadays would have prevented a lot of those problems on set, but it still proved popular and made a healthy profit. It’s also one of the most iconic films of all time.


That’s our list of nine sci-fi movies that were almost never made, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our article about sci-fi movies that should’ve won Best Picture at the Academy Awards HERE.

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The Matrix Resurrections – Trailer

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Matrix Resurrections Trailer image
Warner Bros.

The first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections has arrived and there’s a lot to whet the appetite.

Neo’s alive?

When we left Neo (Keanu Reeves) in The Matrix Revolutions the assumption was that he had died in his final battle with Agent Smith. But in allowing The Matrix to use his body as a conduit to attack the rogue Agent he was able to save Zion and establish a fragile peace between machines and humans.

The trailer suggests that Neo was plugged back into The Matrix after this moment and has been controlled until now with ‘the blue pill’. This is why he has become Mr Anderson again but is haunted by dreams of the past.

Shrink or Agent

A very calm and controlled Neil Patrick Harris is counselling Thomas Anderson about these dreams but it’s clear that there’s more to him than just trying to help.

Heroes reincarnated

On iMDB Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s character is unnamed. Yet the trailer suggests that he is a younger version of Morpheus and he helps Mr Anderson rediscover Neo.

The Laurence Fishburne incarnation of Morpheus grews impatient with the machines and demanded that they return the body of Neo in The Matrix Online game. It’s not clear if this will remain canon or not. After many unanswered public speeches threatening action, Morpheus starts terrorist attacks throughout the Matrix. These attacks take the form of weapons that reveal the Matrix’s inner workings (its code) for all human beings to see, even those not yet awakened to the simulation. This caused mass panic and forced awakenings to those not ready to see the truth.

During the game events on May 26, 2005 (as recorded on the game’s official website), Morpheus plants a code bomb in the Rumbaar water treatment facility. After planting the bomb, he realises he is being hunted by an assassin. Morpheus escapes the facility; however, upon his leaving, the Assassin bends the code of the Matrix and emerges from a vent in the wall. Morpheus is caught off-guard and is unable to dodge the Assassin’s bullets. He dies from gunshot wounds.

Familiar faces

You can expect to see the return of Trinity as well as Neo. But many other characters appear to be changed or reincarnated. It seems to follow many footsteps of the original with the use of the White Rabbit. Then there’s a younger Morpheus, a possible younger Oracle and perhaps a new Architect.

Here’s the trailer to enjoy:

The Matrix Resurrections will be in cinemas from 22 December 2021.


Do you like The Matrix Resurrections trailer? Are you planning on seeing it when it’s released? What do you think it’ll be like? Let us know in the comments below.


Everything that we know so far about The Matrix Resurrections is HERE.

Read IMDB information about The Matrix Resurrections HERE.

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