At the beginning of this week we were saddened by the news that Guillermo del Toro will no longer be working on The Hobbit movie. Among other things, we were really looking forward to seeing his Mirkwood, and to watching Weta Workshop‘s triumphant return to Middle Earth. But we are comforting ourselves by imagining all the other projects he is now free to pursue.
Below, we outline four of our Guillermo del Toro dream projects, and a few bonus projects that, you know, might actually happen.
1. Hellboy III
This one’s a no-brainer, but seems less likely considering del Toro’s schedule. After the beautiful second film, which managed to take all the elements that we loved in the first (hidden supernatural world, tight design aesthetic, fiddly relationship between the paranormal characters and the normal ones) and just do them more. We really want to see del Toro pick up the story where Hellboy II left off. Preferably with Hellbabies.
2. Anything by Neil Gaiman
Anything. Seriously. My first thought on this was that even though I think it’s impossible to translate Sandman to cinema, if Guillermo del Toro tried, I would watch it. Then I realized the he could do the hell out of an American Gods movie/miniseries. Then I realized that pretty much every Neil Gaiman story would be right up his alley. Neverwhere, Murder Mystery, or We Can Get Them For You Wholesale. Make it so, sirs.
3. Garth Nix’s Sabriel
Sabriel is a young adult novel by Australian writer Garth Nix, that takes place in a world half-medieval, half-steampunk. Literally. The two countries in the setting are separated by a centuries old wall. South of the wall, technology has reached the industrial revolution. North of the wall, spirits walk, necromancy reigns, and anything more complicated than a simple machine simply breaks down. The novels’ protagonist, Sabriel, is the only child of the Abhorsen, and so will one day follow in her father’s footsteps to become the Old Kingdom’s only defense against necromancers living and dead.
There are two factors that make Sabriel perfect for del Toro’s taste in subject matter. First, its density of design. Nix paints the world of the book with detail, from clothing, to vehicles, to architecture. The realm beyond life, which characters frequently visit in order to talk to the dead or put risen souls back where they belong is a treacherous realm of endless water. In its first level, the current simply tugs at your feet, willing you to give in and let it carry you through. Further levels are far less subtle.
Second: the walking dead.
4. Clive Barker’s Abarat
Do I need to say anything more about a possible collaboration between horror masters Guillermo del Toro and Clive Barker?
Oh, all right.
Abarat is Barker’s young adult novel series, which he writes and illustrates. Yes, illustrates. The protagonist is a sixteen-year-old girl with an abusive alcoholic father who stumbles into the Abarat, an archipelago of magical islands, each of which represents a different hour of the day. The main villain is a man named Christopher Carrion, the Prince of Midnight. He looks like this. His mouth is surrounded by scars because when he was a boy, his grandmother sewed his mouth shut for saying the word “love.” His clear collar is filled with some kind of liquid. The worms swimming in it are his nightmares. He uses them to torture people by letting them swim up their ear canals.
Did I mention that he’s kinda-sorta romantically interested in the protagonist?
5. Bonus Things: They’re Actually Probably Going to Get Done!
Del Toro stepped down from The Hobbit because the delays in greenlighting it would have caused its production time to cut into other film commitments that he had already made. And among those commitments are…
Frankenstein, At The Mountains of Madness, and Slaughter-House Five. Yes, that’s right, the original science fiction novel about the nature of humanity and scientific ethics, H.P. Lovecraft’s most expository tale of the Cthulhu mythos, and Kurt Vonnegut‘s most popular novel about war and the purpose of life. Universal is counting on del Toro directing them, and has him on contract until 2017.
Needless to say, whatever Mr. del Toro winds up doing, we look forward to it.