ByDean Round, writer at
Fan of good ol' slasher films. Love me a bit of Jaws too!
Dean Round

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. He has managed to build a grand reputation for himself by creating some of most colorful-looking and impressive adventure and fantasy films of the 21st century.

However, the director of 2013's Pacific Rim, 2006's Pan's Labyrinth and 2001's The Devil's Backbone has become more known for the movies that he hasn't made. In short, del Toro has announced various projects that he wishes to make but, for one reason or another, still hasn't gotten around to it.

Let's take a look at some of the work that he was initially attached to, and don't forget to sound off in the comments section below.


Any announcement for the adaptation of a Dan Simmons' novel for the big screen is worth mentioning. It was revelaed a few years ago that Simmons' 2009 best-seller Drood, was picked up by Universal Pictures and that Guillermo del Toro was originally attached to direct.

Following on from Simmons' 2007 novel The Terror, Drood is a fictionalized account of the final five years in the life of Charles Dickens. Told from the persepctive of Dickens' friend and fellow author, Wilkie Collins, the title comes from Dickens' unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Exactly five years before his death, Dickens was involved in a train accident. Immediately following this ordeal, he meets a mysterious and ghostly spirit by the name of Drood walking through the carnage.

This figure . . . was cadaverously thin, almost shockingly pale, and stared at the writer from dark-shadowed eyes set deep under a pale, high brow that melded into a pale, bald scalp . . . Dickens' impression of a skull was reinforced . . . by the man's foreshortened nose . . . and by small, sharp, irregular teeth, spaced too far apart, set into gums so pale that they were whiter than the teeth themselves.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

Midnight Delivery

Midnight Delivery is a tale about a father who takes on work as a drug mule in order to save his son's life.

No plot details on exactly why the drug-mule job is going to save his son have been released. I think the best bet has to be on a bunch of baddies who like money more than being pleasant, and a lot of menacing phone calls and “get a move on” messages. Who knows, perhaps del Toro may have found a new favourite genre!

Neil Cross, writer of TV dramas like Luther and MI-5, as well as producing the screenplay for Mama is a great start. This will be familiar ground for him with all the crime and espionage involved for writing Spooks.

As of now, it seems that the project has also found a director in Otto Bathurst, from 20 Things to Do Before You're 30 and Hustle. The latest news is that Gary Ungar (who was executive producer on Gothika) was down to executive produce this film.

Otto Bathurst
Otto Bathurst

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".


Following the set-back of being unable to acquire the finances needed for his adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous WWII novel Slaughterhouse-Five, it seemed that there was no hope in this project ever getting off the ground. However, following an interview with The Huffington Post, the film may not be totally scrapped after all.

No, no, no. It may still happen. But, I don’t control the material. Let me put it this way: when I control the material, I never give up on a movie. I mean, The Count of Monte Cristo was 15 years. Devil’s Backbone took me a decade or more. But, if I don’t control the material, I have no say. It’s a property of Universal.

Kurt Vonnegut’s novel revolves around Billy Pilgrim, a chaplain's assistant who experiences and journeys through time. Charles Kaufman is set to write the screenplay. This is an exceptional choice, given his work on surrealist and philosophical films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synechdoche NY, and none other but Adaptation.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

The Bloody Benders

The Bloody Benders revolves around a family who ran a boarding house in the early 1870's from which few guests ever emerged!

The film was written and directed by Adam Robitel, who wrote the screenplay for Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Robitel appears to be moving into writing, production and FX after starring in the first X-Men film as well as 2001 Maniacs. Produces who are linked to this production as well as del Toro, include Susan Montford (2011’s Real Steel) and Don Murphy (Transporters films, Natural Born Killers, From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)

The family operated a Sweeney Todd-like trapdoor under a dinner table chair, through which their victims would be dropped after they'd been crept up on and hit with a hammer. The walls of the murder room were later found to be riddled with bullet-holes, indicating that some of their potential victims took offence at their unfortunate situation!

"It is a beautiful and brutal yet poetic story. If you consider America back then, it was a great transition to modernity, but on the prairie, these were huge landscapes where people travelled and days and weeks on end would pass without communication. So nothing happens, then there is this brutal murder, and then it’s back to pastoral peace and quiet. That rhythm was very attractive to me.”

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

The Secret Garden

In early 2013, news broke that del toro would produce a new adaptation of The Secret Garden, the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Universal had won the rights to the story and had set Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lucy Alibar to pen the screenplay.

Deadline reported that del Toro and Alibar will be part of the creative force behind Universal’s adaptation of The Secret Garden. The century-old tale centers on a ten-year-old Mary Lennox, a recently orphaned girl who moves from India to her uncle’s estate in England. There, she discovers a rose garden hidden away on the grounds which becomes central to her story.

This is ideal material for del Toro, considering his continuing development of Pan’s Labyrinth projects, as well as Alibar, whose play Juicy and Delicious was adapted into Beasts of the Southern Wild, another somewhat supernatural tale centering on young children.

Pan’s Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

There has been a lot of talk about del Toro’s obsession with the Victorian horror films as he was slated to direct his own version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . He told MTV that he wanted to flip the question of the narrative – from “What does this monster, this manifestation of subconscious desire, take from Jekyll?” to “What is it that Hyde gives to him?”

If you tell the story fully, you can not only see it as a story of repression, of the build-up of repression until it manifests itself like a monster. I think that Hyde — yes, he’s a creature of subterranean desire and all that — but it’s more than that. He’s an addiction.

An interesting question that might be explored is, could it be that Jekyll actually likes turning into Hyde?

In every story of addiction, people seem to [underestimate] what the addiction does to the person. “And what does Hyde give Jekyll that is so powerful? That can be explored.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

At the Mountains of Madness

Back in January 2013, it was reported that del Toro had confirmed that he was planning to put together a pitch for At The Mountains Of Madness. This will allow studios to finally pick the film up, with it already being known that Universal has passed on his R-rated take.

The film is a chilling recollection of an Antarctic expedition's uncanny discoveries and their encounter with untold menace in the ruins of a lost civilization. At the time, del Toro was also asked if he was worried that Prometheus would be taking cues from the Lovecraft story and whether that could hurt the chances of it getting made:

Not really, I saw it finally and.. yes, there are things in common, but, you know, screw it. Lovecraft was there first. I'm going to try it one more time. Once more into the dark abyss...We're gonna do a big presentation of the project again at the start of the year and see if any [studio's] interested...Yeah, Tom is still attached. I think it would be so fantastic to make it with him. He's been such a great ally of the project.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".


Del Toro had signed up to produce, write and direct Champions for United Artists.

The film was to be based on the British TV series The Champions. Airing from 1968-1969, the original series featured Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, and William Gaunt. In the series they played agents working for a Geneva-based United Nations law enforcement organization called “Nemesis”. When they were on a mission, their aircraft crashed in the Himalayas where they were eventually rescued by a superior civilisation that not only saved their lives, but gave them superhuman powers, too.

At the time, writer Sergio G. Sánchez told SciFi that he’s completed a draft of a fantasy film titled 3993, which could be del Toro’s next:

He’s now in Budapest shooting [Hellboy II]. And he’s going to be doing the post-production in London from December on, so I’m probably going to fly to London in January and sit down to do the final touches on the script. And then who knows when he’ll shoot it? Because he has something like 10 different projects developing. It’s going to be shot in the Spanish language, and it’s supposed to complete the trilogy with Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. And it’s also a fantasy film, with the Spanish Civil War in the background. It starts in 1993, and then there’s something that happens in ’39 that’s relevant to the story. Right now in Spain, … they’re reopening many common graves from the Civil War. There’s like many people that disappeared. And now, … since enough time has passed, they’re like reopening them, and there’s a lot of people who can kind of find their ancestors and stuff. So it deals with that. And if I tell you more, Guillermo will come and cut [out] my tongue.

But as Sánchez said, del Toro had a lot of projects in development, and who knows what could be next.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

Dark Universe

In November 2012, there were rumours going round the internet that del Toro was going to be involved in developing a film around several of DC Comics’ more dark and mysterious characters (Swamp Thing, John Constantine, etc).

Shortly after this news, del Toro confirmed to IGN that his project, formerly known as Heaven Sent was now named Dark Universe and that a writer was soon to be confirmed:

I'm working on it. I'm writing the outline, and we're in talks with a very, very good writer. He accepted, and people are going to be happy with who we've chosen. I've been courting him and I think he's the perfect guy for this job.

Dark universe appears to be similar to DC’s Justice League Dark which teamed-up DC heroes that were supernatural, rather than the being just conventionally super.

Del Toro hinted to IGN that his schedule for the movie will cover Hellblazer's John Constantine, elegant magician Zatanna and her father Zatara, Swamp Thing, Deadman, The Demon and The Spectre. Constantine, of course, was played by Keanu Reeves in 2005, while we still haven't had a screen adaptation of Swamp Thing since 1989.

Early reports suggested that Supernatural's Eric Kripke was developing Deadman into a TV series, but it's uncertain where that now stands. Del Toro had been busy bringing the character to the movies for some time before, so it appears possible that Dark Universe will envelop some of his earlier efforts, should it go ahead. In the meantime, Joel Silver had a Swamp Thing in the works a while ago, but with Silver's recent departure from Warners, that's probably now been absorbed back into the Green.

It's another hero team-up movie in a market perhaps already saturated by The Avengers and the upcoming Justice League, but says Del Toro,

The movement for this happened before [The Avengers]. They were already galvanised to launch Justice League and to make their universe cohesive. With Man Of Steel DC are really very confident with what they have. They're now feeling that they have two pillars, Batman and Superman... There's a foundation they can now build on. Hopefully Dark Universe will happen.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".


Mary Shelley’s famous novel is del Toro’s favourite book, and the producer has been particularly vocal regarding his excitement for adapting the material. Del Toro had spoken of his plans to cast Doug Jones as the Monster role and there have been a few further updates every now and then. But as he has been involved in so many projects pver the years, Frankenstein has still yet to come to pass.

On the set of Crimson Peak, del Toro stated that Universal Pictures chairperson Donna Langley has approached him a few times about getting it going. But in his own words, he describes himself as being “a chicken sh!t” and added that when he finally gets round to doing the film (and hopefully Bride of Frankenstein too) then he would drop everything else for three years so he could focus all his attention onto it.

Both Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak were made with Legendary Pictures, and del Toro appears to have found a solid fit for his genre material with the production studio. Given that Universal holds all the rights to the classic monsters, del Toro was asked on set if he’s been thinking about diving into some of those properties:

I would love to. I mean, look, I would love to do Frankenstein and Bride, or Frankenstein for sure, but it really, Frankenstein has been—I’ve been really, really, afraid. Donna [Langley] has approached me a few times to start it now and I’m always like, you know, it’s like the dream project so I’m a little, I’m a chicken shit, you know? When I do it, I need to do it. Like, if I do Frankenstein, I literally would stop everything, and I’m going to a sabbatical of three years, just to write that. It’s not something that’s gonna just flow, like second nature. It’s my favorite book in history. [Laughs]

When he was probed a bit further as to whether he meant that he would do both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, del Toro answered, “Yeah, I would like to.” His current schedule was quite busy at the time, with finishing post-production on Crimson Peak, and starting pre-production on Pacific Rim 2, but one imagines he might start thinking about clearing his post-Pacific Rim 2 schedule if Universal is keen on getting Frankenstein off the ground.

At the time it was also announced that screenwriters/producers Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise) and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) will be supervising an interrelated series of Universal monster films for the studio. It’s unclear if del Toro knew of these plans during the time of this interview, but he offered his thoughts on the best way to tackle the Universal Monster Movie Universe:

I think that it’s a great universe to develop. I personally think that they should all be period movies. I would love to see Creature from the Black Lagoon in Victorian England with the Victorian exploration, with a balloon and steam riverboats. I would love to see The Hunchback, Phantom, you know?

With comic book movies being all the rage at the moment, the superhero franchises are starting to bleed together. What better palate-cleanser than a temperamental, period-set series of Universal Monsters films? Now that Legendary is under the Universal umbrella, hopefully del Toro and Legendary CEO Thomas Tull would have at least some say in the creative direction of this new series of planned monster movies.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

Saturn and the End of Days

The script of Saturn and the End of Days follows a boy named Saturn, who watches the end of the world while walking back and forth from a supermarket.

In 2008, at the New York Comic-Con, del Toro announced that he would be producing “one more, perhaps final, little movie about childhood and horror” called Saturn and the End of Days.

It’s like, what would happen if the Apocalypse was viewed by you [while] doing errands. You go back and forth and nothing big happens except the entire world is being sucked into a vortex of fire. The small movies you have much more control. If I say this is the design of the fawn and the girl is going to do this or do that, that’s me. In Big Hollywood movies, you get a 50-page memo. It’s horrible. Independent filmmaking is like drawing a comic book, the Hollywood movie is like having five hands holding your hand while you’re drawing the comic book.

At the time, del Toro revealed that he had just started to work on sketches and to write a script for the film, of which he predicted wouldn’t get made for a few years.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

The Incredible Hulk (TV Series)

In 2011, word was spreading that there would be a new TV series based on The Incredible Hulk. News was that it the adaptation was currently being developed by del Toro and Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick.

Whilst working on Pacific Rim, del Toro did take some time-out to give a small update on what was happening:

We’ve been coming up with an angle that is really strong. I am a fan of Peter David, Pak and Loeb but I like very much what individual writers and artists have done through the decades. I only gravitate to “monster” superheroes–(Blade, Hellboy, Deadman, Hulk-) because I have no interest on the straight ones–even when I’ve been offered the keys to the kingdom.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".

The Witches

Based on Roald Dahl's 1973 classic book The Witches, the story tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven year old boy who has a run in with some real life witches!

Guillermo del Toro was going to direct this stop-motion feature adaptation of Roald Dahl's fantastic novel The Witches. The brilliant Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men), was the original front-runner for the director spot. This all changed when Cuaron told Empire Magazine that was now going to produce the film, with del Toro directing it. According to reports, the two started talking about adapting Dahl’s story Uncle Oswald when they got onto the subject of The Witches:

The pair were discussing the potential of adapting the much naughtier Dahl story Uncle Oswald, when the conversation turned to The Witches. Guillermo wrote this amazing screenplay really quickly.

The film was going to be stop-motion, which meant it would have taken a lot of time to make anyway, especially if they were planning to make a world of witchy creatures to stand up to the likes of del Toro's mind.

On IMDb, this project is categorized as being "in development".



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