The ‘Gears of War’ Movie Gets Back on Track with a New ‘Avatar’ Writer

It takes a long time to get any movie made. There can be years of development on a script, followed by all the time it takes to attach talent and raise money. Filming a movie is the easy part. Getting everything to the point where you have people on set is the hard part. The bigger the movie, the harder every obstacle becomes.

Take Gears of War for example. The game series is played by millions of people. The series has earned over $1 billion in sales. It is, by every measure, wildly popular. So, you’d think a movie would be an easy, bankable no-brainer, right? It shouldn’t take 10-plus years to happen, right?

Well, let’s look at the timeline.

November 2006 – The first Gears of War game hits the Xbox 360. It’s the fastest-selling game of 2006 and wins over 30 “Game of the Year” awards.

March 2007 – New Line Cinema purchases the film rights to Gears of War. It attaches screenwriter Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) and producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey (I, Robot, Twilight).

August 2007 – A rumor emerges that Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard) is going to direct the movie.

June 2008 – Nearly a year after the rumor, Len Wiseman officially signs on to direct Gears of War, this time from a script to be written by Chris Morgan (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift).

April 2010 – News hits that Len Wiseman has left the project, reportedly after New Line Cinema decided to slash the budget from the previously expected $100 million.

April 2013 – Three years after New Line and Wiseman parted ways, Gears of War shifts over to Bluegrass Films and producer Scott Stuber (47 Ronin).

May 2017 – Over four years after first acquiring the project, Stuber and Universal Pictures hire Shane Salerno (Avatar 2 – 5) to write a whole new version of Gears of War.

As you can see, we’re still only in the scripting stages for a movie that’s already spent a decade in development. So, yeah, it takes a long time to get any movie made. The only thing that’s remained consistent from 2007 is the idea that the movie version won’t adapt any one of the game’s stories, but instead will concoct a new story set in the same universe in which a human-vs.-alien war rages on a planet far away from Earth.

Salerno is no stranger to writing movies about alien wars considering he worked on the next five Avatar movies, so presumably those behind the scenes are impressed with what he delivered for James Cameron. Now the rest of us just must sit back and wait and see if either franchise ever actually happens.