Naughty Dog's Uncharted series has been on of the most consistent in all of video games across five games between 2007 and 2017, so a movie once felt like an inevitability. But with recent news that the project will lose its director due to scheduling conflicts, we decided to examine the long and troubled history of the project. Here's every development and bump in the road for Nathan Drake and company as they've tried to move to the big screen with an Uncharted movie.
Avi Arad, a producer best known for his work on the Marvel movies, announced that he was working on a film adaptation of the then-new PlayStation series. He was to produce it alongside with Alex Gartner and Charles Roven, the latter of whom is known for his own superhero slate with DC Comics adaptations. Writers were announced to be Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer who previously worked together on the Conan film reboot in 2011 and the 2005 Bradbury adaptation A Sound of Thunder.
As the film was confirmed to have been in production for well over a year by June of this year, Nathan Fillion began to enlist fans on Twitter to promote the idea of him landing the starring role as Nathan Drake, admittedly a role for which he very much looks and acts the part.
A new writer was announced for the project with little explanation as to what had happened to the previous crew. David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) was announced by Columbia Pictures to be the new screenwriter as well as take up the role of director. The same trio of producers from 2008 remained on the project.
According to a Filmonic story in 2011, Russell dismissed the idea of Fillion as Drake and denied even knowing who he was or the fan campaign to get Fillion cast.
Later in 2010, Mark Wahlberg revealed that he was working on the movie and expressed his excitement, particularly its cast. "I'm obviously in whatever David wants to do but the idea of it is so off the charts," Wahlberg told MTV in an interview picked up by Kotaku. "De Niro being my father, Pesci being my uncle. It's not going to be the watered-down version, that's for sure."
David O. Russell dropped out of the movie and Columbia sought a new director and writer. Weeks later, Neil Burger came onto the project to fill both roles, announcing he was rewriting the script.
Burger dropped out of the movie and was replaced with new screenwriters in Marianne and Cormac Wibberley, the duo responsible for Disney's National Treasure franchise, which carries with it a similar spirit.
In an interview with IGN, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg revealed they had been asked multiple times to take over screenwriting duties for the project, and they've declined every time. "It’s just going to be Indiana Jones,” said Goldberg. “If we could figure out a way to make it not Indiana Jones, it’d be awesome.”
A report from Deadline stated Evan Gordon (Horrible Bosses, The Office) was brought on as the new director, with the latest script coming from David Guggenheim (Safe House, Designated Survivor).
Later that same year, another screenwriter was brought in Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) to rewrite the script once more.
Also in 2014, it was reported exclusively by The Hollywood Reporter that Chris Pratt declined the role of Nathan Drake.
The Guggenheim-penned script leaks online following the massive Sony hack of that April. The remarkably optimistic release date was pushed back until June of 2017, despite there being no real way forward with the project at that time.
A Variety exclusive report revealed a new screenwriter in Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces, The Grey). Within a few weeks, the movie was removed from Sony's release calendar due to it lacking a director or cast, though Sony had not given up on the project. A few weeks after that in October 2016, Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Big Fat Liar) was announced as the new director.
Mark Wahlberg confirmed in an interview with We Got This Covered that he was no longer attached to the movie. Meanwhile, Carnahan revealed via Instagram that his script was finished with the caption "Now the REAL work begins." Also in that year, Tom Holland, the most recent incarnation of Spider-Man himself, was cast as the new younger Nathan Drake.
Rafe Judkins (Agents of SHIELD) was also brought on to "rework" the script, according to a Screen Rant story.
Yet more directorial turnover occurred when Levy left the project in December.
Just a few weeks into the new year, Dan Trachtenberg of 10 Cloverfield Lane fame was brought on as the new director. In March, The GWW reported that the shortlist for the role of Sully, Drake's mentor, was down to Chris Hemsworth, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Pine and Woody Harrelson.
The film was given a 2020 release date with Tom Holland still in the starring role and Trachtenberg directing, but in August of 2019, Trachtenberg left the project.
In September, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the movie had found its new director in Travis Knight, the lead animator for Laika Animation Studios.
Just weeks ago in November, it was reported -- with appreciation for the irony of the situation -- that Mark Wahlberg was rejoining the cast of the oft-delayed film. Wahlberg's role was revealed to be Sully, Drake's much older mentor, signaling that the project had officially been in production long enough for Wahlberg to move from the young lead to the older co-star.
All of that brings us to this week where we've now learned from a Comicbook.com report that due to filming of the new Spider-Man movie, Tom Holland's schedule has suffered conflicts with the director Travis Knight's, and as a result Knight has left the project.
Collectively, that's at least ten scripts and six directors that the Uncharted movie has moved through with an apparent curse stronger than one of Drake's sought after McGuffins. There's no word yet on who will take up the helm for the troubled project next, nor is it clear with which script they'll be working.