Chaos Walking had all the makings of a successful young adult dystopian blockbuster: two major stars, a successful book series as source material, and a genre that had captured audiences around the world with franchises such as Twilight and The Hunger Games.
But a Wall Street Journal report recently revealed that the Tom Holland/Daisy Ridley-starring film was deemed "unreleasable" based on an early cut, with studio Lionsgate pushing it back for extensive reshoots.
Chaos Walking is based on the book series of the same name by British-American author Patrick Ness, who recently wrote the screenplay for the critically-acclaimed film adaptation of his own novel, A Monster Calls.
The series is a post-apocalyptic tale following a young man named Todd on a newly-colonised planet without women, where everyone can hear each other's thoughts. When a girl, Viola, shows up, she throws into question everything Todd has been taught about his planet, and the tensions between humans and the indigenous aliens known as the Spackle.
As IndieWire reports, Lionsgate - the studio behind Twilight and The Hunger Games - obtained the rights to Chaos Walking in 2011, when young adult dystopia was the genre-of-the-moment. In 2016, Edge of Tomorrow's Doug Liman was attached to direct, and brand-new stars Tom Holland (Spider-Man) and Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) were cast following their respective breakout successes.
Production began in August 2017 and reportedly wrapped in November that year, but in April 2018, a Hollywood Reporter article revealed the film - with a reported budget of $150 million (US$100m) - was due to undergo major reshoots, with Ness attached to help re-write the script.
In April this year, the Wall Street Journal revealed the reshoots were ordered after an early cut of the film was vetoed by Lionsgate.
The first cut reportedly "turned out so poorly it was deemed unreleasable by executives who watched initial cuts last year, according to current and former employees".
"We wouldn't be shooting more if we didn't think we could make this movie work," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told the publication.
The reshoots, which involved complicated scheduling due to Holland and Ridley's busy schedules, pushed the film from its initial release date of March 2019 to an undated 2020 release. Despite being announced in 2018, the reshoots didn't take place for a whole year, with Holland and Liman both sharing behind-the-scenes snaps on social media earlier this year.
Chaos Walking is now expected to arrive in 2020. Holland currently stars in Spider-Man: Far From Home, while Ridley can be seen in Ophelia and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.