Robert Eggers’ epic Viking revenge thriller The Northman hits theaters next week and, while it seems like somewhat fresh territory for Hollywood, apparently it’s a route Disney was dared to explore nearly twenty years ago.
In a thread shared to Twitter Friday evening by writing duo Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (Freddy vs. Jason), it was revealed that Disney had acquired their pitch for a similarly set yet obviously more subdued story all the way back in 2004!
The post included a screenshot of one of the original articles about Disney’s purchasing of the pitch on the popular entertainment site MovieWeb.com. It reads, “The story centers on a washed-up Viking legend and his ragtag team of marauders who are forced to go on an epic quest to save the world from evil.”
Now, as we all know, Disney’s pool of live-action films from the early 2000’s was incredibly diverse. And this film sounds like it would have fit right in with the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean or National Treasure. Why was it never made though?
Well according to the thread, despite Disney being so interested in the story, the studio claimed it wanted to hold onto the idea and eventually make the film, “when [it stopped] making Pirates of the Caribbean movies.” As well also know – and as the writers point out in the thread – the franchise still has a pulse.
The last news reported about the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was over a year ago, when it was confirmed that Depp’s Jack Sparrow would not return in future films. Still, Margot Robbie remains attached to star in the next planned entry, whenever it finally comes out.
Whatever semblance of a script that was developed for the project eventually got rewritten, then shelved. And despite the pair’s attempts to shop it elsewhere, it seemed impossible to move it out of Disney’s hands.
“Hollywood giveth and it taketh away,” the writers say is the moral of the story. “You can only do your best. Most of the crucial decisions are simply out of your control.”
Now, they didn’t say that the project is absolutely dead; however, they did emphasize the slim likelihood of the film being revived in the future.
With Eggers’ The Northman receiving such high praise already, and Netflix’s new – and seemingly never-ending catalogue of Vikings-centric TV shows, it’s clear that there is an audience for these kinds of stories and that Shannon and Swift’s script could eventually see the light of day in some form. I mean, isn’t the company desperate for new, original content to put on Disney+?
You can read the incredibly cool and oddly inspiring thread below!