The Ronin has uncovered a bunch of previously unseen concept artwork from the unmade Fantastic Voyage that was in development by Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox. The project was a futuristic remake of the 1966 film based on the novel by science-fiction author Isaac Asimov (Foundation).
FANTASTIC VOYAGE – The brilliant scientist Jan Benes (Jean Del Val) develops a way to shrink humans, and other objects, for brief periods of time. Benes, who is working in communist Russia, is transported by the CIA to America, but is attacked en route. In order to save the scientist, who has developed a blood clot in his brain, a team of Americans in a nuclear submarine is shrunk and injected into Benes’ body. They have a finite period of time to fix the clot and get out before the miniaturization wears off.
Directors such as James Cameron (Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Avatar), Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Universal Soldier, Independence Day), Paul Greengrass (Bourne Identity), and Shawn Levy (Free Guy, Real Steel, Stranger Things) had once been in the mix at different points of development. Cameron and Jon Landau would end up producing the film via Lightstorm Entertainment.
In 2010, screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Alita: Battle Angel, Ghost In The Shell, Altered Carbon) was hired to do rewrites after director Roland Emmerich trashed the previous script in interviews.
In 2016, it was announced that Guillermo del Toro would be attached to direct with a script from Terminator: Dark Fate screenwriters David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Blade, Blade II, Green Lantern Corps) and Justin Rhodes (RoboCop Returns, Green Lantern Corps) before he pivoted to passion projects like The Shape of Water and his current film Nightmare Alley.
There had been plans on shooting Guillermo’s version in Toronto, Ontario, Canada when had been assembling his production team development/pre-production stages.
While speaking with Screen Rant in the fall of 2017, del Toro suggested he was still keen on the project before moving on to Nightmare Alley.
DEL TORO: “That was on the calendar already. I announced the year in September, and if everything goes well and it happens, it would happen next September. We’d start prepping again. We had already delayed it. It is a very difficult movie, technically, and I needed to figure out a bunch of stuff. We’ve been doing R&D and we’ve been building stuff. I never know whether they’re going to happen or not. I’ve learned that, in 25 years. But, we’re still working on it.”
It remains to be seen if he’ll return to Fantastic Voyage in the future.
A batch of artwork from Shawn Levy’s incarnation (before Guillermo got involved) posted by production designer Tom Meyer (Real Steel, Spectral, BIOS) in a concept reel we spotted for the project features a bunch of concept artwork for the futuristic setting, animations, and storyboard animatics. Some plot details are also revealed in the video.
“Scaling” is the process of nano-sizing bio-technology hardware mechanisms. All illness has been eradicated through a vaccine of networked nano-implants. Hacking of the implant network is now our body’s primary threat.
Killing a pilot by hacking his implants with a “smart virus”, terrorists crash a jet into Washington D.C.’s icy Potomac.
One piece of artwork suggests that X-Men franchise actor Hugh Jackman was indeed wanted for a lead role as his likeness was used for one of the characters. It wouldn’t have been surprising given Shawn having worked with Hugh on Real Steel.
Deadline first connected him to the project back in 2011 and this artwork would support that reporting.
Here are the rest of images we captured from Tom’s concept reel.
Below is the reel posted by the film’s production designer Tom Meyer.
After Disney/21st Century Fox merger a handful of high-profile and expensive film projects were killed including Wes Ball’s Mouse Guard. There is a good chance that Disney might have squashed Fantastic Voyage as well.