Labyrinth 2 lost in development hell, according to director

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The proposed sequel to the beloved 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth doesn’t sound like it will ever make it into production.

It’s been several years since reports circulated that The Jim Henson Company was pushing ahead with a project that had been mooted for years: a legacy sequel to 1986’s Labyrinth. If you’ve never had the pleasure, Labyrinth is a strangely wonderful film – ostensibly a children’s movie but laced with the kind of dark weirdness that you just don’t really see in kid’s films too often anymore.

That appears to be the problem, according to the project’s planned director, Scott Derrickson.

Speaking to this week to promote his role in bringing horror anthology, V/H/S/85 to the screen, Derrickson gave an update on the project. For those hoping to see a sequel materialise, it doesn’t look good. “I don’t know what’s happening with that,” Derrickson admitted. “We never got the script all the way to a place where the studio wanted to make it, but I was very proud of the work that we did on it.”

He added that “it’s a hard, hard project to turn into something commercially viable, because it’s so imaginative and surreal that there’s no way that it can be done cheaply. And at the same time, it’s so daring and different that it is a tough movie for a studio to feel competent that it has enough commercial value to earn a profit.”

That doesn’t sound like the project is going anywhere, does it? Perhaps that’s for the best as it sounds like some significant compromises would have to be made in tone and story for a studio to financially back the project. If that were the case, would it be a worthy companion to the original? Probably not.

Kudos to Derrickson and his fellow creatives for choosing to let the project rest rather than alter it beyond recognition. The filmmaker has recently been discussing his reasons for backing out of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness and they were very similar too.

As far as Labyrinth 2 goes, at least Derrickson looks back positively on the experience, because for some filmmakers, pouring their energy into a project that goes nowhere can be soul-destroying. Not so for him: “I think that it’s a tough nut to crack, but all I can tell you is I’m very proud of the work that we did on it. We certainly had a great film in mind.”

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