The Crow Remake Development Hell Timeline Explained

Summary

  • The Crow remake’s tumultuous 15-year journey saw multiple directors, actors, and script changes before finally landing on Bill Skarsgård in the lead role.
  • Original director Alex Proyas does not support the reboot, echoing the sentiment of fans who hold the late Brandon Lee’s legacy in high regard.
  • With Rupert Sanders at the helm and a new cast including FKA Twigs, this modern reimagining of The Crow aims to honor the original while captivating a contemporary audience.



The 2024 remake of The Crow has been a long time in the making, with a timeline stretching across 15 years of development hell. The remake first began development back in December 2008. But it only circled through a seemingly endless flock of directors, writers, and actors, until finally landing on the team that has resurrected The Crow reboot with Bill Skarsgård in the lead role. The upcoming movie, a new adaptation of the original 1989 graphic novel series by James O’Barr, has scheduled a release date of Friday, June 7, 2024.

The first movie adaptation, which premiered in 1994, was a sleeper hit. Since its release, the undying romance of a rock musician resurrected for revenge against the violent gang who murdered him and his fiancée has become a cult classic. The star, Brandon Lee, lives on in the film after dying on set from a tragic accidental shooting caused by a faulty prop gun. His legacy is one of the many reasons original director Alex Proyas does not support The Crow reboot. Long before Proyas’s comments, however, it seemed like the remake would never happen, with its convoluted timeline and various failed attempts to revive. But The Crow would not stay dead.


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2008-2009

Stephen Norrington Tapped As Writer-Director

Stephen Norrington And Brandon Lee As The Crow From The Crow 1994

In December 2008, Stephen Norrington (Blade, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) was announced as the writer-director of The Crow reboot. His first draft was well-received by Relativity Media, the owner of the film rights, in October 2009. The Weinstein Company and Relativity Media made an agreement to work together on the reboot.


2010

Nick Cave Brought On For Revisions, Mark Wahlberg Offered Lead Role, Cave And Norrington Exit

Mark Wahlberg Reacting And Nick Cave Facing Camera

Despite promising developments in the script per Relativity Media and the original Crow producer Edward Pressman, musician and screenwriter Nick Cave was brought on to revise the script in July 2010. Reports that year also revealed Mark Wahlberg was offered the lead role of the undead avenger Eric Draven, but the lack of further news suggested he declined. When an unnamed actor rejected the Norrington-Cave script and demanded rewrites, Stephen Norrington chose to leave The Crow reboot. Cave also left that year.

2011

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Joins As Director, Bradley Cooper Attached To Star, The Weinstein Company Sues, Fresnadillo And Cooper Exit, Actors From Channing Tatum To James McAvoy Considered

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and Actor Bradley Cooper


News broke in April 2011 that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) would sit in the director’s chair. Bradley Cooper was in talks to play The Crow. However, the project stalled when The Weinstein Company initiated a legal battle against Relativity Media about distribution rights to the reboot. Regardless, Relativity Media hired Watchmen co-writer Alex Tse in June 2011 to pen a new script.

By August, Cooper dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with Silver Linings Playbook. The search for The Crow reboot actor was on again, with actors including Channing Tatum and Wahlberg (up for a second time) being considered. Without disclosing an official reason, Fresnadillo left in October 2011.

2012

F. Javier Gutiérrez Joins To Direct, Jesse Wigutow Tapped As Writer, Cliff Dorfman Brought On For Rewrite, The Weinstein Company And Relativity Media Settle Out Of Court

F Javier Gutierrez In An Interview and Cliff Dorfman Smiling


The remake flew again in January 2012 with the new Crow reboot director being F. Javier Gutiérrezz (Before I Fall, The Wait) and Jesse Wigutow (Tron: Ares, It Runs in the Family) scripting. After a page-one rewrite by Cliff Dorfman (Entourage, Warrior), the project was greenlit. By then, the Weinstein Company and Relativity Media had settled out of court.

2013

Alexander Skarsgård and James McAvoy Rumored To Star, Tom Hiddleston In Talks, Luke Evans Attached, Comic Creator James O’Barr Joins As Film Consultant

Alexander Skarsgard Luke Evans Tom Hiddleston

Rumors floated that Alexander Skarsgård was attached to play Draven, but Skarsgård denied them. James McAvoy similarly dismissed his rumored Crow talks as “not for real.” Tom Hiddleston was in talks to play Eric Draven till the reboot ultimately cast Dracula Untold‘s Luke Evans in May 2013. In July 2013, O’Barr was made the film’s creative consultant. Like Proyas, he was against the reboot, but Gutiérrez’s vision turned him around.


2014

Gutiérrez Exits, Corin Hardy Brought On To Direct, O’Barr And Dorfman Write Together

Cliff Dorfman with Corin Hardy and James O'Barr Holding The Crow Comic Book

Gutiérrez exited his role as director on the project to helm the 2017 horror film Rings, the third film in The Ring franchise. However, he stayed on as an executive producer. The reboot began anew in December 2014 with Corin Hardy (The Hallow, The Nun) as the director. O’Barr and Dorfman co-wrote the screenplay.

2015

Luke Evans Leaves, Jack Huston Attached To Star Until Exiting, Nicholas Hoult And Jack O’Connell Considered, Relativity Media Files For Bankruptcy

Jack Huston with Jack O'Connell and Nicholas Hoult


With production delayed, Evans was forced to move on in January 2015. Two months later, Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) was attached to play The Crow, with Jessica Brown Findlay cast as his fiancée Shelly Webster. In May 2015, Andrea Riseborough was in talks to play a gender-swapped Top Dollar, the film’s antagonist.

However, just three months after joining, Huston exited The Crow reboot due to scheduling difficulties. Variety reported that Nicholas Hoult and Jack O’Connell were being considered next, alongside Forest Whitaker for a major undisclosed role. O’Barr sought Smallville‘s Sam Witwer for the lead role. The project ground to a halt when Relativity Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2015.

2016

Corin Hardy Removed From Film, Jason Momoa Cast As Lead, Hardy Returns As Director, Project Leaves Relativity Media

Corin Hardy and Jason Momoa in The Crow Makeup from Hardy Instagram


Relativity Media survived the financial threat, but then came new problems: the current company head had “summarily removed Mr. Hardy as director of the Picture” in January 2016, and producer Pressman later issued papers in bankruptcy court intended to deny the company rights to make any The Crow films, including sequels, prequels, and remakes.

In September 2016, the project found a new Eric Draven/Crow actor in Jason Momoa. Hardy eventually returned to direct. The project, titled The Crow Reborn in November 2016, had flown from Relativity Media to a group led by Samuel Hadida at Davis Films.

2017

Gutiérrez Reveals Attachment As An Executive Producer, Sony Set To Distribute Film Worldwide, Momoa Shares Excitement On Instagram

F Javier Gutierrez And The Crow Fanart Posted On Instagram By Jason Momoa


Gutiérrez revealed in a May 2017 interview that he was still involved in The Crow remake as an executive producer, despite no longer directing. In September 2017, media outlets announced Sony as the new worldwide distributor of the film. Momoa posted fanart of The Crow on his Instagram page with the message, “I’ve been waiting sooooo long. Let’s do this brother . . . ,” mentioning Hardy.

2018

Release Date Set, Momoa and Hardy Exit, Developments Pause

Jason Momoa and Corin Hardy Hanging Out Together

Things were taking flight with a scheduled October 2019 release date—when Jason Momoa and Corin Hardy exited The Crow reboot in May 2018 due to “creative and financial differences” with Hadida, per Deadline. Wings clipped once more, the project seemed doomed to development hell forever.


2020

Bloody Disgusting Reports Exclusive On Confirmed Development

Fire Outline Of A Crow In The Crow 1994 And Samuel Hadida

Then, in January 2020, an exclusive on Bloody Disgusting confirmed the project was back in motion with Hadida and partners in search of a new director and writer. It was a surprise at the time, considering that the project seemed cursed, but it was closer to becoming a reality.

2021

Jason Momoa As The Crow In Unearthed Test Footage Of Him In Unmade The Crow Reboot

In November 2021, test footage of Momoa taking up The Crow’s mantle was unearthed by Ryan Unicomb, a filmmaker, who shared it on Twitter. As far as developments in the film, outlets were back to radio silence.


2022-2024

Rupert Sanders Attached As Director, Zach Baylin Writes Screenplay, Bill Skarsgård Cast As The Crow

Director Rupert Sanders and Actor Bill Skarsgard with FKA Twigs in First Look of The Crow Remake

Pressman certified that the project was underway with a new crew and cast in a March 2022 interview with IndieWire. A month later came news that the Crow reboot had finally found its team: Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman, Ghost in the Shell) would direct with a screenplay by Zach Baylin (King Richard, Creed III) and Will Schneider. The pair would finalize the story after several previous versions by screenwriters, including Kevin Cornish at some point.


Alexander’s brother Bill Skarsgård was cast to bring The Crow back to life, with FKA twigs as Shelly Webster. In August 2022, Danny Huston, whose nephew Jack Huston had previously been cast as Draven, was tapped for an undisclosed role. Isabella Wei was attached to play a new character named Zadie. Rounding out the current cast is Laura Birn, Sami Bouajila, Jordan Bolger, David Bowles (as Wickham), Dukagjin Podrimaj (as Detective Milch), and Paul A. Maynard (as Malcolm).

The $50 million project commenced principal photography in July 2022 in Prague, Czech Republic. The film wrapped production in September of the same year, then began virtual production and VFX work in Germany. Lionsgate acquired domestic distribution rights in September 2023.

The original Crow led to three sequels—The Crow: City of Angels (1996), The Crow Salvation (2000), and The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)—each of which follows a different revived revenger than Draven. Sanders says The Crow reboot is a modern reimagining of Draven’s story and a tribute to Brandon Lee that aims to keep “his soul . . . very much alive.”


Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline, Film Stories, Bloody Disgusting, IndieWire

The Crow
will premiere in theaters on June 7.

The Crow (2024)

The Crow (2024) is a dark and gritty reboot of the cult classic film, set in a grim urban landscape. It follows Eric Draven, a musician who is resurrected from the dead to avenge his and his fiancée’s brutal murders. Armed with supernatural abilities and guided by a mystical crow, Eric seeks justice against the criminals responsible, navigating through a corrupt city that is as much a character as he is. This revival pays homage to the original while introducing new elements to captivate the modern audience.

Director
Rupert Sanders

Distributor(s)
Lionsgate

Writers
James O’Barr , Zach Baylin , William Josef Schneider