Robopocalypse has been in development since 2011, but is currently mired in development hell. The film was slated for release for April 2014, but the film was soon reigned in to address budget concerns. With Steven Spielberg’s schedule filled with projects he’s producing, including Jurassic World, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and the upcoming The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun, Robopocalypse might be the iconic director’s next directing project…or it might not. But while the Robopocalypse is drifting in limbo, we can at least get a small glimpse at the project, courtesy of some storyboard art. (You can click the images for larger versions.)
Storyboard artist Michael Anthony Jackson created the images seen in this post, featuring an epic battle and chase scene between a robot called Mechwolve and the U.S. Army. It’s unclear if the sequences in these storyboards will actually survive into the final version of Robopocalypse, when/if we ever see it, but it’s interesting to see what the film could’ve been, nevertheless.
Michael Anthony Jackson has worked in the art department of various action blockbusters including Iron Man, Jumper, and Green Lantern. He got his start back in 1990 with the mystery thriller Pacific Heights, and even got to work with Tim Burton on Batman Returns, Mars Attacks!, and Big Fish. Most recently, Jackson worked on storyboards for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot for director Jonathan Liebesman and producer Michael Bay.
Robopocalypse was deep in pre-production before Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks put the film on indefinite hiatus in early 2013. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises) were even cast before Spielberg shut the film down. Screenwriter Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods, World War Z) was penning the film’s screenplay. It would have been Spielberg’s first science fiction film since War of the Worlds in 2005 (and no, I don’t count Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as science fiction). Spielberg’s spokesman, Marvin Levy, said Robopocalypse was, “too important and the script is not ready, and it’s too expensive to produce. It’s back to the drawing board to see what is possible.”
Part of the reason why Robopocalypse was going to be so expensive was its 70mm IMAX photography. Spielberg was testing 2D and 3D IMAX cameras for Robopocalypse back in 2012. Michael Bay used native IMAX 3D cameras for Transformers: Age of Extinction, so hopefully the price to use the special camera might go down once it has become popularized in Hollywood.
Robopocalypse is based on the best-selling 2011 novel from Daniel H. Wilson. It was his second novel, after A Boy and His Bot, also in 2011. Next on Wilson’s docket is Robogenesis, which will be released sometime in 2014.
Robopocalypse takes place in the future, where robots have been created to serve mankind, and when the U.S. government creates an advanced Artificial Intelligence called Archos. When the newly formed A.I. displays hostility towards humans, it avoids being destroyed and soon becomes a virus that is downloaded into every piece of A.I.-controlled technology on the planet. This leads to a catastrophic worldwide event where the robot uprising places humans in chaos as humanity struggle to survive.