What I Heard This Week: The ‘UNCHARTED’ Domino Effect
Every now and then I come across some information the veracity of which can be confirmed by a second source. What happens FAR more often is that I come across some information that while believable and from trustworthy sources, cannot be confirmed by other sources for various reasons. For instance, on February 19th, I wrote this piece relaying some rumors I’d heard about Marvel Studios updating its Disney Plus slate; the next day, the news broke that a special Disney Plus event would be held in London on March 5th where it is expected that Marvel Studios and Star Wars slates will be updated. I also shared information about Peyton Reed directing episodes of season 2 of The Mandalorian months before he made it official.
This little nugget was one I found to be very interesting on a lot of levels despite it not being directly related to any of the properties I find interesting.
It has been passed on to me that Sony is currently planning to begin filming on their upcoming video game adaptation, Uncharted, in mid-to-late July. The film was just about to kick off production in Germany when the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down but the studio believes that the current community health situation in Germany provides a safe environment.
This is of interest to me for a few reasons. In late April, during one of the mass shufflings of movie release dates we have seen in response to the pandemic, Sony moved Uncharted from an October 8th, 2021 release date to July 16th, 2021. MCU fans might remember that this was the original date for Sony and Marvel Studios third Spider-Man collaboration, a film that was moved to November 5, 2021, a date originally held for Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness.
The common denominator here is, of course, Tom Holland. Holland is the lead of both Uncharted and Spider-Man and Sony’s move, in conjunction with Marvel Studios willingness to move the Strange sequel, meant that Holland was always going to film Uncharted before kicking off Spider-Man. However, what is truly interesting to me is that I have also recently heard rumblings about the production of Spider-Man 3 aiming for a late-September.early-October start date. During any other time and taken on their own, these dates would make perfect sense. It’s very common for Marvel Studios to roll cameras on a film 10-14 months before it hits studios, but you can probably see how these two start dates don’t make much sense when taken together.
Thankfully, I heard just a little more on the subject in regards to Sony’s plans. We all know that, for the foreseeable future, movie sets are going to be very different than what they have been in the past. Fewer people, fewer large scale sets and shorter working days. In practice, that would seem like it would mean shoots would take more time, not less, making it all but impossible for Holland to finish Uncharted in time to get to work on Spider-Man 3; however, it seems that Sony is really keen on getting as many productions done as they can while the water is warm, so to speak (most industry folks are expecting more shut downs in the Fall once flu season begins and the second wave of COVID-19 is expected to hit). To that end, the studio is working towards some unconventional means to get Holland’s work on Uncharted done and dusted in time for him to be back stateside to do Spidey. That might mean shooting out of order to complete Holland’s scenes and it might mean starting work on Spidey without the lead on set, but from what I’m hearing, studios are stepping WAY outside of their comfort zones to get things done during these crazy days.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been banging the “don’t worry about start dates” drum for a while because right now there’s just no way to be sure when things will start, pause, restart and finish; however, in this instance there were so many connected pieces along with the planning around unconventional work by the studios that I thought it was worth the chance to put it out there knowing a COVID spike could happen in 3 weeks putting everything on hold again and making me look dumber than normal. The best we can do now is wait and see, but it’s good to see studios addressing these issues and trying to make hay while the sun is shining.