Fox and director Wes Ball are preparing to start filming their Mouse Guard comic book movie in early 2019. Ball made his feature directorial debut on Fox's Maze Runner adaptation in 2014 and ultimately went on to helm all three entries in the subsequent trilogy (which grossed a collective $949 million at the global box office). Ball became attached to direct Mouse Guard back in September 2017, just a few months before his delayed Maze Runner finale, The Death Cure, hit theaters the following January.
The Mouse Guard comics are written and illustrated by David Petersen and been published bi-monthly since 2006. Story-wise, the series takes place in the medieval era of an alternate universe and follows a brotherhood of anthropomorphized mice (known as the Mouse Guard) as they spend their days protecting their fellow mice from predators and those that would do them harm. Fox's Mouse Guard adaptation already has a script draft in place by D.W. Harper (Alien: Covenant), as drawn from an earlier screenplay written by Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
THS reports that Fox and Ball are currently gearing up to begin shooting Mouse Guard on film stages in Los Angeles in January 2019. The movie will have a rather hefty $150 million budget and use motion-capture tech to bring its sentient mouse protagonists to life with photorealistic CGI on the big screen. Mouse Guard will be similar to the recent Planet of the Apes films in that regard - making it all the more fitting that Matt Reeves (director of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes) is serving as a producer on the project.
Petersen's Mouse Guard source material is mostly appropriate for all ages, yet is often willing to venture into more emotionally mature territory and place its furry heroes in mortal danger, in order to give their adventures some proper stakes. At the same time, Bell's Mouse Guard adaptation is unlikely to go quite as dark as either The Maze Runner or Reeves' Planets of the Apes movies, especially when it comes to their themes about the harsh realities of war and revolution. Rather, the film will probably hew closer to Disney and Lucasfilm's Star Wars movies, when it comes to their overall tone.
Speaking of the Mouse House - there's a real possibility that Disney will have finalized its acquisition of Fox just before (or shortly after) Ball's adaptation goes into production, assuming that THS' report is accurate. The latter studio clearly sees Mouse Guard as something with franchise potential (hence the huge budget) and the property does make more sense as a Fox release than a Disney one, for the reasons mentioned. Still, as with all projects that are currently in the works at Fox, it will be interesting to see how Mouse Guard is impacted (or not impacted) by the Disney-Fox deal, at the end of the day.
We will bring you additional details on Mouse Guard as they become available.