Usually, live-action movies starring talking animals come with certain expectations attached to them, expectations that generally have to do with the age of the intended audience. There have been some exceptions to be sure, but for the most part, talking animals in live-action films have earned their reputation.
All of that may set to change as a new report suggests a live-action adaptation of the critically acclaimed comic series Mouse Guard is in the works. Not only does it have solid source material to work from, but it's picked up Rogue One: A Star Wars Story scribe Gary Whitta to write the treatment.
According to Variety, Fox is developing Mouse Guard as a live-action film using the performance-capture technology that was used in the recent Planet of the Apes films. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves is serving as producer on the project through his 6th and Idaho production company. Boom! Comics (the publisher of the Mouse Guard series) has a say in the production as well, with Boom!'s Adam Yoelin and David Petersen serving as co-producers alongside 6th and Idaho.
Mouse Guard creator David Peterson has been notoriously protective of his series in the past, as several studios have approached him about the film rights, but until now none shared his vision for an adaptation. As of the time of this writing, the FAQ on the Mouse Guard website states:
Is there a Mouse Guard movie in the works?
David has spoken to several producers, agents, and studios over the years, and while there has been talk. no movie deal has been made. David wants a Mouse Guard movie to be done correctly, adding more depth and detail to his world, keeping the all-ages weight of the stories, and not losing sight of the source material. This would be a CG mouse movie, so that the detail of fur and lighting, and cloth, etc could be exploited to go beyond what David already does in the comics and make the story all the more believable.
Recently David has been talking to a studio who wants to do all those things. When/if something happens, an announcement will be made.
This will likely be updated soon, possibly with more details about the upcoming Fox adaptation.
This is great news for fans of Mouse Guard, as it will not only allow them to see their favorite characters brought to life but it will also bring more attention to the series. Though a story about a brotherhood of mice in the Middle Ages who seek to protect other mice might sound like kid stuff, the series is a compelling read that has beautiful illustrations to boot. If Fox has gotten Peterson to sign off on the film then there's every reason to believe that Whitta will draft something that captures the best of the series for the screen.
Some fans are likely wondering why Mouse Guard is going live-action instead of animated, especially since the illustrations in the comic series would translate wonderfully to 2D animation. It might even make some worry that Mouse Guard is going to get the Alvin and the Chipmunks treatment and try to integrate human characters that are completely absent from the comics. Given the talent already associated with the project and Peterson's approval, though, there's a good chance that the end result will be worthy of the source material.
Mouse Guard does not yet have a release date, but Screen Rant will keep you posted as more information becomes available.