Boy, this is just a fat disappointment. Perhaps a smidge over-dramatic, admittedly, but that’s the only succinct word I could easily muster when reading that stop-motion master Henry Selick‘s Disney project — such a promising string of words! — is now a thing of the past. Variety informs us the studio have put a halt to his year-long production on this secret project, a move that’s all the more surprising when a release date of October 4th, 2013 had already been set.

But therein lies the central problem: It’s reported that his project — possibly titled Shademaker and, possibly, a scary kid’s film — “wasn’t where it needed to be to meet its planned release date” (Cue rant on the modern studio obsession with meeting pre-determined times.) Oddly enough, the Selick-helmed take on Neil Gaiman‘s acclaimed novel, The Graveyard Book, is still set up with the studio — only, for a short time? That decision to kick out the plug came from Alan Horn himself, and I wouldn’t be terribly shocked to see this get the axe next. (Excuse me for having some doubts about their provided reasons.)

Selick has the chance to take this deceased project to some other studio so, if he simply decides to pick up the pieces — after a year of work, it’s hard to see why he wouldn’t — The Graveyard Book is even further away. Should Disney not feel like waiting for him, perhaps it’ll be out of his hands for good. Either way, this is one weird time for the creator.

Is it disheartening to hear what’s happened with Selick’s project? Are you hoping to see it come back?

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