Riverdale was almost a movie about Archie time-traveling to the future and being played by Louis C.K.
In 2013, Riverdale showrunner and Archie comics chief creative officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and director Jason Moore started pitching a coming-of-age drama film about the beloved comic book character. The film was in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but many studios were not excited by this pitch.
Warner Bros. was somewhat interested in the idea, but Roberto and Jason had to get their idea past the vice president, who felt their film needed to be more high-concept than a coming-of-age story. The VP suggested Archie time-traveling or using portals to hop dimensions. He also wanted Louis C.K. to play Archie.
Roberto and Jason considered it for some time, but ultimately decided it was not the kind of movie they wanted to create. About a year later, a producer at Warner Bros. got a job with Berlanti productions and asked Roberto if he wanted to rework his movie vision for TV.
Jeffrey Reddick wrote “Flight 180” as a spec script (a non-commissioned and unsolicited screenplay) for his agent. What happens in the episode is pretty similar to the movie. An airplane passenger has a vision of the plane’s destruction and tries to cheat death.
A major difference is that in the original script, the passenger having the vision was Scully’s brother. The script’s main focus was on Scully’s relationship with her brother rather than the concept of cheating death. Reddick then decided to transform it into a feature film script where the concept was the focus.
The Queen’s Gambit novel came out in 1983, and in 1992, writer Allan Shiach optioned the book to be developed as a feature film. After writing the film, Heath Ledger was one of the people who reached out to Shiach about directing the project. Shiach then recruited Elliot Page to play the role of Beth Harmon.
They planned to make the movie toward the end of 2008. However, Ledger died a few months before production was supposed to start on the film. Shiach felt that Ledger was the right director for the film adaptation, so the film went on hold. Years later, screenwriter Scott Frank revitalized Shiach’s script and reworked it into a seven-episode miniseries for Netflix.
The film’s writer and director Amy Heckerling said that 20th Century Fox was looking for a show about cool teenagers. Heckerling then created the chic, popular character Cher Horowitz for a show titled No Worries.
However, when they presented the No Worries script, Fox didn’t get it and felt it needed more boy characters. Fox felt no guys would watch it if it focused too much on girls.
Eventually, the idea got in front of a producer who had a movie deal with Paramount, and Clueless was made. A year after the movie’s release, a sequel series premiered and lasted three seasons.
The third and last installment of The Best Man franchise was originally going to be a movie instead of a miniseries.
In 2014 — a year after the second movie, The Best Man Holiday, came out — it was announced that there would a third movie in the franchise. It was titled The Best Man Wedding, but due to scheduling conflicts with the cast and director, production never started. Based on the cliffhanger from the second movie, it can be assumed that the third movie would center around Quentin’s wedding.
In 2022, The Best Man: The Final Chapters, an eight-episode miniseries, was released on Peacock as the last installment of the franchise. The first two episodes of the series are about Quentin getting married.
The straight-to-DVD movie Cruel Intentions 2 was actually the first two episodes of what would’ve been the Cruel Intentions prequel series.
After the success of Cruel Intentions, a spinoff prequel series about Sebastian and Kathryn called Manchester Prep was developed and two episodes were filmed. The studio was unimpressed and felt it wouldn’t work on network television.
To save their investment, they repackaged the episodes as a film and sent it direct to video.
Ian Brennan, one of the creators of Glee, wrote a dark comedy screenplay about a high school glee club. He had a hard time selling the project, but years later, Ryan Murphy got a hold of the script, loved it, and then helped him turn the concept into a TV show.
In a Glee podcast, Ryan Murphy shared that in Ian Brennan’s original script, Mr. Schue was addicted to crystal meth and was touching some of the students inappropriately. Ryan described the first script as “the NC-17 version of show choir with, like, a weird protagonist who was unraveling.”
The 1979 movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture began as a potential TV reboot called Stark Trek: Phase II.
Star Trek: The Original Series ran from 1966–1969. In the ’70s, they decided to revive the series as Star Trek: Phase II for the launch of the Paramount network, with most of the cast returning.
Paramount then decided against spending money on the series because they felt they wouldn’t get a return on the investment. They then repurposed the scripts of Phase II for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That… largely deals with Carrie’s life after her husband, Big, dies of a heart attack, which was also the plot of the never-produced third film.
Journalist James Andrew Miller claimed he saw an early version of the third movie script and that in it Big died relatively early of a heart attack in the shower. The rest of the movie would be about Carrie grieving and recovering from the loss.
It’s no secret that a third Sex and the City film didn’t happen because Kim Cattrall didn’t want to return for it because she didn’t like Samantha’s storyline in the script.
Mulholland Drive was originally conceived as a TV spinoff of Twin Peaks centering around the character Audrey Horne.
The series’ co-creator Mark Frost said, “We had considered spinning off the Audrey character and setting her loose in Hollywood, in a modern noir. We had very preliminary talks; it drifted away, and then six years later, I hear it’s going be a pilot at ABC.”
After ABC passed on the pilot, the other series co-creator David Lynch rewrote it as a feature film script with all new characters who weren’t related to the Twin Peaks universe.
Back in 2015, the show’s creator, Dan Fogelman, wrote an 80-page movie script about the Pearson family. The movie would have a reveal at the end — similar to the pilot episode — showing that the characters were siblings. However, in the movie, they would’ve been octuplets instead of triplets.
Fogelman then realized he didn’t want to end these characters’ stories there and wanted it to be a continuous journey, which is how the show came to be.
CBS ultimately decided not to make the pilot, so Reese and Wernick rewrote it and tried to sell it to other networks. After many rejections, they chose to turn what would’ve been the first two episodes of the show into a movie screenplay.
The Witcher was going to be a Netflix movie, but the team at Netflix advised producers not to because there was too much source material — eight books — to adapt into one standalone film.
After many conversations, the producers got on board with adapting the book series into a television series.
The pilot script was written by Eliot Laurence, and the film’s director Shira Piven said, “I think he wanted it to be the kind of pilot for a show that would be on HBO or Showtime; kind of a more interesting cable show.”
Piven was interested in his idea but felt strongly that his idea was a movie. She asked him to rewrite it as a screenplay and he did.
The Sopranos was originally conceived and pitched as a feature film.
David Chase, co-creator of the series, said the movie pitch was about a mobster in therapy having issues with his mother, who was also involved in gang-related conflicts.
His manager suggested that he turn it into a TV pitch, and Chase revamped the idea so it could focus on the women in the mobster’s life as well as his family, because that worked for television.
The 2020 film Capone started as a pilot written in the 1970s for a show that would’ve been called Cicero.
Television writer Walon Green wrote the pilot script in the ’70s about Al Capone. The concept was picked up by Warner Bros. in 2010 and the idea was readapted for a film with Tom Hardy attached to the project. However, production never started and the movie was scrapped.
But Tom Hardy wanted to play Al Capone so badly that in 2016 he reignited the project with director Josh Trank. In 2020, Capone was released.
In 2011, it was announced that Universal Studios was developing a film adaptation of the book 13 Reasons Why starring Selena Gomez as Hannah Baker.
But years later, in 2015, it was announced that Netflix would be adapting the book into a series with Gomez executive producing.