The Minecraft movie has found a director, and it’s Rob McElhenney, creator and star of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Mojang announced McElhenney’s role in a short blog post, but didn’t reveal much of anything else.
The Minecraft movie, which is being produced by Warner Bros., originally had Shawn Levy (director of “Night at the Museum”) slated to direct, but Levy left the project due to creative differences, supposedly. Levy had wanted to do a “Goonies”-style film, but Mojang shot his idea down. In Levy’s words, Mojang told him “that doesn’t sound like what we want. If we’re going to see a movie get made, we don’t know what we want, but that doesn’t feel right.”
Whoever the director may be, they have a tall order on their hands; Minecraft is not a narrative game. It has no characters to speak of and no plot. In fact, the Minecraft world itself hinges on the idea that you—the player—bring your own ideas to it and build them from the ground up. And of course, the sandbox building game has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide, making it vastly popular. The movie has a lot of expectations to live up to.
It will be interesting to see where McElhenney takes the franchise, especially in contrast with Telltale’s new Minecraft story mode game. Telltale is dealing with most of the same issues regarding Minecraft’s lack of narrative, and it’s unclear yet whether the movie and the game spinoff will have anything to do with each other, or how much of a hand Mojang will have in all of this.
McElhenney is probably best known for playing Mac on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” but is also a screenwriter, creator, developer, and executive producer on the show, on top of directing episodes on occasion.