The waiting game is tough. Thanks to the surplus of scrutiny on pop culture it’s rare that a project sneaks up on fans. Many of the most anticipated projects experience delays and in today’s environment, the lack of instant gratification can be excruciating. What follows are examples of projects both past and in the future we waited (or are waiting) forever for.

Travis Newton on Prometheus

David from Prometheus
I am entirely too sympathetic to robots, including this one.

It’s not like the Alien ever really left movie screens for an excruciatingly long time. Even after the main series ended with Alien: Resurrection, we got still got AVP in 2004 and AVP: Requiem in 2007. Though they have their moments, those AVP movies are just plain lousy. And they’re not canonical, either. So even though the Alien never really left, fans like me were still waiting for the one day that Ridley Scott or James Cameron might come back to the franchise.

It wasn’t initially obvious that Prometheus was an Alien prequel. Back in 2009, a few reputable sources reported that Ridley Scott would produce a new Alien movie directed by a guy named Carl Rinsch. That didn’t pan out. But not long after that, Fox officially announced that Ridley Scott would be directing a sci-fi movie called Paradise, which they would release in 2012. That film was eventually re-titled Prometheus. And while there were whispers of the film’s ties to Alien, everyone involved was very cagey. The actors weren’t giving straight answers to questions about the film’s status in the canon.

But when Fox ripped the mystery box wide open, we got an Alien prequel that asked more questions than it answered. Oh, and there were no Aliens in it. Now, I’m a Prometheus apologist. I unabashedly love the movie, flaws and all. But the anticipation leading up to it felt like an itch that had been building since I first saw Alien. I haven’t felt anything like it since, even for The Force Awakens.

Nick Nunziata on Peeping Tom

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Six years is a long time to wait for an album. Especially from someone like Mike Patton. A ubiquitous fixture on the music scene ever since hitting it big with Faith No More, Patton didn’t seem to go six months without a collaboration, or guest appearance hitting shelves. He was in multiple bands and it seemed as if fans had everything they needed. Until he teased Peeping Tom. He said it was an album of the kind of music he would make that was radio-friendly in a perfect world. Fans could not have been more in a thrall over it. Mike Patton is not only an amazing creator of music (with the most range in the universe) but if anyone could defeat the soul-crushing world of pop music it’d be him.

Peeping Tom kept getting pushed to the back-burner and when it finally was released it didn’t change the world of music. Not by any noticeable measure. It’s a really good album, though. With collaborators like Rahzel, Dan the Automator, Kool Keith, Norah Jones, and Massive Attack it was the product of too much hype and too long a wait. The reality is that Patton’s music isn’t for the mainstream.

Andrew Hawkins on The Scarlet Gospels

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It took 25 years for Clive Barker to release a follow-up to the story that inspired Hellraiser. The Hellbound Heart managed to be one of the most influential and controversial novellas of its day and still stands as an excellent read. There’s a reason why Stephen King said, “I have seen the future of the horror genre, and its name is Clive Barker.”

The Scarlet Gospels is still fresh enough that it hasn’t quite established its status as a classic horror work. The book takes place in the same realm as The Hellbound Heart but seems to veer between the original story and the world established by the films. The decision to make it a tie-in with Lord of Illusions lead character Harry D’Amour was an interesting one and many fans of Hellbound found it unnecessary.

Hellraiser fans love Pinhead and the cenobites. Our look at whether or not a Scarlet Gospels film would work goes into detail about how the book pans out, but it really is more of a Harry story than not. If the fans had gotten what they wanted, Clive Barker would have made a cover to cover rehash of what we’ve gotten used to with the Hellraiser franchise. It’s good that we finally got more to read, but hopefully, this won’t be the last time we see Pinhead from the author.

Brandon Marcus on Mad Men Season Five

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Season four of Mad Men ended on October 17, 2010. Like every season of the show, things were left hanging in the finale and fans were eager to return as soon as possible. Well, they had to wait. A long time. Season five of Mad Men didn’t hit the airwaves until March 25, 2012. That’s an incredibly lengthy delay for one of the most talked about shows on the air.

What caused the extended hiatus of Don Draper, Peggy Olson and there of the rest of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Heated contract negotiations between AMC and the show’s creator Matthew Weiner. At the center of their conflict was AMC’s insistence on cutting two minutes from every episode to allow for more ad time. While it’s a little humorous that Mad Men was delayed because of advertising, it sure wasn’t funny at the time. Fans were furious and urged Weiner and AMC to sort their troubles out so the show could push ahead into its final seasons. It was another in a line of public relationship fiascos that made AMC look like a bully against its creative forces. Don’t expect to see Weiner return to the network anytime soon.

In the end, the two parties hashed it out and Mad Men returned and was wonderful. Why would we expect anything else? The wait was long but worth it.

Eric Fuchs on The Winds of Winter

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Back in 2011, I remember reacting with horror and rage that A Dance With Dragons ended on a cliffhanger. Because at that point the later books to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series were long overdue. The wait for A Dance With Dragons had been six long years. In some cases, fans had not heard from major characters like Jon Snow since the year 2000. The wait for the next book, The Winds of Winter, I guessed was going to be five years. This summer my least optimistic estimate proved too hopeful. The Winds of Winter is still unfinished. Nobody has any idea when we may see it.

George R. R. Martin’s series has grown into the biggest pop culture phenomenon of the decade thanks to the HBO series. A lot of the show’s later series have been spent trying to not overtake the books. Pacing problems have ensued as the creators were certain Martin’s books would give them the road map they needed to finish the series. This past season was a final surrender to inevitability. A Game of Thrones will finish the A Song of Ice and Fire series in its own way. We book readers grow ever more anxious in our wait for the true ending as intended by its author.

Graham Host on Kingdom Hearts III

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Something that has definitely been too long coming is Kingdom Hearts III. The last numbered game came out back in 2005. Admittedly, there have been other Kingdom Hearts titles in the meantime. But these handheld games have mostly been backstory and usually contributed little to the ongoing story. With a delightful blend of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy franchise melding with Disney’s endless rows of content, Kingdom Hearts has a unique universe all of its own. There had been little news for Kingdom Hearts III until a few years ago when it was unveiled at E3 2013 alongside Final Fantasy XV — also deserving of an appearance on this list — so things were looking promising for Kingdom Hearts III appearing in stores.

Yet it has been fairly quiet in the years since. Only a few trailers have been released so far with so little news from Square Enix. In fact, the company has yet to say what year the game will be released! Series director Tetsuya Nomura has given us updated and high-definition remasters of previous games and is set to release a ‘prologue’ game to the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III called Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. That Kingdom Hearts 2.8 remake got delayed to 2017, making Kingdom Hearts III seem more likely for 2018. For now, we can only wait – increasingly impatiently – for a release date.

Drew Dietsch on Don Quixote

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If you wanted to single out a Holy Grail of tenuous projects, it’s Monty Python member Terry Gilliam’s seemingly cursed Don Quixote project. Over the course of seventeen years, the director of Brazil, The Fisher King, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and 12 Monkeys has attempted to get this passion project off the ground only for fate to dash his dreams.

The story is a riff on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; an advertising executive is thrown back in time and becomes the unwitting sidekick to the famously absurd Don Quixote. The film entered into production in 1998 but a number of unforeseen difficulties caused the entire project to shut down. This disintegration was captured in the necessary documentary Lost in La Mancha. It captures the terrifying insanity that is filmmaking.

Gilliam was just about to start up a new version of the film this month but financing problems have halted the start of shooting. The director is adamant that the film will be made, but can it even live up to nearly two decades of hype? Even if it doesn’t, it will be one of the most anticipated pictures in cinema history. If it ever gets made.

Nick Peron on Super Mario Bros. 2

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Just a little over twenty-three years ago Princess Daisy said:

“You guys gotta come with me! I need your help!”

To which, Luigi asks “Why, what’s wrong?”

Princess Daisy: “You’re not going to believe this!”

Mario says he does, and they star grabbing their things. Fade to black. Roll credits.

Are you @#$ing kidding me? Oh, I know what you’re thinking gentle reader, “Super Mario Bros. was the worst video game movie ever!” I 100% agree with you. Super Mario Bros. is one of the most disappointing moments of my childhood. But what about that cliffhanger? What happens next?

Don’t mistake me: I am not concerned about what happens next because I care. I want to know what happens next to see badly they could have continued to butcher the franchise. From magic jumping boots to weaponizing the Super Scope 6 to Goombas being massive dinosaurs with tiny pinheads, not to mention King Koopa being played by Dennis Hopper. Whatever they had in line for the sequel couldn’t do anything more than make this turkey seem better by comparison. I want to see Hammer Brothers that are dinosaurs with little stubby arms that flail robo-hammers. Spinies that are actually normal guys with stupid spiky backpacks. Buzzy Beetles that sound like Ringo Star (played by Ringo Star)! I want to see it all! Yet, here I am, over twenty-three years later, denied. DENIED!… Anyone out there want to do a Kickstarter?

Nick Nunziata
Nick Nunziata created CHUD.com.