Of Course, Of Course, they have all been in Developement Hell
Ah, the movies. It's one of the world's greatest pastimes. As we approach 100 years of Hollywood, sit back for a moment and think about just how many films have been made in one century. The volume is astronomical. Of course, there are many other mediums for entertainment too, comics, books, video games, and others. Many icons of various entertainment mediums have graced the silver screen. Many consider a film adaptation the final or greatest step for franchises, stories, or characters born elsewhere. However, just because something is beloved by many does not mean the process is easy.
Before you in the puzzle, a shot of the streets of Hollywood stand characters like Indiana Jones, Spiderman, the Bat Signal (of Batman, duh), a Xenomorph, a Yuatja Predator, and Godzilla. All have been, or still are, stuck in a little ol' place called Developement Hell.
There are many causes to Developement Hell, and often these causes may build up and suffocate a film to its death. That's assuming enough resources haven't been spent already, creating a fiscal point of no return.
Directors, Screenwriters, Producers, and even the cast put in their two cents on projects, and often more. Ocassionally opinions clash over the direction of the project (it's atmosphere, character interpretation, budget) and it stalls. This is (was, hopefully was) the case with the long awaited Indiana Jones IV, which required free schedules for Steven Spielberg (a busy busy man), George Lucas (who was focused on his Star Wars prequels) and Harrison Ford. On top of that, the trio agreed that they would unanimously approve a script. Thus the conditions were finally met, 16 years after Jones galloped into the sunset at the end of his third film. Also, Sigorney Weaver holds a bit of attachment to the Alien saga, which helped launch her career. Her involvement stagnated the third (on top of budget and directoral problems) and upcoming fifth films.
Developement Hell becomes even more likely when you mix intellectual properties (crossovers), especially if it means writing checks to two different companies. Both Freddy vs. Jason and Alien vs. Predator faced developement for over a decade. Freddy vs. Jason immediatly returned to Hell as concepts for a worthy sequel are being shopped around, after the inclusion of Sam Raimi's Ash from Evil Dead was shot down by the man himself.
Also there is the bane of comics or other long standing serieses, the task of adapting a massive messy conglomerate of a confusing continuity to the silver screen. Spiderman was conceived in the early 90's but didn't see a release for twelve years, some billion directors and scripts later. Both Batman and Superman stalled when the filmakers were simply at a loss of how to pick up the story again. For Batman, he actually saw Hell twice. The one more well known is the long awaited (but ultimately inferior) fifth film Batman Begins, but the series original birth came from a decade long effort by Batman fan Tim Burton. Part of that Hell caused a giant rift between Warner Bros. and Robin Williams over the role of the Joker.
Another tragic cause of Developement Hell is the complete upheavel of it's production team. Ah Godzilla, America had been looking for a piece of Japan's delicious radioactive pie since the mid-80's with Godzilla 3-D (it was Gorgo, starring a stopmotion Godzilla and San Francisco). After the budget costs went wild, it was scrapped until TriStar picked up the rights and handed the project to the writers behind Disney's Aladdin, who were avid fans. The film was slated for 1994. Directors came and went, and the task was hindered by a strict set of guidelines given to keep Godzilla's spirit. Ultimately a little film called Independence Day came along in 1996, which featured massive urban destruction and made millions. Sony/TriStar gave the entire Godzilla team the boot and hired Roland Emmerich (king of bull shit before Uwe Boll) to finish the project, which pretty much had a complete reboot. The original premise was lost until the internet came around, and one loyal artist by the name of Todd Tenant is doing an online comic on the script.
Of course, Developement Hell need not be movie related. With the ever improving technology in the gaming industry, a project that takes to long becomes obsolete in its interface and requires either a massive overhaul
or a complete restart from scratch. This was the fate of Fable, which failed to deliver after nearly a decade of hype, or the current predicament of Duke Nukem Forever, which a decade later still will be done "When it's done." Ultimately, among gamers, Duke has become the joke of the community when it comes to Developement Hell.