A leaked document suggests that J.J. Abrams’ long rumored Portal movie is somehow still in Warner Bros’ slate of movies still in production for 2023 to 2024.
What Portal movie? I’m sure many of you reading this are already asking in your heads. But all the way back in 2013, nearly a decade ago, J.J. Abrams went onstage with Gabe Newell in that year’s D.I.C.E. game conference to reveal, in a joint keynote presentation, that they are talking about making either a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie together.
As surprising as it may seem, this pre-production period has continued for this extended period of time. In 2016, Abrams revealed that they were still looking for pitches from scriptwriters, this time honing in on producing a Portal movie. He had also bemoaned that the projects they had received thus far were not understanding the game and what made it good.
Jumping to May of 2021. Abrams revealed that “the thing’s finally on the rails.” He did not elaborate further on the specifics of the production process.
Now, Abrams chosen production company Warner Bros. had itself had a tumultuous few months, following David Zaslav’s ascendance as the entertainment company’s CEO, now known as Warner Bros. Discovery. Zaslav famously cancelled multiple Warner Bros. projects in film and TV, in many cases without properly informing the creators of those projects. Most famous of these cancellations was the Batgirl movie, which had already wrapped up production and was waiting for release.
While most fans bemoaned these cancellations rightly, particularly the unprofessional way the new leadership went about them, there is at least a partial method to the madness. Zaslav had bought Warner Bros for $ 40 billion, and that included the media conglomerate’s staggering debt.
So all these cuts have been to offload as much of that debt as possible. While these projects themselves do not incur debt, the money Zaslav is raising from selling and cancelling projects is what should presumably whittle that debt down. As of this writing, he is mulling a sale of Warner’s prodigious music archive.
So it is quite surprising that this Abrams’ project that’s been sitting for nearly a decade in pre-production hasn’t been cancelled yet. For what it’s worth, Zaslav could still make that decision at some point, or Abrams could opt to shop the project around to a new production company to keep it alive.
But most fans are probably surprised to learn that J.J. Abrams has been true to his word on getting a Portal movie off the ground all this time after all. Hopefully we do see this project go all the way to the finish line, for Chell and GladOS to follow Sonic, Mario, and Lara on the big screen. For what it’s worth, taking the small screen with Joel, Geralt, and Lucyna wouldn’t be a bad place to land either.