- The Blair Witch Project co-writer and co-director Eduardo Sánchez reveals details about an unmade prequel script on a recent podcast episode.
- The prequel script would have focused on the story of Elly Kedward, believed to be the original Blair Witch, and included Native influences.
- The prequel would have been part of a series of period piece movies and would have led into a sequel six to ten years later.
Details about the unmade prequel to The Blair Witch Project have been revealed by the movie’s co-writer and co-director Eduardo Sánchez. The original movie, which was released in 1999, was a found footage phenomenon to the point that many viewers were convinced it was a true story. It followed three student filmmakers (Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, and Joshua Leonard playing themselves) getting lost in the woods and tormented by a supernatural presence while shooting a documentary about a local Burkittsville, Maryland legend known as the Blair Witch.
Sánchez appeared on a recent episode of the Cult FM podcast where he discussed the legacy of the original Blair Witch Project. He also revealed details of an unmade prequel script that he and co-writer Daniel Myrick co-wrote a decade ago. The movie, which “had a lot of Native influence,” would have followed the story of Elly Kedward (the woman believed to be the original Blair Witch), and been part of a series of period piece movies that also included the story of child murderer Rustin Parr, eventually leading into a sequel set six to ten years later. Read Sánchez’s full quote below:
In our mythology, as far as the Blair Witch is concerned, this thing existed long before it was called the Blair Witch. The Native Americans have been living with this thing for way before Europeans got here. (Myrick and I) wrote a (prequel) to our movie probably more than ten years ago now. Lionsgate paid us and it was a legit, ‘We’re gonna let you guys write a script.’ We were really proud of the script and Lionsgate really did love the script, they just didn’t want to spend – it was a little bit too expensive for them to pull the trigger on it. I understand why they hesitated. But we wrote this script and it had a lot of Native American kind of influence, like you would see this guy on horseback and there was even a scene that gave the origins of the stick figures, why the stick figures were there. … That was the original idea for the Blair Witch movies, we wanted to bounce around in time. If we had been able to do it, we would have gone back and done the Elly Kedward story, which was the original Blair Witch, which would have had a lot of Native influence, at least a few Native American characters. Then we wanted to go and do a Rustin Parr story. We wanted to do these period piece horror movies, then eventually go into a sequel, six years down the road or ten years down the road. But unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for us to do it.
Is There a Future for the Blair Witch Franchise?
Sánchez and Myrick’s unmade Blair Witch franchise sounds like it could potentially have been a success, despite Lionsgate’s budget concerns. In addition to being the first time the pair would have returned as the major creative driving force behind a project in the franchise, their idea has been proven profitable by Netflix’s popular Fear Street trilogy, which was released in 2021. Those three movies, which were released a week apart, had a framing narrative set in the first movie’s time period of 1994 while each subsequent entry explored further into the past of the cursed town of Shadyside.
While it’s unknown how a Blair Witch prequel would have performed at the time, neither of the movie’s two actual follow-ups were well received. While 2000’s non-found footage Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 made $47.7 million off its $15 million budget, its Rotten Tomatoes scores reflect a dismal 14% from critics and 18% from audiences. Adam Wingard’s 2016 Blair Witch made a similar amount with an even smaller $5 million budget, but it hardly fared better, with 38% from critics and 31% from audiences.
The Blair Witch Project reportedly has another upcoming movie in development with director Oliver Park at the helm. However, it’s possible that the movie doesn’t come to fruition or fails to meet audience expectations. If so, the franchise could probably use the shot in the arm that the return of Myrick and Sánchez would provide.
Source: Cult FM