Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. were to co-produce and co-finance the film. Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, and Avi Arad were listed as producers, with BioWare's own Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk and Casey Hudson serving as executive producers. Morgan Davis Foehl was hired to write the screenplay. In light of Legendary Pictures' divorce from Warner Bros., it considered tapping Universal Studios to distribute the film. Producer Avi Arad estimated the film would have debuted in 2018/'19.
Earlier reports indicated the film would have an original story featuring Commander Shepard. Legendary Pictures later announced the film's plot would have been an adaptation of the first game's story, centering on Commander Shepard's journey.
While the game allowed the player to make certain choices as Commander Shepard that affected the plot, including the Commander's gender, this will not be possible in the film medium. As such, the film's writer would have chosen a path that "...best supports the narrative of the movie and the motivations of its characters," while the Commander Shepard of the film will be a male.
Talk of a Mass Effect film in Hollywood began in 2007, with the release of the first game. Producer Avi Arad originally optioned the rights to adapt Mass Effect in September 2008, however no progress was made until May 2010 when it was announced that Legendary Pictures had acquired the feature rights to the Mass Effect franchise and would be producing the film in a co-production deal with Warner Bros.. Legendary's own Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni were announced to be producing alongside Arad and it was reported that Mark Protosevich, who had worked on 2007's I Am Legend and 2011's Thor, was in talks to write the screenplay.
According to BioWare's Executive Producer Casey Hudson, "At BioWare, we've always thought of Mass Effect as having the depth, emotion and plot twists perfectly suited for an adaptation to a motion picture. With Avi Arad and Legendary attached, we believe that the Mass Effect movie will be an extraordinary entertainment event that realizes our vision for the franchise and thrills fans." The film will be produced by Legendary Pictures with Avi Arad, and BioWare's Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuck, and Casey Hudson as executive producers.
On July 22, 2011, Legendary Pictures held a pre-production preview panel for some of their upcoming films, including Mass Effect, at San Diego's Comic-Con International. While nothing from the film was shown, Casey Hudson and screenwriter Mark Protosevich talked about the film and revealed some details about the production, such as BioWare's close involvement, their desire to avoid the trend of poor video game adaptations and some details about the plot.
Screenwriter Mark Protosevich left the project sometime in early 2012. It was announced on October 24, 2012 that Protosevich was replaced by Morgan Davis Foehl, who will be writing a new draft of the script. Protosevich has since reported that when he came onboard the project, the concept was a straight adaptation of the first game rather than a separate story set in the same universe. After going through a few drafts of the script, his superiors called in a replacement.
In August 2013, it was announced that Legendary Pictures would present the film to Universal Studios in the upcoming months, having distanced itself from Warner Bros. It is up to Universal whether the film will be distributed.
The project appears to have been shelved. According to BioWare veteran Mac Walters, "It felt like [they] were always fighting the IP," adding, "What story are we going to tell in 90 to 120 minutes? Are we going to do it justice?" When Legendary Pictures had a change in leadership, the studio began to consider turning it into a television series instead, and the producers also thought a clean slate would be best. Despite efforts by the concerned parties, nothing concrete ever materialized.
Walters remains positive that an adaptation will be made: it's "not a matter of if, but when" Hollywood takes a crack at "Mass Effect."
|Mass Effect Series|
|Games||Mass Effect (CE, ♫) • Mass Effect 2 (CE, ♫) • Mass Effect 3 (CE, ♫, Multiplayer) • Trilogy • Mass Effect Legendary Edition|
Mass Effect: Andromeda (DE, ♫, Multiplayer)
|Mobile Games and Apps||Mass Effect Galaxy • Mass Effect: Infiltrator • Mass Effect 3: Datapad • Mass Effect: Andromeda APEX HQ|
|Downloadable Content||Mass Effect • Mass Effect 2 • Mass Effect 3|
|Books||Revelation • Ascension • Retribution • Deception • Nexus Uprising • Initiation • Annihilation|
|Comics||Redemption • Evolution • Invasion • Homeworlds • Foundation • Incursion • Inquisition|
Conviction • Blasto: Eternity is Forever • He Who Laughs Best • Library Edition • Discovery
|Films||Paragon Lost (♫) • Mass Effect|