The director of The Thing 2011, a prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing, regrets FX decisions and the lack of a sequel

A dozen years have gone by since the release of director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing (watch the prequel HERE). Looking back at the project now, van Heijningen has some regrets over the way the special effects were handled on the film, and that he was never able to make the sequel they had plans for.

Directed by van Heijningen from a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer and based on the short story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell (using the pen name Don A. Stuart), The Thing 2011 has the following synopsis: After Norwegian researchers discover an alien ship buried in the ice, paleontologist Kate Lloyd joins the team at the isolated Arctic outpost to investigate. She finds an organism that appears to have perished in the crash eons ago but, in fact, is about to awake. Freed from its icy prison, the insidious life-form goes on the attack. Paranoia spreads like wildfire among the crew as they fight to survive against a creature that assumes the shapes of its victims.

The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Paul Braunstein, Trond Espen Seim, Kim Bubbs, Jørgen Langhelle, Jan Gunnar Røise, Stig Henrik Hoff, Kristofer Hivju, Jo Adrian Haavind, Carsten Bjørnlund, Jonathan Lloyd Walker, Ole Martin Aune Nilsen, and Michael Brown.

Speaking with Syfy Wire, van Heijningen said, “We fantasized about a sequel. Kate would escape and would be picked up at sea and tries to warn the world at an oil platform near the South Pole. The monster would break loose on the the rig. I liked the oil rig mayhem idea.

The sequel didn’t happen because The Thing 2011 was a critical and financial failure – but the director hopes it will be re-discovered by viewers who aren’t “too close” to Carpenter’s film to go along with his take on the concept. “The Carpenter version was so good and a lot of fans were almost offended by the prequel and didn’t see the necessity for a follow-up. But now I fully understand that it was a bit early.

One issue a lot of viewers have with the film is the fact that the practical special effects created by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. of Amalgamated Dynamics were covered up by underwhelming CGI effects during post-production… a disappointment made even worse since Carpenter’s film is known for its incredible practical effects. The director told Syfy Wire, “I know this is a debated topic, but looking back, we were caught in a cross-zone where animatronics were old-fashioned and the CGI wasn’t good enough. We made the wrong decision to do it in post-production [when it came to] making the monster design in the computer. I regret that now.

What do you think of Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s 2011 version of The Thing? Do you think the director is right to regret the decision made regarding the effects, and do you wish the oil rig sequel had been made? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

The Thing 2011

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