War Eagles (1938-1939)

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War Eagles
Teaser for War Eagles
Alternate titles The War Eagles
Planned 1938-1939
Intended release 1938-1939
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War Eagles is an unproduced fantasy, adventure, and giant monster film proposal conceived by Willis O'Brien and Merian C. Cooper.


Just before World War II, a test pilot who was publicly humiliated and court-martialed for a plane stunt that publically endangered President Franklin D. Roosevelt takes the only job he can, that being of flying experimental planes from the North Pole to the South Pole. While flying over Antarctica, his plane is attacked by a figure resembling a large white bird, causing him to crash land on an uncharted island inhabited by dinosaurs, giant eagles, and a tribe of Norsemen called Arnland.

As the main character explores the island, encountering its inhabitants, he eventually meets a tribe of Norsemen, who have tamed the giant eagles. He eventually ends up befriending them and tames the island's apex predator, the legendary white eagle, the same eagle that had attacked his plane earlier. The main character helps the Norsemen defeat a group of Allosauruses that has terrorized their tribe for a long time. After that, he discovers that the island is also home to a Nazi base of operations who plan on invading the United States with planes, zeppelins, and a new electromagnetic pulse weapon.

The main character tells his newfound friends about it and convinces them to help him stop the invasion. He and the Norsemen take their eagles to the sky and start approaching the U.S. Due to the electromagnetic pulse weapon wiping out all electricity in the city, planes are now useless against the threat. The eagle riders and the Nazis end up confronting each other above New York City and a battle commences. After a triumphant battle, the eagle riders defeat the Nazis, saving the U.S. from the invasion.


The film was planned by Willis O'Brien and Merian C. Cooper, known for being the creators of King Kong, Cooper even envisioned the project as superior to King Kong. They planned the film's production between 1938 and 1939.[1][2] However, Cooper, having fought in World War I, abandoned the project to enroll in World War II, leaving no one in charge of it, and by the time he returned from the war, War Eagles was no longer considered relevant.[1]. Another reason for the project being shelved was due to how, at the time, Hollywood's main source of revenue was Europe, and with the Nazis expanding over Europe, most film companies (except Warner Bros.) did not want to offend a potentially profitable market.[1][3]

A novel by Carl Macek based on the story was published in 2008, 70 years after planning began for the film. Another novel adaptation and a history book would be made by David Conover and Phillip J. Riley only three years later after Macek's novel.



Weapons, vehicles, and races

  • The Norsemen living on Arnland
  • Nazi zeppelins
  • Nazi planes
  • Electromagnetic pulse weapon


As of 2023, three books based off of this idea have been made with the first one, a adaptation by Carl Macek called War Eagles, being published in 2008. The second was another adaptation made by David Conover, who also made a history book about the would-have-been film called WAR EAGLES - The Unmaking of an Epic. Both were published in 2011, only being separated from each other by three days.


Concept art and storyboards

Test footage



An article about the project was featured in an issue of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland.[1] Ray Harryhausen would later mention the film whenever studio executives interviewed him.[1][2][4] In the 1980s, Harryhausen brought up the film as a consideration to multiple companies after the success of Clash of the Titans; however, that would not succeed.[3] War Eagles reappeared as a section in the book Harryhausen: The Lost Movies, made by filmmaker and Ray Harryhausen Foundation trustee John Walsh.


This is a list of references for Kaiju No. 14/Sandbox/War Eagles. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]


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