This news came as a surprise to the film community, who were expecting a November premiere, as per screenwriter Eric Roth. Back in February, in conversation with IndieWire, Roth seemed sure the movie would be out come the end of the year, saying Scorsese was “well on his way to getting the editing done”. It’s entirely likely this is still happening, but Ellwood’s insight as an industry insider is not to be dismissed.
Although it was reported the Jesse Plemons/Leonardo DiCaprio led movie wrapped up production in September 2021, the sheer scope of the project could justify the release date push back.
Killers of the Flower Moon is based on a 2017 non-fiction book of the same title, about a series of murders that took place in the early 1920s against the Native American Osage community of Osage County, Oklahoma. The author of the book, journalist David Grann, estimates that hundreds of Osage Native Americans were killed in a dispute over oil deposits found underneath their land by profit-hungry administrators and businessmen. This case also marks one of the very first large-scale investigations of a recently-formed FBI.
Roth, who was in charge of adapting the book to the big screen, called it “a unique story that [he] knew nothing about”. He also hinted at another long runtime for Scorsese, who, he says, “doesn’t mind things being long; he encourages that.”
Scorsese’s movies are also known to have extended post-production periods, sometimes spanning 18 months between wrapping on set and a public premiere, like in The Irishman and Silence.
For all these reasons, it is totally plausible that Killers of the Flower Moon won’t be ready for a 2022 release. However, even if Scorsese should never be rushed, we will all still be hoping Gregory Ellwood is wrong and it won’t be that long before we’re graced with another Marty masterpiece on our screens.