In 2002, film director Lars von Trier agreed to stage Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle in Bayreuth. The project was abandoned, however, after two years of preparation. For this article’s research, I conducted interviews with key persons involved with the project, not least Lars von Trier himself, and I was given access to unseen materials (documents, videotapes and other items) from the archives of Lars von Trier’s film company, Zentropa, which shed light both on the director’s plans for the production and on the process that would eventually spell the end of the project. The materials, however, turned out to illuminate not only what the opera world lost, but also what von Trier’s later films gained from his immersion into Wagner’s creative world. In this article I seek to map both the ill-fated process and explore the later benefits from it in the films Antichrist (2009), Nymphomaniac (2013) and, above all, Melancholia (2011), with its echoes of Wagner’s apocalyptic Götterdämmerung.