Lost in Translation has covered several Spider-Man adaptations in the past, including Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and its reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man. Both focused on Peter Parker, the Spider-Man introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15. Spider-Man is Marvel’s flagship character. Whenever a new character gets a title, Spider-Man is there to reinforce the idea that the hero is part of the Marvel Universe. As a result, Spidey has met most of Marvel’s heavy hitters, from the Avengers to the X-Men. New York City may be a large city, but heroes will cross each others’ paths.
Peter, though, isn’t the only Spider-Man in Marvel Comics. Thanks to alternate universes, there can be an infinite number of Spider-Men. Indeed, some are from a different Marvel Universe, like the Spectacular Spider-Ham, who first appeared in Marvel Tails Starring Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham; Spider-Gwen, the Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 who became Spider-Woman, as seen in Edge of Spider-Verse #2; and Miles Morales, from Marvel’s Ultimate line, who took up the mantle of Spider-Man after Peter Parker died, as seen in Ultimate Fallout #4. In a possible future of the main Marvel Universe, Miguel O’Hara becomes Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2099. In the main continuity, Dr. Otto Octavius, Doc Octopus himself, once took over Peter’s body to become the Superior Spider-Man. And that’s just scratching the surface of Spider-Men, not even touching the versions that have appeared in animated series, in live action film and TV, and in video games, nor the Spider-related characters, like Spider-Woman, Venom, and Araña. Marvel released a limited series, Edge of the Spider-Verse, that featured stories of the various version of Spider-Man, bringing them together to fight the dangers of the Inheritors across the Marvel Multiverse.
Marvel does track its multiverses. Anything done under a Marvel logo, be it film, TV, or streaming, Even the company’s comics that aren’t part of the main continuity, like the New Universe and the mangaverse, are part of the overall multiverse. The Peter Parker from the classic cartoon is a different one from Tobey Maguire’s in the Raimi Spider-Man, who is a different one from the main continuity, but they are all Peter Parker and Spider-Man.
Pulling even a fraction of all the available Spider-People is daunting. The general audience is most familiar with Peter Parker, thanks to decades of him being the face of Spider-Man outside comics. Fans will know of the others, but the rest of the movie-going public might not. With a runtime of just under two hours, there’s not much space to introduce all of them in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, even if the number of alternate Spider-Beings is limited.
Into the Spider-Verse opens with Peter Parker (voiced by Chris Pine) introducing himself as Spider-Man, giving a brief rundown on who he is and what he’s done for ten years, with scenes taken from the various Spider-Media, from comics to film, and the different tie-ins, like the classic cartoon and a Christmas album. Once Peter’s intro is done, though, the focus turns to Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a high school student just starting at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions, a private school that only takes the best and brightest. Miles aced the entrance exam, but isn’t sure that he belongs there. At one point, he tries failing a true/false test, getting a zero. His teacher saw through it, though.
Miles’ life is complicated, like most teenagers’ lives are. He does wind up talking to another new student, “Wanda” (Hailee Steinfeld), who laughed at his lame excuse for being late for science class. Miles also sneaks out to meet up with his Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali), who shows him a safe spot to practice his graffiti. Aaron still has a shady side gig, the point where he and Miles’ father, police officer Jeff Davis (Brian Tyree Henry) have had arguments about leading to estrangement. As Miles works on his latest project, a radioactive spider, having escaped from Alchemex, lurks, eventually biting the teen.
The next day, the effects of the spider’s bite appear. Miles’ thoughts seem loud to him and are appearing on screen around him. His attempt to put to use some advice his uncle gave him on talking to girls fail horribly with Wanda when his hand gets stuck in her hair, leading to an impromptu haircut for her and stony silence for him. With nothing going right, Miles returns to his dorm room and flips through is roommate’s comics, finding the first Spider-Man comic and realizes that he’s having the same thoughts and problems the Peter Parker in the comic is having. Miles returns to the underground chamber where his artwork is and finds the dead spider. He then hears a fight nearby.
Spider-Man has located the Kingpin’s secret facility, being used to breach dimensional barriers to bring back Fisk’s deceased wife and son. The problem that Spidey has realized is that the device could collapse the space-time continuum, destroying not just Brooklyn, but multiple dimensions. Fisk’s device manages to lock on five other universes before Spider-Man can stop the process. The fight, though, leaves Spider-Man badly hurt. Spidey hands the key that can destroy the device to Miles, who sneaks away. Before he leaves, though, Miles witnesses Kingpin dealing the death blow to Spider-Man.
When news gets out about the hero’s death, New York City mourns. Peter Parker was well respected as both himself and as Spidey. His widow, Mary Jane (Zoë Kravitz), is surrounded by well wishers. Miles, still in shock and feeling responsible, attends funeral in the crowd in a cheap costume. He tries to train alone, but while he has Spider-Man’s agility, the rest isn’t there yet. To try to work out his thoughts, he heads to Peter’s gravestone. While there, a stranger approaches him. Miles reacts instinctively, knocking out the man. When he gets a closer look, he discovers that it’s a brunette Peter.
Once he recovers, Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), goes through the same intro Miles’ Peter had at the beginning, except this Spider-Man had been around for over twenty-five years, had been married to MJ but later divorced and hadn’t been taking it well. He’s older, heavier, and not quite on his game. The two head out to Alchemex’s headquarters in Harper Valley, where the plan is for Peter to sneak in, retrieve the files needed to recreate the key, now broken after Miles ran from Fisk’s henchmen, grab a bagel, and sneak out. Nothing in Peter B. Parker’s life ever goes smooth. He runs into Fisk’s chief researcher and Brooklyn Visions guest physics lecturer, Doctor Olivia “Liv” Octavius, Doc Ock (Kathryn Hahn) herself.
Miles and Peter escape the facility, lugging a desktop PC while being chased by armed mad scientists and Doc Ock as Miles is being taught how to use Peter’s web shooter. The competency of Miles’ late Spider-Man, though, means that the villains had to up their own game, and the pair are in deep trouble. However, a newcomer swings in to help. Spider-Woman, from another of the five dimensions, saves the boys and retrieves the computer before Doc Ock could grab it. “Wanda”, or, as she should be called, Gwen Stacy, gives her own backstory in the same manner as both Spider-Men before, this time with her own dimension’s Peter Parker having been the Lizard.
The three decide that the best place to try to figure things out is at the home of Peter’s Aunt May (Lily Tomlin). Aunt May had been expecting them and isn’t surprised at seeing her nephew at the door despite his funeral. She leads Miles, Peter, and Gwen to her Peter’s underground lair and introduces them to the other dimensional travellers – Peter Parker (Nicholas Cage), from 1933, in black and white, a masked detective in a noir pulp style; Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and her SP//dr mecha which she copilots with a radioactive spider; and Peter Porker (John Mulaney), the Spectacular Spider-Ham. The three go through their backstory in unison, much like the previous backstories.
With the five extra-dimension Spider-beings now gathered, the plan turns from stopping Kingpin to getting everyone home then stopping Kingpin. The problem is that there should be six, but the one from Miles’ dimension is dead. To avoid having anyone left behind, though. Miles has to step up, control his abilities, and become the new Spider-Man for his dimension.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may have done the impossible. The movie introduced Spideys that weren’t Peter Parker, provided their backstory, gave them all credible motivations, and made them all interesting, while still keeping to their comic origins. Even the animation styles used for the characters kept to their original titles. Spider-Ham’s animation harkens to both Disney and Warner Bros; Spider-Man Noir’s kept to black and white, including the dots that older, pre-computer inking used; Peni was straight up anime-style. Yet the styles didn’t clash. By the time they appeared, the idea of dimensions colliding was well in effect in the film.
Introductions were quick, getting the point across, becoming a running gag, then turning into a proper ending with Miles’ version. The movie is Miles’ story, but there’s room for the other Spideys. Relationships between characters were real. The relationship between Miles and his father showed all the awkwardness when a teenaged boy is trying to become his own person but is still dependent on his parents. Peter B. Parker’s life falling apart, especially in contrast to the successful Peter of Miles’ dimension, shows a man who lost his direction. Yet, that Peter hasn’t gone to the extremes that Wilson Fisk did by creating a means to break dimensional walls to get his wife and son back.
There is the required Stan Lee cameo, this time as Stan, the owner of a comic book shop who gives Miles some advice. “It [the costume] always fits, eventually.” While the costume Miles bought didn’t fit, when he stepped up, he made the costume his, and it did fit who he is. The quote from Stan Lee during the credits really does apply to Miles, and to many people in real life, “That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it’s the right thing to do, is indeed, without doubt, a real superhero.” Even when he was trying to deal with his new powers, Miles did help Spidey because it was the right thing to do.
To emphasize that Miles’ dimension was different, little things changed. Some were obvious, some were in the background. His father was an officer of the Police Department of New York City, or PDNY. Koca-Soda has the ad at Times Square. Movie posters had familiar pictures but new titles, like Simon Pegg’s From Dusk to Shaun. Getting details right is a key element that can make or break an adaptation. Into the Spider-Verse went beyond that here.
As a film, Into the Spider-Verse will be the Spider-movie that all others will be judged against. While the movie is Miles’ story, the different Peter Parkers brought a nuance to the character not seen in any of the movies so far, an older Peter instead of the high school and university students portrayed so far. The movie managed to hit the right tone, a bit of comedy, a bit of drama, a bit of superhero action, just as in the comics. Spidey couldn’t solve his problems using his powers in his comic titles, and neither could any of the Spideys in the movie. Peter B. Parker eventually realizes that he was in the wrong and he needed MJ in his life. Miles and his father reconcile. Gwen opens a little to letting people get close to her.
The humour comes through in appropriate times. When the Spider-Man of Miles’ dimension dies, it is a sombre moment. Later, though, as Peter and Miles steal Dok Ock’s computer, the tone lightens. The scientists recognize Spidey, since he was wearing the costume, and one yells out, “It’s Spider-Man! He’s stolen a bagel!” before they break out their lasers. Even in the climactic fight, all the Spideys keep up with the patter, a Spider-Man trademark.
As an adaptation, the movie doesn’t adapt The Edge of the Spider-Verse, nor was it meant to. It took the concept from the mini-series and from the video game, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and brought it to film. The characters, though, are true to their original works, complete with appropriate animation style. The result is a film that embraces its comic book heritage instead of ignoring it.
Do stay past the credits. An eighth Spidey, Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac), makes an appearance, travelling back to when it all began, 1967. Worth staying for and is a brilliant adaptation on its own.
CG Peanuts movie to use classic comics for thought bubbles.
The CGI animated Peanuts feature will pay homage to the original comic strip through the use of the classic comics in thought bubbles.
Dan Aykroyd excited as Ghostbusters reboot starts filming.
Aykroyd, who was the co-creator of the original movie and is the executive producer of the remake, is happy with how the new movie is turning out. While that may not be persuasive, the photos of the costume and the new Ecto are promising.
The Rock’s going to be busy.
Not only is he working on a remake of Big Trouble in Little China, as reported last month, he’s also looking at an adaptation of the classic arcade video game, Rampage. The video game allowed players to take the role of kaiju and destroy a city while fending off the puny defenders.
New Spider-Man film, new Spider-Man actor.
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have announced the casting of Tom Holland in the title role. Holland will play Peter Parker in the new movie.
The Rocky franchise continues with Creed.
Rocky Balboa turns coach this November. Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, from the first four Rocky films.
Classic Canadian animated series, The Raccoons, may be returning.
Kevin Gillis, the creator of the original cartoon, is working out how to bring back the the show, featuring raccoons Bert, Melissa, and Ralph. The Raccoons aired on the CBC with TV movies in the early 80s and a regular series starting in 1985. The series also aired on the Disney Channel.
Farscape movie has been confirmed.
Rockne S. O’Bannon has confirmed that a Farscape movie is in the works. The film doesn’t have a script yet, but one is being drafted by Justin Monjo, who wrote for the series.
Dynamite Entertainment to bring Atari classics to comics.
Dynamite will produce comics based on classic Atari video games, including Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. The same company will also be producing James Bond comics helmed by Warren Ellis.
Lost in Translation to take a hiatus.
There’s a shake up coming here at MuseHack. Steve will have the full details, but Lost in Translation will be on hiatus during this time. The reviews will return, as will the history of adaptations.
Marvel Comics had several big announcements since the last news round up. Let’s get to what’s being adapted and by whom.
Marvel and Sony come to a deal over Spider-Man.
Spider-Man is moving into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, joining the likes of the Avengers. Sony Pictures still has the rights to create movies with the character, but the deal should allow Marvel to use elements from the Spider-Man comics such as the Daily Bugle in its own releases. Marvel has shuffled its release schedule to bring the next Spider-Man movie out without competing with the Marvel Studios releases.
X-Men TV series in the works.
Fox has confirmed an X-Men TV series is in development, pending Marvel’s approval. Little of what the series would entail has been revealed.
Casting for AKA Jessica Jones announced.
David Tennant joins the cast as the villainous Zebediah Killgrave, also known as the Purple Man. Tennant joins Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.
Who you gonna call?
Meet the new Ghostbusters for the gender-flipped remake. Melissa McCarthy has signed on while negotiations with Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon are ongoing.
Fushigi Yuugi gets stage treatment.
The manga and anime, Fushigi Yuugi is making the transition over to the stage. Fushigi Yuugi, which translates as Mysterious Play, follows the adventures of Miaka as she falls into another world filled with magic and danger.
Indiana Jones reboot may be in works.
Disney bought the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise and are looking at Chris Pratt as the eponymous hero. Pratt is going to be busy…
Chris Pratt in talks for The Magnificent Seven remake.
The remake of The Seven Samurai is being remade. Denzel Washington has already signed on for the remake.
Harper Lee releasing a follow up to To Kill a Mockingbird.
The sequel, Go Set a Watchman, features Scout Finch as an adult. The novel had been written during the 1950s, but was set aside on the advise of Lee’s editor at the time. The new novel will hit bookstores mid-July.
LEGO announces next licensed set, featuring Doctor Who.
Everything is more awesome in LEGOland as the Doctor and his companions join the massive LEGO line up. The project just left the judging phase, so it may take some time before the LEGO TARDIS hits the shelves. Also announced, a LEGO Wall-E set, with the submission made by one of the movie’s crew members.
Stargate reboot movie signs writers.
Roland Emmerich’s reboot/remake of the original Stargate movie has signed Nicholas Wright and James A. Woods as screenwriters. Emmerich will direct and co-produce, along with original co-writer Dean Devlin.
The Man from UNCLE trailer now out.
The first look at Guy Ritchie’s take on the TV series, The Man from UNCLE, is now out. The movie stars Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, originally played by Robert Vaughn and should be out in August. Armie Hammer is on board as Illya Kuryakin, previously played by David McCallum.
Thunderbirds are go! Again!
A new Thunderbirds TV series is set to launch. The show will forego Supermarionation for a mix of CGI and live-action models. The debut is on the 50th anniversary of the original airdate of Thunderbirds.
Next Terminator movie a reboot.
According to Jay Courtney, who will play Kyle Reese, Terminator: Genisys is more of a reset than a reboot. Other than Arnold Schwarzengger, an all-new cast will play the familiar roles. Two sequels have already been scheduled.
Warner announces DC Comics movie line up.
Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice leads off the ten, but has been moved to avoid competing with Captain America 3 in 2016. The other movies announced are Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League: Part One, The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, Justice League: Part Two, Cyborg, and Green Lantern. All should be released over the next six years. Warner also announced a trilogy of films based on JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a text originally found at Hogwart’s.
Knights of the Dinner Table in post-production.
Knights of the Dinner Table, a comic about tabletop gamers, will have a live-action movie based on the strip. The adaptation is in post-production and is looking for backers to help get the movie done.
Transporter: The Series started October 18.
Slipped past the radar here, but the new TV series based on the Jason Statham movies has aired on TNT. François Berléand returns as Inspector Tarconi, while Statham’s character Frank Martin is now played by Chris Vance. The series hopes to dig into why Frank got into his profession.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic movie confirmed.
Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures has the green light for an animated Friendship Is Magic movie. Release date is expected to be in 2017. Allspark is also producing the live-action Jem and the Holograms film, due out in 2015.
Dredd webseries has animated trailer.
Adi Shankar, producer of Dredd, has released a trailer for his “bootleg” animated series continuing where the movie left off. The series will look at the Dark Judges arc of the comic.
John Carter of Mars rights return to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
The rights, formerly held by Disney, have returned to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. The Disney film, John Carter, foundered in theatres with most problems traceable back to the studio, from a bland name to poor timing. The rights are now available to anyone willing to pay.
Fox developing Archie series.
Riverdale will be a drama featuring the Archie Comics characters. Greg Berlanti, of Arrow and The Flash, is on as producer while Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the creative mind behind such series as AfterLife with Archie, is writing for the series. The series will look at the weirdnesses surrounding small towns and may not resemble the Riverdale you grew up with. However, current readers may be familiar with the setting. Archie Comics have taken risks in the past decade, including the horror series AfterLife with Archie, having Archie and Valerie becoming a couple, and not only introducing an openly gay character, Kevin Keller, but giving him his own title.
Riverdale may get weirder.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, creative director of Archie Comics and writer of the new series, has compared Riverdale to a teen version of Twin Peaks. He has hinted at an Afterlife with Archie episode as well. Current continuity will be part of the series, too. If the series survives the, “But this isn’t *my* Archie!” fallout, it’ll pull an audience just through sheer audacity.
Clerks 3 confirmed.
Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes will be back as Jay and Silent Bob in the sequel. Shooting for the film will start June 2015.
The Six Million Dollar Man being remade.
To account for inflation, the name is being changed to The Six Billion Dollar Man. Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg, the pair behind Lone Survivor, are taking on the project for Dimension Films. The original Six Million Dollar Man was itself an adaptation of the book, Cyborg, by Martin Caidan, and ran from 1973, with several made-for-TV movies before becoming a regular series in 1974, until 1978.
Latest rumour in the Spider-verse has Aunt May getting a movie.
Sony is apparently mining out the Spider-Man license if this rumour is true. Other rumours include a Venom movie, a Sinister Six movie, and Glass Ceiling, which involves the female characters from the Spider-verse coming together. Of these, Venom seems more likely to gather an audience. Then again, I’m not at Sony.
In more solid news, Evil Dead greenlit as a TV series.
Starz will air the Evil Dead TV series starting in 2015. Sam Raimi will be the executive producer and will also write and direct the first give episodes. Rob Tapert is on board as well as an executive producer. Bruce Campbell will return as Ash, older but not necessarily wiser. Groovy.
Jonathan Nolan adapting Foundation for HBO.
Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series is being adapted as a TV series on HBO. The epic series covers centuries over the course of the books, with the cast of characters changing over time.
Fifth Tremors movie in production.
The movie, expected out direct-to-video in 2016, will star Michael Gross, recreating his Burt Gummer character. The original Tremors, starring Kevin Bacon, became a cult hit and has spawned three direct-to-video movies and a short-lived TV series. The movie in production will see Graboids appearing in South Africa.
Movies cannot contain the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Thanks to the popularity of the film, Marvel will be adding an animated series and a new comic aimed at kids to the announced sequel. How the animated series fits in with the cinematic Marvel universe is in dispute with the production staff of the sequel, but the series may just go with the team already together.
Welcome back to the round up of news about adaptations, remakes, and reboots. Each month, Lost in Translation brings a selection of links to news items related to the focus of the column. Enjoy!
Lifetime to air sequel to The Omen
Lifetime, of all networks, is working with The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara to create Damien, which follows the young terror of The Omen as an adult as he faces his destiny.
The Omen is to be remade again. This will be the second remake from Fox, the previous being the 2006 version. I got nothing here.
Predator also getting a remake/reboot.
Shane Black, of Lethal Weapon and Iron Man 3 fame, will write the treatment and then pass on the writing to Fred Dekker. Black is also slated to direct the reboot.
Audition getting an American treatment.
Takashi Miike’s Audition will have an English langauage remake with Mario Kassar, one of the people behind the Terminator franchise. The Japanese horror movie was originally based on a novel by Ryu Murakami, about a lonely man who holds fake auditions to find a girlfriend.
NBC’s Peter Pan musical announces casting for Captain Hook.
Christopher Walken will play Hook in the musical. NBC saw success with The Sound of Music last November, giving the network confidence in further musical adaptations. Walken started in musicals and can be seen dancing in Fat Boy Slim’s video for “Weapon of Choice“.
Trailer for Ouija out.
In the scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel adaptations, a movie based on the Ouija board seems like a weak premise. The trailer for the Michael Bay-helmed adaption isn’t helping.
HBO’s Westwood remake adds to cast.
Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood are joining the cast of the remake of the Yul Brynner film. The switch from feature film to TV series will give writers time to explore the ramifications of Westworld.
Sinister Six gets release date.
Sony, following in Marvel Studio’s footsteps, is branching off the Spider-Man license and spinning off Sinister Six, to hit theatres November 2016. Sony also announced The Amazing Spider-Man 3 for 2018. The Sinister Six are a group of villains in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.
You’re tearing me apart!
Oh, hi there! Tommy Wiseau, creator and star of The Room is getting his follow up, The Neighbors made as a sitcom. The show, which has an official website, is supposed to be out in September. The Room, which can be seen at repertory cinemas, is considered to be one of the worst films ever.
Amazon places order for The Man in the High Castle
Amazon has picked up the Philip K. Dick novel after the SyFy Channel‘s plans fell through. The original novel won a Hugo in 1962.
A change of plans this week. I’ve been holding on to some items too long and I realized that I hadn’t had a round up last month. On with the show!
A Game of Thrones, the Movie
With the TV series catching up to George R.R. Martin’s writing, something needs to be done. One potential fix, feature-length movies. The movies would be prequels, set 90 years prior to the start of the books. This should give Martin the time to finish or at least pad out the series long enough to prevent the TV series from overtaking.
Jem and the Holograms to get film treatment.
Truly outrageous! The movie has a webpage set up where fans can make suggestions on plot and casting and submit audition video. However, Christy Marx, the creator of the original series, is not involved. How this will affect the movie remains to be seen.
No more Inspector Morse adaptations?
Creator Colin Dexter has added a clause in his will that will prevent other actors from playing Inspector Morse. He feels that the performances of both John Thaw and Shaun Evans cannot be surpassed. The clause can be challenged, but it is likely that Dexter’s estate will agree with him.
Left Behind movie series to be rebooted.
Nicholas Cage will star in the remake of the adaptation of the first of the Left Behind books. Release date has been announced for October 3. The first adaptation was by Kirk Cameron in 2000, with the sequels released direct-to-video.
Fox to spin-off a Mystique movie while Sony does the same with the Sinister Six.
While Marvel Studios is busy with the Avengers, the licensees aren’t content to be left in the dust. Fox has plans for a Mystique movie to go along with the Wolverine series. Over at Sony, the Sinister Six, Spider-foes each and every one of them, has signed on director Drew Goddard. The movies mean that Marvel will have more characters on screen than rival DC Comics, despite the latter’s owner, Warner, having not licensed any character to another studio.
New Sailor Moon series to debut July, broadcast includes Internet streaming.
The Pretty Soldier-Sailor is returning and can be seen through Niconico Douga, a video streaming site similar to YouTube. An account will be needed to watch but the new Sailor Moon will be available internationally. The build up has been kept low, with very little hype to create expectations.
Cracked.com lists the five adaptations that are overdone.
Beyond just naming, Cracked looks at why the movies don’t work well. The key appears to be the creativity ends with the original idea and doesn’t continue through the actual production.
Mrs. Doubtfire sequel being written.
Chris Columbus, the director of the original, has been signed, as has Mrs. Doubtfire himself, Robin Williams. The original movie hit theatres in 1993, and a sequel was attempted in 2001 but never got past pre-production. Given the age of the original movie, it may be Williams’ name that proves to be the draw.
Princess Jellyfish to get live-action adaptation.
The manga Princess Jellyfish, aka Kuragame Hime, will be getting the live-action treatement. The official site is now up. Release date is December, 2014.
Slight change of plans. Turns out, the planned “So You Want to Adapt a Story” is far more involved than I expected. That will come next week. Enjoy the round up of adaptational news in the meantime.
What could have been: Hayao Miyazaki wanted to make a Pippi Longstocking movie in 1971.
Concept art for the work has come out. The only thing stopping the adaptation was Astrid Lindgren, Pippi’s creator, saying no. Studio Ghibli just didn’t have the world renown in 1971 that it has today.
2014, the Year of the Bomb?
Of the fourteen potential major failures coming in 2014, twelve are adaptations and remakes. Of note, Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese light novel, All You Need Is Kill. If Divergent and The Maze Runner both do poorly, this could signal the beginning of the end of Young Adult novels being adapted. Guardians of the Galaxy is a wild card. Marvel is taking a huge risk, but, as Steve put it, what has Marvel got to lose?
Sin City sequel and TV series on the way.
The Weinstein Company is getting Robert Rodrigues and Frank Miller to create Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is expected out August 29 next year, with a TV series to start afterwards. Meanwhile, the company is also working on a ten part miniseries based on the theatrical adaptation of the Stephen King novel, The Mist.
Two versions of 50 Shades of Grey adaptation to be released.
The first will be rated R. The second will go for the dreaded NC-17 rating. The problem with NC-17 movies is that there are few theatres willing to screen them. 50 Shades might be an exception, but there could be issues when someone who was expecting the R version sees the more explicit NC-17. The producer also said that she doesn’t want the film to be seen as “mommy porn”, which will be a neat trick considering that the original book is exactly that. Filming has started, with Vancouver, BC, standing in for Vancouver, Washington.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone to be adapted.
The first of a trilogy by Laini Taylor, the YA novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone is being adapted by Universal. The novel originally came out in 2011; the adaptation has no release date yet.
Cats may be next Broadway musical adapted to film.
Andrew Lloyd Webber confirmed that Universal is working on the adaptation. Cats itself is an adaptation of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Main challenge is convincing the audience that people dressed as cats and signing is worth seeing, but the stage version also had that issue.
Veronica Mars due out March 14, 2014.
After a very successful Kickstarter campaign that saw the movie funded in under twelve hours, Veronica Mars will hit the theatres next March. Most of the core cast has returned for the movie.
Also out March 14, 2014, Need for Speed.
Electronic Arts teamed up with Dreamworks for the adaptation. The video game series focuses on street racing, and includes police pursuit as part of the challenge. Each game in the series has a different focus, giving a bit of room for the movie to work with.
Warner Bros/DC may have a low-budget series of movies.
Three lesser known titles, Suicide Squad, Team 7, and Deathstroke may get lower budget movies, in the range of $20-40 million. The lower budget may reduce audience expectations and allow for a decent return. DC just needs to avoid looking desperate compared to Marvel’s approach.
MTV to adapt Shannara.
MTV’s network decay continues, but this time, it’s not a reality series. The former music network will be adapting Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, hoping to jump on the fantasy bandwagon led by A Game of Thrones. The advantage with Shannara is that twenty-five books have been written, so there’s no chance of the TV series catching up and overtaking. Brooks himself is involved in the project.
Heathers to run Off Broadway.
The 1989 movie, Heathers, has been adapted as a musical slated to run Off Broadway beginning March 17, 2014. The original was a dark comedy starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, where the two took revenge on a clique of mean girls all named Heather.
NBC to air Rosemary’s Baby miniseries.
NBC continues to ride the adaptation train with the announcement of the four-hour Rosemary’s Baby miniseries. The miniseries will go back to the original book of the same name by Ira Levin.
The Sound of Music Live! a sign of things to come?
Still on NBC here. The live musical broadcast garnered ratings for the struggling network, leading to the confirmation that there will be another musical for next November. Which one has yet to be decided. The Sound of Music Live! may have brought in an audience in part from novelty and in part for the potential train-wreck it could have been.
Sony takes a page from Marvel Studios.
Sony announced that they will be producing two Spider-Man spin-offs, Venom and The Sinister Six. Both movies will focus on Spidey’s rogues gallery. No dates for either production start or release were given.
Animated Anne Frank in the works.
The Diary of Anne Frank is being turned into an animated feature, with the blessing of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel, the foundation created by Frank’s father. Ari Folman, director of Waltz with Bashir will direct and will have full access to the foundation’s archives.
The Naked Gun to be rebooted.
Paramount is looking to reboot The Naked Gun, with Ed Helms to fill Leslie Nielsen’s role of Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective-Lieutenant, Police Squad. David Zucker, one of the original creators, is on board.
Disney to create series based on animated villains.
Descendants will look at the lives of the teenaged offspring of Disney villains. The live-action work will premier in 2015.
Next week, “So You Want to Adapt a Story”.
Some time back, I reviewed Spider-Man, the Sam Raimi helmed adaptations of the comics. Since then, the movie series has been rebooted, turning the new movie, The Amazing Spider-Man into an adaptation and a reboot at the same time.
The history of Spider-Man was covered in the previous review, but a brief recap of Amazing Fantasy #15 wouldn’t hurt. Nebbish, nerdy Peter Parker, a high school student, was bitten by a radioactive spider during a field trip. The venom interacted with Peter’s blood, giving him the proportional strength and agility of a spider and a preternatural sense for pending danger. As he learns how to handle his powers, he uses his knowledge and skills to create web-shooters; wrist-mounted devices that shoot out artificial webs. Peter then patrols the streets of New York as the Amazing Spider-Man.
For the movie, The Amazing Spider-Man, the writers returned to the classic stories instead of using Marvel’s Ultimate universe. The difference, beyond the source of Spider-Man’s powers*, is the love interest. The Raimi film used Mary Jane Watson, who, prior to One More Day, was Peter’s wife in the main line comic. However, early Spider-Man stories had Peter paired with Gwen Stacy, a fellow geek. The new movie explores their relationship, especially in light of the job Gwen’s father has, a police captain looking for the new spider-themed vigilante terrorizing New York. And, as in the comics, Spider-Man’s foe is someone that Peter has gotten close to; this time, the classic villain, The Lizard who is Gwen and Peter’s mentor, Dr. Curt Connors.
As mentioned previously in Lost in Translation, superhero comics tend to intertwine, making it hard to adapt everything the character has been involved in. Thus, the concept of various related-but-separate universes, such as the DC Animated Dini-verse and the Marvel Cinematic Universe of The Avengers. While Marvel Studios was busy with The Avengers Initiative, it had to work with Sony, owner of Columbia Pictures, to get the Daily Bugle into a shot in The Avengers**. Right now, Sony has the rights to Spider-Man and related characters, so cameos by other characters other than Ghost Rider is unlikely.***
The Amazing Spider-Man/ holds up on its own as a movie, without needing prior knowledge. All the characters are introduced, Spidey’s origin is shown again. This time around, the writers remembered that Spider-Man doesn’t just fight; he talks at his opponents. The comic version of Spider-Man always maintained snappy patter, in part to psych himself up and in part to keep his opponents off-balance. The rebooted version also had the patter, the insults, the taunts. The nature of the threat kept with the theme of runaway science that appeared in the comic; the Lizard looked to change the residents of the city into his subjects.
The movie does represent the core of Spider-Man well; the responsibility, the dangers of misusing science and radiation, and the heart of the character. Allowing the movie to create a new cinematic Spider-verse, separate from the prior Raimi films and from the Avengers-verse, allowed the filmmakers to explore what placing the duties of a superhero does to a teen.
Next week, the October adaptational news round out.
* Genetically altered spider versus radioactive spider. Both reflect the fears of the era the comics were created in.
** Ultimately, the shot wasn’t used.
*** Ironically, Spider-Man made guest appearances in every new Marvel title to establish that the book belonged to the overall universe and to bring attention to the title.
It’s been a busy month in the world of adaptations. Steve already mentioned the new Harry Potter-verse movie being scripted by JK Rowling herself. Here’s the rest of the news.
Daniel Curry, who plays one of the nine Spider-Men in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was injured during a performance. The Broadway show cost $75 million to put on and has seen a number of injuries amongst the actors. The show has also put out a casting call to replace Reeve Carney, who has played Peter Parker since 2010.
Rambo to become TV series?
Entertainment One and Nu Image are working with Sylvester Stallone to develop a Rambo TV series. No network has signed on yet, and the project could turn into the fifth Rambo movie. There’s a chance that Stallone would return as the titular character as well as being the creative consultant. Rambo may not be the only movie adapted as a TV series…
Reality Bites being adapted for TV series.
Ben Stiller, who directed the original movie, is on board as executive producer of the TV series, as is Helen Childress, who wrote the script for the original. The TV series will follow Lelaina Pierce, originally portrayed by Winona Ryder, after graduation in the 1990s, following the events of the movie. Keep in mind that, during the closing credits of the movie, it is revealed that Michael Grates, played by Stiller, turned the relationship he had with Lelaina into a TV show.
Star Wars: Episode VII to be shot on film.
Unlike Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, the next Star Wars installment will be on film instead of digital cameras. Film allows for a different approach, including getting the feel of the original movie and the addition of lens flares. If Episode VII goes 3D, it’ll have to be converted after being filmed.
Matt Damon returning as Bourne?
Damon and Paul Greengrass could be returning for a new Bourne movie. Damon has said that he’d be back if Greengrass was. Meanwhile, Jeremy Renner is still slated to be in a sequel to Bourne Legacy. No word if the two movies will merge or if the two streams will crossover.
Sharktopus sequel wraps up production.
Sharktopus vs. Mermantula brings back the shark-octopus hybrid that terrorized a Carribbean beach resort. This time around, Sharktopus has to deal with Mermantual, a failed experiment in creating the perfect man. Roger Corman, producer of this epic, has also opened “Corman’s Drive-In” on YouTube as an archive of the 400 movies he and his wife have produced.
Terminator 5 in pre-production.
Alan Taylor, director of Thor: The Dark World, is in talks to direct the fifth movie in the Terminator franchise. T5 is the start of a stand-alone trilogy of movies in the Terminator setting. However…
Terminator rights return to James Cameron in 2019.
A change in copyright laws changed the length of time before rights return to the creator to 35 years. The current licensees, Megan and David Ellison of Skydance Productions picked up the rights to make three movies, but the time limit may lead to just two. Cameron could license the rights back if he chooses to do so.
Speaking of Cameron, Avatar to get three sequels.
The three movies will be shot simultaneously. Tapped for screenwriting are Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Shane Saerno (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem). Release dates are already set for December of 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Bradley Cooper to play Rocket Raccoon.
Cooper joins Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, and John C. Reilly in the cast.
World of Warcraft movie to film in Vancouver.
If Azeroth looks familiar, it’s because Vancouver and environs have been seen in many, many movies and TV series, doubling for such exotic locations as Caprica, Starling City, Storybrook, Maine, and every planet seen in the Stargate TV series.
50 Shades of Grey gets cast named.
Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam have been cast as the leads to the movie adaptation of the Twilight fanfic. 50 Shades is due out in 2014. However…
Fans aren’t happy about the casting choices.
They want the actors EL James used as models for her characters, Alexis Bledel and Mat Bomer, and have set up a Change.org petition. What, they don’t want Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson?
Stargate to get reboot trilogy of movies.
Roland Emmerich, the director of the original Stargate movie, is rebooting the movie franchise. He originally wanted a trilogy of movies the first time round, but MGM went with a Stargate SG-1 instead. Fan reaction will be mixed and heated.
DiCaprio producing The Island of Dr. Moreau.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s company will produce the sixth adaptation of the HG Wells novel about a geneticist running amok and playing God.
Blade Runner sequel in the works.
After over 30 years, Blade Runner may be getting a sequel. Hampton Fancher, who contributed to the original screenplay, and Ridley Scott will be on the project. The script is being rewritten by Michael Green, who worked on the Green Lantern script.
Dwayne Johnson is The Fall Guy.
The old Lee Majors TV series about a bounty hunting stunt man is being remade as a film, helmed by McG. Production has not yet started. Any guesses on what the next old TV series to be remade as a movie?
Anne of Green Gables musical adaptation looking for Canadian filmmaker.
Based on the popular children’s novel, the musical is to be filmed on location in PEI. No release date has been set. Line ups in Tokyo should start the moment one is announced.
Ant-Man rescheduled for Summer 2015.
The release date for /Ant-Man/ has been moved up from November to July, 2015. This places the hero who, in the main Marvel universe, created Ultron almost three months behind the killer robot’s debut in The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Cracked.com covers why remakes don’t work.
A Quick-Fix, but hits several major points. Point #2 is particularly relevant – relevance. Many works are a product of their time and don’t adjust well to modern sensibilities. Not covered, lack of respect for the original work.
Dungeons & Dragons film faces court challenge.
Not from fans of the game who saw the original movie, but from Sweetpea Entertainment. Univsersal Pictures received the D&D license from Hasbro, current owners of Wizards of the Coast, publisher of the RPG. Sweetpea alleges that they had received the D&D license in perpetuity in 1994, when the third edition of the game was released. The timeline given in the story is off; WotC signed the original 1994 licensing agreement, whatever the terms were, and Hasbro purchased WotC in 1999. Looks like many lawyers are going to get experience to level up in this case.
Fourth Jurassic Park sequel given release date.
Universal Pictures has until June 12, 2015 to make Jurassic World, already slated to be in 3D.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes to be delayed.
With the first of the trilogy, City of Bones a financial flop, the second movie is having its release delayed. The film is in production and will add Sigourney Weaver to the cast. Not helping the movies is that the books never reached the mindspace of the general audience that Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games had. Most people, even if they haven’t read any of Twilight could name several characters. The Mortal Instruments doesn’t even have that.
Continuing with the comics theme started last week, this week looks at Marvel’s Spider-Man. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the arachnid-themed superhero first appeared in Amazing Fantasy 15 in 1962. Peter Parker, a high school science geek, received his arachnid abilities after being bitten by a radioactive spider while at a science exhibit. The first thing to go through the teenage Peter’s mind when he realized he had these powers was . . . to make money from them. He lived with his elderly Aunt May and Uncle Ben, who were having difficulties making ends meet. Peter’s idea was to become a TV star, complete with costume. However, when given a chance to stop a thief, he ignored it. Later, the same thief robbed and killed Uncle Ben. As Spider-Man, Peter tracked down the thief and stopped him. “With great power comes great responsibility.”
The Spider-Man line of books is probably Marvel’s top selling comics. Long before The Punisher or Wolverine appeared, Spider-Man was the go-to character to draw in new readers to a book, appearing in The Avengers and Fantastic Four as needed. Since his creation, Spidey has appeared in eight separate cartoons, one live-action TV series, a tokusatsu show in Japan, a daily newspaper comic, four live-action feature films, and a Broadway musical. Oddly, despite the popularity of the character, it took until 2002 to get a major motion picture released featuring the web-slinger.
Maybe not so oddly. The CBS series The Amazing Spider-Man from 1978 performed well in ratings but was costly to film due to the stunts required. In the comics and cartoons, Spider-Man swung between the tall skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan. Recreating that safely required a lot of work, especially when CGI wasn’t even a consideration yet. However, technology pressed on, and many dangerous effects could be done far safer with the magic of computers.* By 2002, though, CGI had gone long past the experimental stage and into regular use.
Sam Raimi was approached by Sony to direct the Spider-Man film adaptation. Raimi himself had been a fan of the comic as he grew up, and worked to keep the feel of the movie to the original. Several changes were made, though. Instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider, the attacking arachnid was now genetically modified, reflecting the fears of the day. Instead of Gwen Stacy, Mary-Jane Watson was the love interest, though Mary-Jane would be far better known by the younger followers of the comics. The Green Goblin had a change in his costume origin, though the appearance harked back to his comic book likeness.
Despite Raimi not having used CGI in the past, he learned quickly, and had the web-slinging scenes turn into a ballet, complete with a shout-out to the 1960s era Spider-Man cartoon at the end. The mix of live action and CGI succeeded in bringing to life the wise-cracking hero’s unusual means of travel through New York.
The movie’s plot covered two elements. The first was an updating of Spider-Man’s origin, as mentioned above. The second involved the Green Goblin and an adaptation of “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” (Amazing Spider-Man 121). Both elements allowed Raimi to introduce some of Spidey’s supporting cast, including J. Jonah Jameson and his staff at the Daily Bugle. And, just as mentioned in last week’s Iron Man review, the villain didn’t steal the movie. Spider-Man, as a character, was interesting enough to carry the movie, despite Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Norman Osborn.
The movie was a hit. It made over US$100 million in its opening weekend. But, as mentioned before, financial success is not an indication of a adaptational success. What is an indication is respect towards the original, helped greatly by Sam Raimi being a fan. The changes made reflected the times the movie was made in. In the 1960s, radiation was the boogieman feared by the general populace. Two superpowers sat in a war of escalation that would culminate in the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962, two months after Amazing Fantasy 15 was released. The line, “With great power comes great responsibility,” may not have been a lesson for just Peter. However, 2002, forty years later, the biggest threat to mankind wasn’t nuclear Armageddon, but genetic tinkering of food crops.** Radiation was understood, genetic modification was a wild card to the general public. The change in the origin was meant to resonate with the audience, allowing them to get the same feeling as readers of the first Spider-Man story did.
Overall, Spider-Man was a successful adaptation. The changes reflected modern realities and the need of an audience to have not followed a comic for forty years to understand everything happening in a movie.
Next week, a guest spot by Serdar Yegulalp.
* Watch as ones flip into zeroes before your very eyes!
** The Al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Centre occurred after filming completed.