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.
Stargate still being rebooted.
Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin are returning to the Stargate helm with a reboot trilogy, as was reported back in September here. Details have still not been announced beyond the trilogy being a reboot instead of a continuation.
Spinward Traveller TV pilot on Kickstarter.
d20 Entertainment is working to put together a pilot episode of Spinward Traveller. The show, based on the Traveller RPG, follows the exploits of the free trader Beowulf in the Spinward Marches of the Third Imperium. The Beowulf‘s fame in the game comes from the distress call on the back of the box of the classic edition of Traveller.
Starship Troopers reboot/remake could be in works.
Still unconfirmed, but Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures had some interesting tweets involving the work.
Magnificent Seven being remade.
Denzel Washington may star in the remake. This leads to the chain of remaking an adaptation; the original Magnificent Seven took The Seven Samurai and placed it into the American frontier.
Speaking of Denzel Washington…
The Equilizer is set to hit theatres in September. The movie is a remake of the CBS TV series starring Edward Woodward that ran from 1985 to 1989 about a semi-retired spy who freelanced as a troubleshooter for people who needed help.
Sonic the adaptation
The speedy hedgehog is getting a combined live-action/CGI animated movie. Little has been released other than Doctor Eggman will be the villain.
Magic School Bus rebooted to Netflix
Miss Frizzle rides again as the series gets rebooted thanks to Netflix. The original Magic School Bus aired on PBS as an educational series where Miss Frizzle took her students in the titular bus to visit various locations, such as Egypt, space, and the human body.
Lion King spin-off Lion Guard
The series will follow Kion, the second born of Simba and Nala, as he leads the Guard. While other characters from the series may appear, new characters will compose the cast.
Grumpy Cat gets Christmas Special
Internet celebrity and meme source Tardar Sauce, also known as Grumpy Cat, will be getting a Christmas special that will air on Lifetime. The cat earned the nickname because of colouration and facial features that made her look like she was perpetually grumpy. When asked about the the special, she said, “Let it – NO.”
You new too, Scooby-Doo?
Warner Bros. to reboot Scooby-Doo, most likely as live-action movies. No cast is attached yet; the reboot of the adaptation movie is still in pre-production.
“Demon With a Glass Hand” to be adapted for the big screen.
Harlan Ellison’s episode for The Outer Limits will the basis for the upcoming movie based on the classic TV series. The episode involved time travel, aliens, and a man with a computerized hand.
Once again, the day will be saved…
… thanks to the Powerpuff Girls! Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup will be returning to Cartoon Network in 2016.
True Blood: The Musical.
With the TV adaptation wrapping up on HBO, Charlaine Harris’ The Southern Vampire Mysteries may become a stage musical. Nathan Barr, who worked on the TV series, has composed the musical.
Pacific Rim returning hard.
The sequel to the movie has been announced for April 2017. In the meantime, an animated series and a book series based on the movie, the latter having begun with Year Zero, are in the works. The original movie centered on fighting an invasion of kaiju, or giant monsters, with giant mecha and did far better outside the US than in it.
Ancient history has fascinated many people. Universities offer entire departments of history and classics based on research by historians and archaeologists. However, there are people who have more fanciful beliefs on what happened before recorded history. There are those who believe that life here began out there, that ancient astronauts landed here to become the first humans. Others believe that the ancient astronauts were once worshipped as gods after they provided such cultural leaps as written language and large works of art and engineering*. While evidence is lacking, the concept of ancient astronauts can be jumping off point for a work of fiction.
Stargate is one such work of fiction. Released in 1994, the movie established that the Egyptian god Ra was really an alien who needed the body of humans to maintain his immortality. Getting to Earth involved travelling long distances, using a device the ancient Egyptians referred to as a “stargate”. Long since buried, the artifact was recovered in the late 20s and became an object of study, which is where the main characters come in. First, Daniel Jackson, played by James Spader. Doctor Jackson is a proponent of the ancient astronaut hypothesis, and has studied ancient Egyptian history and languages. His research leads to him being recruited by a joint United States Air Force and civilian project to decipher hieroglyphs found on a relic. On the Air Force’s side, Colonel Jonathan “Jack” O’Neil, played by Kurt Russel, has been brought out of his retirement as a failsafe in case the relic is operational.
Doctor Jackson figures out the symbols, realizing that they’re not words, but coordinates that inform the Stargate the location of the other end. A team is put together to explore what lies on the other side, including Colonel O’Neil and Doctor Jackson, the latter to work out how to return to Earth, the former with orders to plant a bomb to destroy the gate. On the new world, the team discovers a city of humans, all speaking a variation of ancient Egyptian. During the search for the coordinates to Earth, Ra appears in his pyramidal spaceship to search for a new body. The presence of O’Neil’s team encourages a revolution against Ra by the populace, one that ends when O’Neil’s bomb detonates as Ra tried to escape in his spacecraft. Doctor Jackson remains behind, having married Sha’uri. The movie ends with O’Neil and Jackson saying their farewells and promising to see each other some time in the future.
Stargate could have ended there, its main plot wrapped up. There was room for further movies; the idea of turning a popular movie into a TV series wasn’t known at the time. Other than M*A*S*H, the only other recent example was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which had started airing in March of 1997, with Mortal Kombat coming in 1998. June of 1997 saw the pilot of Stargate: SG-1 debut. “Children of the Gods” aired on Showtime, as would the first half of the series’ run. The bulk of the cast of the movie was replaced, with Richard Dean Anderson playing Colonel Jack O’Neill, “with two l’s” and Michael Shanks playing Daniel Jackson. “Children of the Gods” starts with the Stargate, inactive but guarded over the three year difference between the movie’s release and the airing of the pilot, coming to life. Beings similar to Ra and his soldiers march through, killing three of the guards and kidnapping the one woman on the squad. As a result, Colonel O’Neill is brough back from retirement again, this time by General Hammond instead of General West. Hammond gets the truth from O’Neill in a quick recap of the movie, including the part where the Colonel sent the bomb to Ra’s spaceship instead of destroying the Stargate itself. With that news, a message is sent to Jackson, paving a way for a squad to go through the gate.
While Dr. Jackson and Col. O’Neill catch up, the alien who attacked the Air Force team on Earth come through the Stargate on Abydos, the same one the O’Neill’s squad had used. The alien takes away several of the natives with him, including Daniel’s wife and O’Neill’s adopted son, Skarra**. Jackson returns to Earth with O’Neill, determined to find his wife. A briefing by General Hammond introduces the core concept of the TV series, the SG teams. Each team would be sent through the Stargate to the various viable coordinates discovered, coordinates that Dr. Jackson and Captain Samantha Carter, played by Amanda Tapping, have worked out. Jackson and Carter hit it off immediately, as the good doctor’s previous research helps her with her theoretical astrophyics. Together, they work out that many of the coordinates have drifted just from the movement of the galaxy.
With the coordinates of the apparent origin of the new alien, Apophis, teams SG-1 and SG-2 move out. The new world is unlike Abydos. Where Abydos was a desert, the new planet is verdant, covered with plants. SG-1, led by Col. O’Neill, is able to find the people taken by Apophis, not just from Abydos but from many worlds with their own cultures. Apophis, ultimately, escapes with Daniel’s wife and Skarra having been transformed. However, Teal’c, played by Christopher Judge and one of Apophis’s guards known as a Jaffa, is impressed by how SG-1 handles itself and believes that they can succeed in defeating the alien and switches sides.
With the pilot over, the hard part comes. The cast and crew have to deliver a strong story featuring the characters weekly. Over ten seasons, the longest an American science fiction series has run***, they did just that. The movie took a look at first contact and the difficulty of communicating, even when the two sides can trace back lingusitic history. What Stargate SG-1 did was expand the setting, building up Goa’uld and the Jaffa, introducing the Asgard, a species whose appearance was based on the Greys and were responsible for Norse myth, and allowing the technology base on Earth to grow as the series progressed. During this, two spin-off series came about; Stargate: Atlantis, set in a distant galaxy with a team of explorers and specialists who knew that they may never return back home because of the energy required to maintain a wormhole that far, and Stargate: Universe, set on board the Ancient starship Destiny with a crew who are trying to find their way back to Earth.
Stargate-SG1 built on top of what was shown in Stargate, taking what was discovered and expanding. The key elements, ancient astronauts and the Stargate’s coordinates, were in the movie and were fully exploited in a way that was consistant with the events in Stargate. The TV series used its format to expand the setting, adding to the movie without ever taking away from it.
Next week, the May round up on adaptational news.
* For example, the Egyptian pyramids and the Nazca lines in Peru.
** Skaara was played by Alexis Cruz in both the movie and the pilot, making him the only actor who was in both.
*** There are terms and conditions here. Star Trek had more seasons but over multiple incarnations. Doctor Who has lasted longer, but is British. General Hospital was a long running soap opera that pre-dated television, but wasn’t science fiction. Still, Stargate SG-1 deserves recognition of being able to last as long as it did over two cable stations.
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.