Buck Rogers is making a comeback in the 21st century. Legendary Pictures is closing a deal for the rights to the classic sci-fi franchise, with designs on bringing the hero to the big screen for modern audiences. What's more, the studio sees this as a possible franchise play. Should things pan out, they will also produce TV shows, anime and other projects based on the source material. But let's not get too ahead of yourselves just yet.
According to multiple reports, Legendary is either closing in on a deal for the Buck Rogers rights, or has already finalized the deal. Don Murphy and Susan Montford, who are producers of the Transformers franchise, are on board to produce the project via their company Angry Films. There is no word yet on who may be tapped to pen the screenplay for the movie, nor is there any indication as to who could wind up in the director's chair. It seems things are in the very early stages as the deal is just coming together. As such, there is also no word on who would play the title character.
The movie and any subsequent projects that may arise will be based on the novella Armageddon 2419 A.D. Written by Philip Francis Nowlan, it was originally published in 1928. The character of Buck Rogers was introduced in the story. He was a coal miner who awakens after 500 years of suspended slumber to find a world at war, far removed from the one he left behind. The character then became the subject of a comic strip the exploded in popularity, leading to toys, radio plays and more. It was truly one of the first multimedia sci-fi franchises. Gil Gerard starred as Buck Rogers in a short-lived but well-remembered TV show on NBC from 1979 to 1981. The pilot was a feature-length movie that was released theatrically before the series made it to air.
Legendary is attempting to do something similar currently with Dune. The movie, directed by Denis Villeneuve, based on Frank Herbert's classic novel, will be released next October. There are also plans for sequels and a TV show. Studios are, in effect, trying to create cinematic universes based on popular IP that can be brought to various platforms. Originally, The Dark Tower was going to follow a similar route but the movie adaptation of Stephen King's book series failed to catch on at the box office.
Mary Parent and Cale Boyter are overseeing the project for Legendary. The studio already has a cinematic universe of sorts going with the MonsterVerse, which includes Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, Godizila: King of the Mosnters and the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong. While that universe has yet to crossover to TV, it has worked out well, for the most part, at the box office. Some of Legendary's other well-known movies include The Dark Knight trilogy, Detective Pikachu and Jurassic World. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. This news was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter.