Universal Pictures has optioned Mark Millar's comic book Chrononauts for a feature film adaptation, with Chris Morgan set to produce through his Chris Morgan Productions banner. It isn't known if Chris Morgan will also write the screenplay adaptation, since he is best known for writing the last five Fast and Furious movies, including the upcoming Furious 7. The Image Comics title, created by Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy, debuted its first issue this week.
The story centers on Dr. Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly, who become the first two men to ever travel back in time, an event that is broadcast live around the world, as the scientists plant an American flag on the shores of the New World in 1492. The story follows Quinn and Reilly as they continue their time travelling adventures. Just before the comic's debut, Mark Millar revealed in an interview with Comic Book Resources that the tone of his comic is "identical" to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
"I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy when I was starting this, and the tone was just identical. It's dangerous or action-packed when it has to be, but it's really just people who like each other and whom the readers will like in fun situations. The drama is intense and the danger is real, but Guardians had such a fantastic tone. That's absolutely the tone Sean and I have here. We've had a great decade of seeing how real we can make impossible concepts, but now is the time just to have a good time. Just as I left the cinema smiling after Guardians, I like the idea of people finishing this book and enjoying it so much they just read it again."
Given the immense success of Guardians of the Galaxy, it's no surprise that Universal picked up Chrononauts, since they are the only major studio without a comic-book/superhero franchise at the moment. However, this does come on the heels of the studio picking up another unconventional comic book title, Cowboy Ninja Viking, which has Chris Pratt attached to star. While Disney, 20th Century Fox and Sony have various Marvel properties, and Warner Bros. controls DC, it seems that Universal is carving out their own unique comic book niche in the marketplace.
Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy will executive produce Chrononauts. This move also comes on the heels of Mark Millar's latest successful big screen adaptation, Kingsman: The Secret Service, which has earned $109 million domestic and $278 million worldwide from an $81 million production budget. Mark Millar also wrote Marvel's Civil War comic books, which will be adapted into the highly-anticipated Captain America: Civil War. His comics Wanted and Kick-Ass have also been adapted for the big screen, and he currently has Starlight in development at 20th Century Fox.