The Flash Gordon reboot has found its director. Julius Avery, the man behind the upcoming Nazi zombie thriller Overlord, has been tapped by Fox to write and direct the long-gestating project. At one point, X-Men: First Class and Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn was on deck to tackle the popular character's next big screen adventure. He's now stepped down from the director's chair but will remain on board as a producer.
According to a new report, Julius Avery went in and pitched his take to executives at the studio and they liked what he had to say. So, they've officially tapped the Australian filmmaker to write and direct the new Flash Gordon movie. This is being viewed as a potential blockbuster tentpole and has clear franchise potential, assuming things go well. Matthew Vaughn only stepped aside because his take wound up being remarkably similar to what Marvel did with Guardians of the Galaxy. Avery apparently has something else up his sleeve.
Julius Avery isn't a big name (yet) but he's been making quite the impression. His debut movie Son of a Gun starred Alicia Vikander and Ewan McGregor which, in part, helped get the attention of J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company. That put Avery at the helm of Overlord, the original WWII sci-fi thriller that many thought was going to be the next Cloverfield installment. That isn't the case, but after making its debut at Fantastic Fest recently, buzz has been very solid, with the movie currently boasting a 93 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That helped open the door to get Flash Gordon going.
The character's origins can be traced all the way back to the 1930s, with Flash Gordon getting its start as a comic strip. The general plot sees the titular hero doing battle with Ming the Merciless and other various baddies in the far reaches of space. The strip has been adapted for the screen several times in the past, including several serial movies starring Buster Crabbe in the 30s. However, it's the 1980s Flash Gordon live-action movie from director Mike Hodges, with Sam Jones in the lead role, that is probably the most well known and well-liked of these adaptations. It has gone on to attain cult status and is regularly referenced in pop culture, with Jones actually appearing in the Ted movies in a nod to his role as the hero.
One important note; the Disney merger with Fox is expected to be finalized in early 2019. Once that happens, the Mouse House will be choosing which projects to move forward with that were in development at Fox prior to the merger. Flash Gordon does seem to fit the bill of what Disney likes, as it represents a possible major franchise with broad appeal, so there is a decent chance they would keep it in development, depending on how they feel about Julius Avery's take. If Overlord does well at the box office when it arrives in theaters on November 9, that certainly won't hurt matters. This news was first reported by Deadline.