E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman novels are in the process of being optioned by Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures. Sci Fi Wire received this news today from Smith's grandson Al Trestrail.

Smith is widely considered the father of the "space opera" genre, with his books being a primary influence on both George Lucas and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. Trestrail stated, "The option would be for 18 months, with another 18 month extension available if needed. This is being negotiated now. One can only assume at that point if they believe it will be a profitable venture they would move ahead with at least one film."

There is no word on when this production would actually be going into production.