After languishing in development for the past five years, it seems Paramount is ready to move forward with the manga adaptation Lone Wolf and Cub. The studio has brought on screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) to tackle the adaptation, with Justin Lin set to direct. The filmmaker has been attached to this project since 2012, and he is also slated to produce with Marisa McMahon and her Kamala Films company.
Paramount has had the rights to this project since 2003, with director Darren Aronofsky attached to direct at one point. When Justin Lin came aboard back in 2012, the husband and wife writing team of David Webb Peoples and Janet Peoples (12 Monkeys) were tasked with adapting the Japanese manga created by Kazuo Koike, although it doesn't seem that they're attached to this adaptation anymore. It hasn't been confirmed if any elements from their script will remain intact, or if Andrew Kevin Walker will be starting over from scratch with a page-one rewrite.
The original Lone Wolf & Cub manga was written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by artist Goseki Kojima, which was first published in September 1970, with the original run of 28 volumes ending in April 1976. The original graphic novels were praised for its epic scope, amassing a whopping 8,700 pages when all was said and done, and for its historical accuracy of depictions of violence during the Tokugawa era in Japan. There is even one epic fight scene in the iconic manga that runs for a whopping 178 pages, one of the longest single-fight scenes ever depicted in comic book history.
The story follows Ogami Ittō, the Shogun's executioner who becomes disgraced after false accusations against him surface from the Yagyū clan. He is forced into exile, taking the path of the assassin, along with his three-year-old son Daigoro, who he transports through the countryside with a wooden baby cart, as he seeks revenge on the Yagyu clan, forced to take the path of the assassin. Along with his three-year-old son, Daigorō, they seek revenge on the Yagyū clan and are known as Lone Wolf and Cub. The original manga sold a whopping 8 million copies in Japan during its initial run, which were released in America by First Comics starting in 1987, with iconic artists such as Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz designing the covers, but the company went under in 1991 before it could complete publishing the full run.
Between September 2000 and December 2002, Dark Horse Comics published English translations of all 28 original Lone Wold and Cub volumes, and they were all digitized in 2012 as part of the company's new Dark Horse Digital service. There were also six Japanese films that were released between 1972 and 1974, along with a 1980 English film named Shogun Assassin, which featured 12 minutes from the first film, Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance and most of the second film, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx. The original comics have influenced popular works like Frank Miller's Sin City and Ronin comics, along with Max Allan Collins' Road to Perdition. The Hollywood Reporter doesn't have any further details, like when production may begin, but hopefully we'll hear more soon.