Proving he can reboot a franchise with his Transformers spin-off movie BumbleBee, Warner Bros. has officially recruited director Travis Knight to take over The Six Billion Dollar Man, which has been lingering in development Hell for most of this decade.
Mark Wahlberg has long been attached to star in The Six Billion Dollar Man, which is an updated reboot of the classic sci-fi action series The Six Million Dollar Man, with a few extra dollars tacked on. The movie will be produced by Sue Kroll, Bill Gerber and Steve Levinson. Bill DuBuque is writing the script for Travis Knight.
The original TV series followed Lee Majors as Colonel Steve Austin, who has been employed by the government as a secret agent after becoming superhuman due to bionic implants. The show was quite popular, airing on ABC from 1973 to 1978, with its episodic premise based on the Martin Caidin book Cyborg. Like all TV in the '70s, the premise slowly went off the rails, going so far over the top that before it came to an end, Steve Austin was fighting alongside Big Foot.
Perhaps Warner Bros. will save that story arc for the sequel. Warner Bros. acquired the rights to The Six Billion Dollar Man back in 2017, buying them from The Weinstein Company as that studio crumbled under the weight of a huge sexual misconduct scandal involving Harvey Weinstein. Director Damian Szifron bailed on the project, and Warner Bros. has been busy trying to lock in his replacement.
Travis Knight directed the stop-motion animation adventure Kubo and the Two Strings before jumping head first into the Transformers franchise with Bumblebee, which wasn't a huge hit compared to the other Transformers movies that had come before it. It did resonate with the fan base, though, and went onto earn a healthy $466 million worldwide, ensuring that a sequel is on the way. It isn't yet confirmed that Knight will be back for Bumblebee 2, but the movie is definitely moving forward.
Mark Wahlberg has been attached to The Six Billion Dollar Man as far back as 2014, confirmed to star as Steve Austin in November of that year. He decided that he would shoot Deepwater Horizon first, and the action adventure got put on the back burner. The Weinstein Company had planned on releasing the movie in 2017.
It was then bumped to May 31, 2019. In October of last year, Warner Bros. completely wiped the movie off their release slate. Now with a new director in place, they have not yet announced a new release window for the movie. Perhaps we'll finally see it sometime in the summer of 2021? That sounds like the best be. This news comes from Variety.