'Buck Rogers' Movie in the Works at Legendary
Buck Rogers is going back to the future.
After months of negotiations, Legendary is putting the final pieces on a deal for the screen rights to the classic and influential sci-fi character, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
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Sources say that Legendary, the company behind the upcoming sci-fi epic Dune and movies such as Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island, is envisioning a big-screen take that would pave the way for a prestige television series as well as an anime series, giving audiences a 360-look at heroics sets in the 25th century.
Don Murphy and Susan Montford will produce via their Angry Films banner, whose credits include Transformers and Real Steel.
Legendary had no comment. Multiple sources say the deal is in the final stages or closed.
The deal is a coup for Legendary and Murphy, who spent years waging legal battles as a fight for rights ensued between the heirs and estates of the men who created him or published his stories.
Rogers first appeared in a story titled Armageddon 2419 and published in a 1928 issue of pulp mainstay, Amazing Stories. Written by Philip Francis Nowlan, the story told of a man who is trapped in a coal mine during a cave-in, falls into suspended animation, and, Rip Van Winkle-style, wakes up almost 500 years into the future. There, he is enlisted to help fight a war between several gangs in what was once America.
Rogers was turned into a comic strip – titled simply Buck Rogers - in 1929 by the John F. Dille Co., whereupon the character’s popularity exploded across the country. Soon, toys, radio plays, comic books, and a movie serial starring Buster Crabbe followed. In 1979, NBC produced a short-lived but fondly-remembered series titled Buck Rogers in the 25th Century that starred Gil Gerard and Erin Gray that introduced a robot sidekick named Twiki and a talking computer named Dr. Theopolis. More recently, comics creator Frank Miller tried his hand at a Rogers movie in 2008 but it never achieved lift off.
Rogers also unleashed a host of imitators, the most famous being Flash Gordon, and inspired young boys in the mid-20th century to want to become astronauts by seeding their minds with space exploration dreams. Even Looney Tunes got into the act, sending it up with the Daffy Duck-centric Duck Dodgers.
The rights deal wraps up one of the few remaining pieces of 20th century pop culture intellectual property not in corporate hands, allowing for a franchise to be built up around it. Legendary and the producers will now move to the next stage by securing a writer and other talent.
by Lesley Goldberg
by Trilby Beresford