At any given point in time, there are dozens of would-be cinematic adaptations of classic properties that are either caught up in production hell, or trapped in a battle over the rights as to who gets to make money off which specific characters. Take, for example, Buck Rogers.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, after years-long negotiations over the rights to the Buck Rogers franchise, Legendary, the same studio behind the new Dune and Godzilla movies, has hammered out a deal giving it the ability to tell stories about the unsuspecting Rogers — a man born in the late 19th century who mysteriously wakes up in the 25th century after being exposed to radioactive gas during an accident.
Rogers’ experience fighting in World War I prepares him for the strange, dystopian future he awakens in, and is ultimately what helps him become the legendary warrior who’s already been the centrepiece of serial films, books, and television shows.
Per the Hollywood Reporter, Legendary envisions a future in which a big budget Buck Rogers cinematic reboot is successful enough to launch a follow-up “prestige television series” as well as an anime series (specifically anime and not just animated). That sounds like exactly the sort of multi-platform plan a studio would make years in advance, without fully knowing just how much public interest there is in any sort of Buck Rogers media in the 21st century.
Aside from listing Don Murphy and Susan Montford as slated producers for the would-be Buck Rogers film, there aren’t any concrete details about what Legendary might be thinking of in terms of how to rework the story for a modern day audience, much less who might director or star in the project.
Even bigger picture, though: this news comes at a time when Hollywood’s still effectively stopped production due to the covid-19 pandemic and movie theatres have no idea when they might open again. By announcing its plans to do…something with Buck Rogers, Legendary’s managed to get everyone thinking about the character again for at least a few days. But whether the studio will be able to sustain the public’s interest in these plans in the future is as yet unknown.