Logan’s Run may have been a box office disappointment when it first came out, but that hasn’t stopped Warner Bros. from trying and failing to restart the race. It’s now been 21 years since reports of a remake surfaced, and still with nothing to show for it. Here’s the long and convoluted history behind trying to make a new Logan’s Run, and why it’ll most likely never happen now.
There are so many ways to describe Logan’s Run, the 1976 science fiction film based on the 1967 novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson: Silly, Dated, Maybe the Thing That Killed Sci-Fi Movies in the 1970s. But no matter what you call it, there’s something fascinating about Logan’s Run. It tells the story of a futuristic society filled with hot, young people indulging in hedonistic delights. This is to keep them distracted from the fact that, once they hit 30 years old (it’s 21 years old in the book), they’ll be killed off to keep the population under control.
The first film may not hold up, but the story of sexy 20-somethings trying to escape an AI that’s living every day as if it were The Purge was begging for a reinterpretation. At least, that was Joel Silver’s thinking. He’s the founder and former CEO of Silver Pictures, the production company behind some of today’s biggest genre films, including Sherlock Holmes, V for Vendetta, and The Matrix series, among others… but they also produced 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons, so some hits and misses there.
Silver was known for diving headfirst into films he was passionate about, and Logan’s Run might have been one of the biggest. It was definitely one of the longest. Talks of making a new version with Warner Bros. started in the mid-1990s, but things amped up at the turn of the millennium. In a 2000 interview, book co-author Nolan shared details about the film project, which at the time was being worked on by writer and director Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine). He noted how excited Warner Bros., Woods, and Silver were to bring it back to the big screen.
“I had several conversations with Skip Woods. He grew up reading Logan’s Run, he loves the novel and considers it a classic. He told me in a three-hour meeting at a coffee shop that he wanted to restore the novel to its original form, put back Crazy Horse Mountain, the sky gypsies and all the things that MGM left out,” Nolan said. “Warner Bros. is still going to do it. I don’t think there is a script, there is a treatment that has been approved or hasn’t been approved — I don’t even know that — with a $US100 ($128) million budget.”
However, Woods didn’t last long — by 2004 he was off the movie. No details are available on what happened (whether he quit the movie or was let go) but afterward writers Ethan Gross and Paul Todisco were brought in to develop the story with a new director. Yep, it’s time to mention two of the worst words in modern filmmaking: Bryan Singer. He joined Logan’s Run in 2004 following his success on the X-Men series (which came at the expense of his cast and crew) and filming was set to start in 2006. The movie went through many changes, including bringing on Christopher McQuarrie to rework the script — a reporter for UGO claimed to have a copy of the script that contained writer McQuarrie’s revisions, if you want to check out what could have been. Not that it matters as Singer quit the movie in 2007, citing conflicts with Superman Returns and overall exhaustion.
Here’s where things get funky and you might need a pen to take notes: Between 2007 and 2018, a lot of writers and directors entered and exited the Logan’s Run remake. Names include director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), director Carl Rinsch (The Gift), writer Ken Levine (Bioshock), writer Andrew Baldwin (The Outsider), and director Nicolas Winding Refn (The Neon Demon), whose version was set to star Ryan Gosling and Rose Byrne. Refn didn’t mince words when talking about his failed adaptation, which was announced in 2011 and went out of commission two years later.
“It’s dead as dead can be. It’s a great shame, but I realised a couple of things. I was so in love with the original that I think I was disillusioned by the fact that, if I made a remake, I would be closer to the original. I would be part of the original more than any other. And I realised that that was a lie,” Refn said in a 2013 interview with Twitchfilm (via SyfyWire). “If I was going to make a $US100 ($128) or $US200 ($257)-million movie, and trade off my creative freedom for that price, it needed to be something that was going to outweigh that loss. Because at the same time I’m very lucky to be able to make the films I make, and to exchange that for a larger canvas really needs to feel like the right swap. Logan’s Run just wasn’t it at the end.”
Those are just the writers and directors we know about. According to Ex-Machina and Annihilation writer and director Alex Garland, who wrote a draft screenplay for the film in 2010, Logan’s Run was one of those infamous projects being shopped around to anyone who could make it work. “If you run into a screenwriter, chances are they’ve done a draft of Logan’s Run at some point,” Garland told Collider in 2015. “It’s just one of those projects… they’ve been floating around forever. People keep having a crack at them, and then the crack doesn’t get cracked.”
The latest duo signed onto the remake was director Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) and writer Peter Craig (The Batman), whose partnership was announced in 2018. Kinberg had been involved since 2015, having first submitted a draft screenplay (like so many writers before him) before later stepping behind the camera. The idea was that their version would play on the 2010s teen dystopian genre popularised in The Hunger Games, which was fitting since Craig worked on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. However, there haven’t been any updates on the movie since then (we reached out to Kinberg and Craig’s reps for comment). Well, with one exception.
In 2019, Silver resigned from the production company he’d started. It was later revealed in The Hollywood Reporter that this exit stemmed from years of Silver’s lavish spending and box office failures, which made him a pariah within his own company. Silver was also a driving force behind the collapse of Silver Pictures’ 25-year deal with Warner Bros. in 2012, which came after Silver started complaining all over Hollywood that the studio was failing to promote his movies. This resignation meant one of the key voices behind making Logan’s Run was gone. Still, the article stated that “Silver remains a producer on Sherlock Holmes 3 and Logan’s Run, both at Warner Bros., and both are in active development.”
But is it? We reached out to Warner Bros. multiple times over the course of working on this story, and we never got confirmation whether Logan’s Run was still being worked on. The writer and director haven’t said anything, the studio hasn’t said anything, and the person who spent years fighting for this movie is hardly in the picture anymore (other than a producer credit). Logan’s Run has spent all the time waiting and, as far as we know, could end up waiting forever. But maybe it’s not all bad. Perhaps it’s luxuriating behind the scenes in an utopian paradise, feeding on grapes and hoping for the day it will finally come to fruition. But here’s the thing: the fight for a new Logan’s Run is 21 years old now. And we all know what happens when someone reaches that age.