The Borderlands Movie: Super Mario Success To Make It Family Friendly PG?

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Long before Sonic the Hedgehog and The Super Mario Bros. Movie dominated the box office, work was underway to bring the crass, crude, and bloody Borderlands franchise to the big screen. Adapting the first-person shooter for live-action has taken over a decade, and we still have not seen any of the cast in costume.

A post-apocalyptic western with a crass sense of humor, Borderlands won’t be an all-ages hit and is most likely going to have a solid R-rating. With four main games, two spin-offs, and even a tabletop RPG, it has all the building blocks to be another successful video game adaptation.

The Borderlands Movies Is Based On The First Two Games In The Series

Roland in Borderlands

The first Borderlands was a smash hit when it was released in 2009, combining the addictive loot collecting of Diablo with the kinetic action of Doom, but it would be hard to imagine a feature-length film emerging out of the looter-shooter shell.

Borderlands 2 in 2012 took everything that the first game did well and cranked it up to 11, giving characters distinct personalities, increasing the number of jokes, and introducing players to the wider world of Pandora.

According to everything so far, the first two games provide the basis for the plot of the movie, which is great news for everyone who played Borderlands 3.

The first two games focused on a group of Vault Hunters trying to find the legendary vaults left behind by an ancient civilization and gaining access to the vast wealth found inside. In the film, the Vault Hunters, Lilith and Roland will be working with the head of the Atlas Corporation to try and find his missing daughter.

Since there are certain characters still alive on the surface of Pandora, the Borderlands movie doesn’t appear to be a canonical sequel to the third game and instead is set during the time of the first game, with characters from throughout the franchise making appearances.

There’s An All-Star Cast Including Kevin Hart And Cate Blanchett

Borderlands movie

Taking on the lead role of the Siren, Lilith, is Cate Blanchett, while Roland, a no-nonsense thief in the games, will be played by Kevin Hart as a roguish character, which is a large neon sign in space that Borderlands is going to lean hard into being an action-comedy.

The other clue is that Claptrap, the franchise mascot, will be voiced by Jack Black. Fans of the games are divided on whether the games feature too much or too little of Claptrap, the diminutive robot that was only playable in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

The rest of the cast is exhaustive, bringing in most of the Borderlands franchise’s supporting characters as well. Jamie Lee Curtis is Dr. Tannis, an archaeologist specializing in Eridian artifacts, yet can’t find a single shred of empathy.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that demolition “expert” and Bunkers and Bad-Asses Game Master Tiny Tina will be played by Arianna Greenblatt (Barbie), while Florian Munteanu (Creed 2) is the psycho, Krieg, acting as her bodyguard.

Rounding out the list are the big-game hunter Sir Hammerlock, played by Charles Babalola; Benjamin Byron Davis is the shopkeeper, narrator, and bus driver Marcus, while the Catch-a-Ride team of Scooter and his sister Ellie, played by Steven Boyer and Ryann Redmond.

Edgar Ramirez is Atlas, while his second-in-command, General Knoxx is played by Janine Gavankar. Finally, Mad Moxxi, the source for what will be 2024’s most popular Halloween costume, is being brought to life by Gina Gershon.

Horror Icon Eli Roth Is Directing

borderlands movie
Eli Roth in Inglorious Basterds

As if the size (and success rate) of the cast wasn’t enough, Eli Roth is behind the camera for Borderlands, making it his largest production to date. His involvement makes more sense with the inclusion of Blanchett and Black, both of whom starred in the director’s The House With A Clock In Its Walls, while Gershon stars in his upcoming slasher, Thanksgiving.

The Borderlands video games go for juvenile humor, like Handsome Jack’s Butt Stallion speech, while Roth specializes in dark comedy. Which direction is going to win out for the movie is currently unknown, but if anyone can make both of them work, it’s the mind that gave us Cabin Fever.

The Long Troubled Road To Make The Borderlands Movie

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Originally announced in 2015, the Borderlands movie was in development for years before ever getting a script or a cast. Craig Mazin, the showrunner for The Last of Us and the fourth writer attached to the film, wrote the script that landed Eli Roth in 2020.

Following the announcement of Roth’s involvement, the cast quickly fell into place, and the shooting began in April 2021, on location in Hungary, but that was it for the good news.

Months later, in August 2021, shooting wrapped on Borderlands, but that was only the start of the production problems. Reshoots, a standard for most films, were announced in January 2023, 18 months after filming was finished. Zack Snyder, busy with Thanksgiving, couldn’t direct so Tim Miller (the director of Deadpool) stepped in, with Snyder’s blessing, for weeks of reshoots.

Then, months later, in July, Craig Mazin had his name removed from the script, and though he didn’t give a reason as to why, this is usually done when a writer doesn’t want to be tarnished by what they think is a bad product. “Alan Smithee” is the pseudonym for directors who don’t want to be associated, but Mazin insists he’s not using one and wants to have no official involvement.

The Borderlands Movie Will Be Released August 9, 2024

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Though there has been no trailer or even any cast images of Borderlands released, a release date of August 9, 2024, has been announced. That date will come nearly three years after filming wrapped, leaving many to wonder what has been going on in post-production for the movie.

No new information has been forthcoming since the release date was officially revealed.