The Wild West is on its way back to space. Our trusted and proven sources tell us a remake of 1981’s Outland is on the way. With the title Outland: Lunar Outlaws, the reboot will have a much stronger focus than the original on isolation, corporate greed, and survival.
A reboot of 1981’s Outland is in development, titled Outland: Lunar Outlaw, that will focus more on the story’s more poignant themes.
This is the first we’ve heard of any intentions to revive Outland in over a decade. Back in 2009, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Warner Bros. wanted to bring the movie back from the dead. At the time, Michael Davis (Shoot ‘Em Up) was attached to direct, while Chad St. John (Replicas) had been recruited to write the script.
Everything’s been radio silence on Davis/St. John’s Outland development since 2009, so we don’t know if the pair still have anything to do with the remake or if Outland: Lunar Outlaws has recruited new filmmakers.
A former storyboard artist, Michael Davis’s most well-known feature is the Clive Owen-led Shoot ‘Em Up. His most recent release was last year’s wild animated satire feature Nixed in which an action hero version of Richard Nixon investigates the assassination of JFK.
Many wrote off the original Outland as an unimaginative sci-fi remake of the 1952 classic High Noon.
The original Outland is a space Western set on a mining colony on Io, one of Jupiter’s 95 moons. The late Sean Connery played Marshal William T. O’Niel who learns that the overworked miners on Io are taking illegal drugs to help them work and the side effects can be lethal.
Not only are those drugs driving some of the miners insane, but their distribution is sanctioned by the corporation employing them. Happy with giving possibly lethal drugs to their workers as long as production remains high, the company sends hitmen to kill O’Neil so he can’t spoil their plans.
Even sci-fi Westerns that perform well historically don’t perform as well as they could have if they’d been just about anything else.
That any attempt at all is being made to remake the film is interesting for a couple of reasons. The film just barely made back its production budget at the box office, and the critics weren’t kinder than audiences. Many wrote off the original Outland as an unimaginative sci-fi remake of the 1952 classic High Noon.
Not to mention that — regardless of Outland‘s individual performance — films that mash-up elements of sci-fi with Westerns are hardly safe bets. Certainly there are outliers like Star Wars. But then there are many spectacular failures like Wild Wild West and Cowboys & Aliens.
Even sci-fi Westerns that perform well historically don’t perform as well as they could have if they’d been just about anything else. For example while Back to the Future Part III — the only sci-fi Western in the series — was an unquestionable commercial success ($245 million worldwide gross), it was also the poorest performing of the trilogy with both of its predecessors making in excess of $300 million.
Once we know more about the risky move of resurrecting Outland for modern audiences, we’ll make sure we let you know.