Gilligan’s Island remains one of the most popular sitcoms that have aired on the CBS network to date. But the last attempt to revive the show and bring it to our screens once again was back in 1983 and since then, the show has joined the list of glorious series whose popularity amongst the masses is still very much palpable. But turns out, if director James Gunn had his way, he would have rebooted the series a decades ago, though it is hard to say whether ardent fans of the show would have liked what he had in mind.
Recently, James Gunn took to Twitter to take part in the “pitch a movie in two pictures, no caption” challenge from a fan. He posted a picture of the hit 1960s sitcom, Gilligan’s Island alongside a drawing of people’s engaging in gruesome acts of cannabilism. Rather than waiting for his followers to connect the dots, Gunn continued the post in a thread, explaining that the second image is actually the direction he had planned to take for the re-boot of Gilligan’s Island.
James Gunn’s idea to reboot the classic series is definitely a controversial one. Gilligan’s Island ran from 1964 to 1967 for a total of three seasons and told the tale of a group of passengers aboard the charter boat SS Minnow who get shipwrecked on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. Their trying circumstances push the group to forget their different backgrounds and polar-opposite personalities to come together to survive on the island. As for their efforts to escape from their lonely existence, they are all unwittingly thwarted by the titular Willy Gilligan, played by Bob Denver, who inadvertently ends up foiling their plans with his foolish acts. In his posts, James Gunn revealed that in the late 90s, famous screenwriter Charlie Kaufman pitched a script for making a cinematic reboot of Gilligan’s Island. The film would have seen the easy-going and friendly story of the series taking a drastic turn and transform into a gory film where the stranded islanders would have been starved. In their desperation to stay alive, they would have resorted to killing and eating each other.
At the time, Warner Bros. had even greenlit the film but Sherwood Shwartz, who created and produced Gilligan’s Island, was not in favor of bringing the show to the big screen via such a morbid reboot. Despite being shot down, James Gunn never gave up on the idea and tried to revisit the same after he finished directing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Once again, Warner Bros. and Charlie Kaufman were on board, but this time it was Schwartz’s estate that put an end to any possibility of the script ever seeing the light of day. But again, Gunn is all ready to pick up the script in a heartbeat if the estate ever decides that they too are in favor of a cannibalistic version of the Gilligan’s Island.
Unlike James Gunn’s plans for the series, all existing sequels, spin-offs, and other adaptations of Gilligan’s Island have retained the light tone of the series whether it was the film sequels- Rescue from Gilligan’s Island (1978), The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island (1979), The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (1981)- the reality series titled The Real Gilligan’s Island, or the animated series The New Adventures of Gilligan and its sequel Gilligan’s Planet. But the idea of James Gunn reviving the original series with a new twist is certainly exciting seeing that the director’s impressive resume includes helming the immensely successful Guardians of the Galaxy films and single-handedly reviving DC’s supervillains with the recently released The Suicide Squad.