Marvel Director Remaking The Most Iconic Sci-Fi Monster Movie

Michael Giacchino, who directed Disney+'s Werewolf by Night, is remaking the 1954 classic Them!

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Gael García Bernal as Jack Russell aka Werewolf by Night

Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino is rebooting the iconic 1954 monster movie, Them! The 55-year-old, who previously worked on Marvel Studios Special Presentations, is currently meeting with writers for the Warner Bros-backed venture. Although he helmed the Werewolf by Night special for Disney+ in 2022, the project will mark his feature film directorial debut.

Speaking to Deadline about the project, Giacchino explained that the classic film has always been one of his favorites. “There’s always a movie in your mind that never leaves your head,” He told the publication. “For me, that’s Them!” But it wasn’t until much later in his life that the filmmaker realized it was also a story about the nuclear age.

“What I love about Them! is exactly what it’s called – Them! It’s about the other, the unknown which one refuses or can’t understand.”

-Michael Giacchino on Them!

Giacchino noted that his version of the movie will be about immigration. Sharing his vision for the project, the director said he plans to tell a story about the subject through the lens of an insane science-fiction monster movie.

While he hasn’t been tasked with directing a big-budget blockbuster before Them!, Michael Giacchino has loads of experience with them. He served as the composer of massive franchise films like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Star Trek, The Batman, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and more. He also directed the short Monster Challenge and an episode of Star Trek: Short Treks for Paramount+.

Human vs. Giant Ant in Them! (1954)

The original Them!, which was also released by Warner Bros, is directed by Gordon Douglas. He created the black-and-white, sci-fi monster movie from an original story treatment by George Worthing Yates which was developed into a screenplay by Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes. The movie stars James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, and James Arness.

Them! begins when a nest of gigantic ants is discovered in the New Mexico desert. The enormous insects quickly become a security threat when two queen ants and their consorts leave the area to build new nests. A nationwide search follows, culminating in an epic battle with the creatures within the concrete spillways and storm drains systems of Los Angeles.

The film is one of the first 1950s nuclear monster movies and the first to use insects as the terrifying protagonist. The giant ants created for Them! were constructed and operated by unseen technicians and supervised by Ralph Ayers. Although the movie was filmed in black and white, the ants were still painted in purplish-green color.

According to a book called Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, Vol. 1 by film historian and critic Bill Warren, Them! did have one small blunder. During the climactic battle sequence in Los Angeles, the mechanical interior of a giant ant moving in the foreground can be seen by the audience. However, the shot was obscured when the movie was released on DVD.

Meanwhile, Michael Giacchino also plans to develop the score for Them!, just like he did for Marvel’s Werewolf by Night. His brother, Anthony Giacchino, will also be involved in the production, Deadline reports. The filmmaker previously worked on the Disney+ documentary called Director by Night, about his brother Michael. He also won a 2021 Academy Award for the short subject documentary, Colette.