A live-action Gears of War has been in development, switching hands every couple years, since 2007 and Dave Bautista is having none of it. Universal green-lit a feature film in 2016, but updates have been scant and slow, like the occasional jammed Lancer. The Guardians of the Galaxy star was reportedly in talks to join Fast & Furious when he shot down offers in favor of a Gears of War television series, in a last-ditch effort to push the project along, an exclusive from We Got This Covered purports.
It’s easy to chalk one particularly unfounded claim to a rumor, but video game adaptations have thrived, splendidly, in extended programming format, with streaming exclusives like The Witcher and Castlevania — which capitalize on readily accessible binge-watching — leading the pack. Netflix is rumored to be working on a Gears of War series, where Dave Bautista starred in Army of the Dead which just released to widespread acclaim. So perhaps WGTC is on to something. Netflix has been the fortunate purveyor of some of the best-adapted video game epics in recent memory and may be the perfect home for a Gears of War TV show with Dave Bautista at the helm.
Gears of War mimics traditional science fiction in the same way Guardians of the Galaxy pays homage to mid-20th century worldbuilding and aesthetics, so a lead role in an adaptation would be perfect for Dave Bautista. Set in the far future, Gears of War tells the story of war-torn Sera, an Earth-like exoplanet inhabited by a race of subterranean bipedal reptiles called the Locust Horde. Humanity establishes a colony and finds a fossil fuel replacement in Imulsion, an energy source endemic to Sera. Nations start mining right away, but the power struggle creates massive social inequality: those living closer to Imulsion progress, while those with little resources to travel are on the verge of societal collapse.
And believe me, Dave Bautista looks the part here. Soon, two factions rise to the fore: the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) and the Union of Independent Republics (UIR). A planet-wide civil war erupts as humans scuffle among themselves over leadership of Sera; countless perish, but neither side has tipped the scale enough to claim itself victorious. The COG and UIR are forced to accept a truce when the Locust Horde emerges from the depths and threatens human extinction, which is where we find our heroes — key members of the COG — when the first game released in 2006, one year before the movie rights were picked up (and subsequently squandered) by New Line Cinema. That’s what leaves it open for Dave Bautista now.
Gears of War was created by Epic Games, the same people behind Fortnite and the Unreal Engine, and Boss Key Productions co-founder Cliff Bleszinski, who served as lead designer in the first three Gears games. Canadian publisher The Coalition took over in 2015 and has been developing the series since Gears of War 4. A spinoff, Gears Tactics, came out only last year.
Universal’s planned Gears of War movie is said to adapt the games with an entirely original story. Similar to the Assassin’s Creed film, which had movie-only characters present, COG operative Marcus Fenix, his COG colleagues, and son JD, will not feature in the narrative. Dave Bautista is currently the only interested frontrunner, which may translate to a brand-new character modeled specifically after him. Netflix’s Head of Original Films Scott Stuber is producing — a promising sign the streamer may be closely involved. Rod Fergusson, who has been developing Gears of War since Epic Games, all the way through its transfer into The Coalition, was reportedly hired to oversee the project. Shane Salerno, who is also writing Avatar 4, is in charge of the screenplay. Dylan Clark of Universal is also producing.