Flash! Ah ahhhh! He’ll save every one of us! It’s been a while since we’ve heard any updates about a big screen version of the classic spacefaring hero Flash Gordon, and we’ve been quite content with Hollywood failing to get this particular project into production. But that may change soon, now that Star Trek 3 screenwriters Patrick McKay and John D. Payne have reportedly worked up a pitch with producer Jon Davis, and they’re currently in the process of trying to make a studio deal. Can Flash Gordon save us from a terrible future version of himself? Let’s hope.
McKay and Payne haven’t yet produced any screenplays that have gone into production, but they’re definitely on the road towards success. Beyond the currently director-less Star Trek sequel for Paramount and Skydance, the duo have penned an adaptation of the graphic novel Boilerplate for Bad Robot, as well as a big budget version of the Biblical tale of Goliath. Is it possible Paramount or Bad Robot will want to get involved?
According to Film Divider, the goal is to completely ignore the films and serials of the past and use the Alex Raymond’s comic series as the core inspiration, but with a more serious tone. Obviously there’s nothing funny about trying to stop Ming the Merciless from coveting the beautiful Dale, along with his other less sexually villainous plots.
We shouldn’t expect anything as dark in tone as Christopher Nolan or Tim Burton’s takes on the Batman franchise, but Flash Gordon is in the same boat as the Dark Knight was before those directors took the reins. The most current cinematic iteration of Flash can be seen in Mike Hodges’ colorfully campy 1980 film, for which Queen produced a most magnificent soundtrack. It wasn’t “Joel Schumacher + Arnold Schwarzenegger campy,” but it was only a few degrees away. Here’s a pretty solid description:
This new incarnation would be full of adventure and razor’s edge escapades, balanced by plenty of character work but no real anguish, ponderous chin-stroking or middle-distance staring.
Okay so technically, the last time we saw Flash Gordon on the big screen was in Seth MacFarlane’s raunchy comedy Ted, in which actor Sam Jones played himself, but in full Flash regalia. Check him out below.
Should this endeavor pan out, this will be the first time actual traction was made on an adaption since 2010, when The Crazies director Breck Eisner was set to go from a screenplay written by Dracula Untold scribes Matt Sazama and Buck Sharpless. As well, comic mastermind Mark Millar was set to pay direct homage to Flash Gordon in his series Starlight, but apparently there were legal issues, making the influence much less specific.
All in all, I’d rather have the Star Trek 3 writers, whose work I’m not familiar with, than the Roberto Orci-Alex Kurtzman-Damon Lindelof combination responsible for Star Trek Into Darkness. If I had to make that choice. Enjoy the following full-length film, The Deadly Ray from Mars, and tell us what you think about a Flash Gordon update in the comments.