In news that is both groan-worthy but also celebratory — and not exactly unexpected — Brian K. Vaughan’s stellar comic series Y: The Last Man is no longer on its way to the big screen, and will presumably never head down that troubled path again. Let’s all take a moment of silence to…(capuchin screams)…dammit, never mind. The announcement was made by director Dan Trachtenberg, the latest in a line of people who have tried to bring Vaughan’s hilarious and exciting story to film.
Usually in a case like this, it takes ages to get any details about “what might have been,” but Trachtenberg was awesome enough to speak with Slashfilm about the lapsed project, and he doesn’t seem to be all that sore about putting all of his hard work behind him. He compliments the shit out of comic writer Vaughan (who created the series with artist Pia Guerra), and divulges a lot of info about his influences and plans for the movie.
But first, here was his Twitter announcement, which gives a big clue as to why we may never see Y: The Last Man in a live-action form:
Not happening. But it's in trusted hands (the creators). RT @AndyWagnerActor: Any updates on your Y:TLM screen adaptation? #bigfan
— Dan Trachtenberg (@DannyTRS) September 25, 2014
As Vaughan himself announced earlier this year, New Line only had a certain amount of time to put a film into production before the rights would revert back to him and Guerra. And that’s exactly what happened some months back, making this project dead in the water before we even realized it.
Saying that the new golden age of television inspired him to think that a film version of Y: The Last Man could be possible, Trachtenberg said the script they were working had “great characters, relationships, world-building and a genre re-combination,” and would have been a swashbuckling adventure that was fun and funny, but also had a message. Sure, this is what most filmmakers say about any of their projects, but this describes almost everything Vaughan has ever written. (Under the Dome excluded.)
Trachtenberg said the script “was essentially the first two trades,” and the approach to telling one chunk of a huge story was inspired by Star Wars. As far as his inspirations for tone and story, the director was working with an amalgam of excellent influences, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Big Trouble in Little China, and Ladyhawke. In the end, he says, “Y: The Last Man is back where it should be, with its creator.”
And though Slashfilm asked, Trachtenberg didn’t actually give a reason why the project stalled out this time around, but it didn’t seem to be anything involving script or budget issues, nor casting problems. Perhaps New Line realized, like many others, that this would work way better as a TV show, or nothing at all. At least we’ve still got the comics.