We first heard word of a Space: 1999 reboot a little over a year ago. Given that the show’s original date is now 15 years in our past, the show was getting a title upgrade to Space: 2099, and it’s being developed and executive produced by HDFilms’ Jace Hall, who previously served as EP on ABC’s 2009 V reboot. Aside from that initial announcement, things have been pretty quiet on the 2099 front, but now Hall has provided an update, which basically amounts to: it’s still in the works.
Hall provided the update on the project’s official website, assuring readers that the project hadn’t quietly slipped into development hell, but reminding everyone that this sort of thing takes a while to pull together. Hall says the main focus during the past year has been on writing the script and developing the characters, and that’s certainly good news.
For one thing, the original premise of Space: 1999 was pretty damn silly: an accidental explosion sends the moon careening through space, along with the crew of a moonbase on the surface. In spite of the explosion having enough energy to send the moon rocketing off into the void and incredible speeds, somehow the crew of Moonbase Alpha survives. And that’s not even getting into the notion that they keep encountering aliens and having adventures on a weekly basis.
That concept isn’t going to fly for modern audiences without some sort of serious rejiggering, but it sounds like Hall and company are aware of that. From the sound of things, Space: 2099 will be very much its own show. It isn’t a sequel to, or really even a direct remake of, Space: 1999. Hall says:
Space: 2099‘s goal is not to attempt to re-tell the specific story of Space: 1999. We are not trying to make some “dark and gritty” version of Space: 1999. There is no reason to re-tell the Space: 1999 story since we already have Space: 1999! However, through our new story and presentation, Space: 2099 hopes to re-kindle and remind fans of those memories of a show from 35 years ago, but more importantly help bring back to all science fiction fans that sense of awe, fear and incredible spectacle that is the unknown, unexplored universe. It is important that we endeavor to bring something new and exciting to the table.
Of course, Space: 1999 is obviously a core influence and jumping-off point, but it does beg the question: how much does an ostensible “re-imagining” have to change before you might as well just call it something else? I know Hollywood prefers to gamble on IPs with established name recognition, but then you get to things like the new Jack Ryan movie, which for all intents and purposes was just a generic espionage thriller about a dude who happens to be named Jack Ryan. That being said, if Hall and his team can come up with a compelling and less-ridiculous way to revisit the original show’s spirit of exploration and adventure, more power to them.
Here’s Hall laying out a few more details about what we can expect from Space: 2099:
Space: 2099 is much more serialized in story than Space: 1999. Character progression and story telling can now have meaningful long arcs and significant impact. Certainly, each episode will be a new challenge or discovery, but the way that these events are handled will have longer term effect and implication on our characters and their environment.
Additionally, we have gained some insight by reading and listening to the Space: 1999 community in terms of some thoughts, concerns, fears, and assumptions that can and will be made as the Space: 2099 story is digested. Knowing some of this has helped us craft an even more compelling story and universe, putting in twists and turns that specifically will tap into some of these fan assumptions and then suddenly shatter them with a completely unexpected turn of events. It’s exciting stuff.
Hall says that Space: 2099 is currently being shopped around in search of a home network. Stay tuned to GFR for more info as it becomes available.