Flash Gordon hasn’t been seen on the big screen since 1980 and now he is being brought back for a new space adventure in an animated feature in the hands of Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.
As Deadline reports, Waititi is in talks to write and direct the project, one inherited from the turbulent Disney-Fox merger. It was originally in development at Fox with Julius Avery (Overlord) attached to direct alongside Matthew Vaughn — on board as a producer.
Negotiations are in a very preliminary stage and could go either way with Waititi’s camp saying it’s too early to determine what his role could be. The Kiwi actor and director is currently in post on an adaptation of the Christine Leunens novel Jojo Rabbit — a satire about a young Nazi in which Waititi himself, who is half Jewish, plays Adolf Hitler. He is also the co-creator of FX’s What We Do in the Shadows.
Flash Gordon began as a newspaper strip by Alex Raymond, who was inspired by Buck Rogers, and lives on today in comics published by Dynamite where he often teams up with fellow pulp heroes such as The Phantom and Mandrake.
Movie audiences were first wowed by his solo escapades fighting the despotic Ming The Merciless on the planet Mongo in serials starring Olympic swimmer Buster Crabbe (who once also played Rogers). The serials motivated George Lucas to make a Flash Gordon feature when he broke into Hollywood. Unable to attain the rights, he made Star Wars instead.
The infamous 1980 Flash Gordon film starring Sam Jones and Max Von Sydow didn’t do particularly well when it came out but developed a cult following. It didn’t hurt the film had a roaring soundtrack by Queen, one of the biggest bands of all time.
Seth MacFarlane introduced it and star Jones to a new generation in his comedy Ted in which MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg are obsessed fans who get Jones to come to one of their parties.
On paper, Waititi is a natural fit for Flash Gordon due to his work for Marvel on Ragnarok which is a space opera sometimes compared to the 1980 cult film. For a time, his name was mooted as a potential replacement for James Gunn as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after the latter was briefly fired.
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