It’s been thirty-four years since the last big screen outing of 1930’s comic strip icon Flash Gordon, and after several fits and starts, it looks like the classic outer space swashbuckler will be landing at Twentieth Century Fox, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter. This iteration of the character is being produced by John Davis, with a script written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, the screenwriters who most recently worked on the upcoming Star Trek 3, and is based on a treatment by George Nolfi, best known for writing The Bourne Ultimatum.
John Davis apparently spent more than a year trying to get the rights to the property from the Hearst Corporation, who have held the rights to Alex Raymond’s comic strip since its inception in 1934. Other studios like Universal and Sony have tried to launch Flash Gordon as a tentpole movie property for years, with the project never getting off the ground for one reason or another (Universal made a cheapo television version for the SyFy Channel a few years back that is better left unremembered).
If Flash Gordon indeed gets going at Fox, it would be fitting; In the early seventies, after the success of American Graffiti, George Lucas was tapped by Fox president Alan Ladd Jr. to make a “space opera” in the vein of Flash Gordon, which Lucas had grown up watching in reruns on television. After trying and failing to come up with the money to buy the rights from the Hearst Corporation, Lucas instead incorporated several elements from the classic Flash Gordon movie serials into what would become Star Wars, and the rest is history. Now that Fox has no involvement in the Star Wars franchise, it would only make sense that they go back to Plan A… if only a few decades late.