George Clooney will executive produce a new television adaptation of “Buck Rogers” for Legendary, and it is Legendary’s intention for Clooney to star in the project, insiders with knowledge told TheWrap.
Grant Heslov will also executive produce the project alongside Clooney under their Smokehouse banner. “Transformers” producer Don Murphy and Susan Montford will produce via their Angry Films banner along with Flint Dille, the grandson of the original Buck Rogers creator. New York Times bestselling and award-winning comic book creator, television and film writer Brian K Vaughan has been tapped to write the television adaptation.
The project is based on the characters and concepts introduced in the 1928 novella “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” novella by Philip Francis Nowlan. The story followed “Anthony Rogers,” a mining engineer from the 20th century who awakens from suspended animation after 500 years to find himself in the middle of a planetary war.
Nowlan and Chicago newspaperman John F. Dille developed the concept into a serialized comic strip in 1929, with the character’s named changed from Anthony to “Buck.” With the name changed to “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” the concept was essentially Rip Van Winkle in the future, with a modern-day man learning to cope 500 years in the future to a world that is no longer recognizable to him.
It was subsequently adapted for comic books, movie serials, radio dramas, and eventually the fondly remembered 1979-1981 tv series.
“Buck Rogers” introduced many concepts that have since become staples of science fiction and space fantasy, including ray guns, rocket ships, jet packs, and laser beams. It also influenced the World’s Fair and Tomorrowland in Disneyland. Not only that, but the 1939 “Buck Rogers: 12 part serial starring Buster Crabbe was, along with the “Flash Gordon” serials from the same era, a major influence on “Star Wars.”
Mary Parent and Cale Boyter are overseeing for Legendary. Cory Kaplan of Angry Films will co-produce.
Legendary is planning something along the lines of what was originally planned for Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower,” with a prestige television series that leads to a blockbuster film franchise along with an anime-style animated series, all designed to reintroduce the Buck Rogers Universe to modern audiences.
Clooney most recently produced, directed and starred in Hulu’s “Catch-22,” and Netflix’s “The Midnight Sky.”
George Clooney is repped by CAA.
Legendary did not comment.