In this age of TV revivals, could Knight Rider be speeding back onto our screens? Series star David Hasselhoff says maybe -- and that if it happens, there's a good chance Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is to thank.
Hasselhoff, who starred as Nick Fury in a Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD TV pilot years before comic book movies and TV made their big resurgence, told TMZ that he and Guardians writer/director James Gunn are working on trying to secure the rights to revive Knight Rider as a TV series, with Hasselhoff reprising his original role.
Hasselhoff told TMZ that he is open to revisiting his old work, and that he has had an idea for Knight Rider for quite some time before Gunn proposed that they try to make it a reality.
“I just look at life — I embrace Baywatch, I embrace Knight Rider — especially Knight Rider — and now we’re in talks about bringing it back as a series which is unbelievable and it’s cool because all of the people who have seen the other reboots of Knight Rider didn’t like it and I keep saying it’s got to be true to what it was. Let me be the old guy, let me be Devon. I can’t run, I can’t fight, I can’t jump, but I can still drive,” Hasselhoff said in a video filmed from his home and called into TMZ.
“We’re talking about doing a full blown TV series and we’re working on the rights right now,” the actor added, seemingly incredulous that the whole thing was taking shape as a result of Gunn's childhood love for the series. “It really came out of my relationship with James and the fact that he watched the show when he was 8 years old. It was crazy. I had this idea for a long time and James just jumped on it and all of a sudden out of his mouth was ‘I’m trying to get the rights to do it.’”
There were no details on a timetable, likely because it is difficult to know when or if rights conflicts will clear up.
The Hoff in the House of Ideas
It's been a long road to finally appearing in a major Marvel movie for David Hasselhoff.
As mentioned, the actor appeared in the 1998 TV movie Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. It falls somewhere between Richard Corman's Fantastic Four and the Generation X pilot in terms of Marvel's '90s live action output.
Back in 2012, Hasselhoff expressed his disappointment in not playing the character of Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, claiming that he was promised he had the role as long as he wanted.
While Hasselhoff had yet to see The Avengers, he claimed his Nick Fury was the organic Nick Fury that was written and discussed with Stan Lee. Hasselhoff said that Stan Lee called him the "ultimate Nick Fury."
Hasselhoff described Nick Fury as someone who “was written to be tongue-in-cheek, and he had a cigar in his mouth, he was a tough guy — he was cool.”
“Avi Arad, when they bought it, said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to be the Nick Fury forever,’ and they lied,” Hasselhoff added. “But that happens to me all the time. That’s when you realize life isn’t fair.”
Shortly thereafter, Samuel L. Jackson joked that he had watched the TV pilot and then set out to do the opposite of everything Hasselhoff did with the character.
Marvel's The Avengers director Joss Whedon joked about Hasselhoff, “He wasn’t available, so we got Sam.”
When the actor got the call to come join the fan-favorite Guardians of the Galaxy, then, he was thrilled. During the TMZ interview, he remarked that he only wished his father had lived long enough to see the film, since it referenced Hasselhoff by name and since the Guardians relationship sprang out of the inspiration Hasselhoff was to young Gunn.
Over the weekend, Gunn released the official music video for "Guardians Inferno," the sole original track from the film's soundtrack, and it's every bit as magical and insane as you would expect.
You can check it out above, with Hasselhoff starring in a video directed by David Yaroveski, who recently collaborated with Gunn on an immersive VR experience for The Belko Experiment, a horror/comedy Gunn wrote.
Yaroveski, who has been friends with Gunn for years and has worked with him often, also directed the 2015 horror movie The Hive.
Gunn, who had promised fans something special would drop today, released the video via his Twitter account.
Gunn is currently working on the screenplay for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is said to be the final film featuring the current configuration of Guardians,while the movie's stars are all making their appearances on the Infinity War set.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, meanwhile, is available digitally today, with a Blu-ray/DVD release following in two weeks.
Knight Rider, meanwhile, is another can of worms entirely.
Hasselhoff played the role of Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long, who was saved from near death and given a new identity after being shot in the face. As Michael Knight, he drove a talking car loaded with gadgets and rudimentary AI from 1982 until 1986. The "Devon" Hasselhoff refers to is Edward Mulhare's Devon Miles, the man who would provide Knight with his mission for the episode.
The series was followed up by a number of spinoffs, sequels, and attempts to revive the franchise; in 1991, Hasselhoff starred in Knight Rider 2000, a TV movie that brought back the original Knight but updated K.I.T.T., his car. 1994 brought Knight Rider 2010, in which Hasselhoff did not appear.
There was also a 1997 spinoff, Team Knight Rider, about a group of people who did essentially what Michael did. The character would reappear in the season finale, but was not played by Hasselhoff. A second season was never picked up.
In 2008, another TV movie reboot was popular enough that NBC picked it up to series, and then increased the order from 13 to 22 episodes...but the show ended after one season.
In the last ten years, there have been at least five separate attempts to make a major motion picture out of Knight Rider, and all have failed. Last year, Machinima announced that they were working with Fast and Furious's Justin Lin on a webseries that was expected to debut in 2017 -- but that seems to have fallen by the wayside as well.
If they were to revive the brand with Hasselhoff and Gunn at the helm, then, it would be something of an accomplishment, managing to use Gunn's affection for Knight Rider to reunite him with Marvel...and then Hasselhoff's relationship with Gunn to revive Knight Rider.