Just over a year ago, comic creator Brian K. Vaughan signed an overall deal with Legendary to develop content for the studio. Under the terms of this deal Legendary would be able to adapt much of Vaughan's creator-owned comics work that hasn't already been optioned, and the first of these has finally come to light. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Vaughan's comic series Ex Machina is in development as a feature film. Screenwriters Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel, who penned the Kristen Stewart-starring Seberg, the WWII drama The Aftermath, and reportedly did uncredited work on Captain Marvel, will write the script.
With the adaptation comes one major change though, the title. Instead of using the comic's title, the film will be titled The Great Machine. This is of course to avoid confusion with Alex Garland's Oscar winning sci-fi film....Ex Machina from 2014 that beat it to the punch. The new title comes directly from the comics though, which tells the story of former superhero Mitchell Hundred aka The Great Machine. In the comics the character has the ability to control machines after an otherworldly incident. The character would go on to become the Major of New York City after intervening during some of the events of 9/11. The film will seemingly follow a similar story, detailing the troubles Hundred faces as a politician and hero whose powers have a mysterious origin.
Vaughan's series, which was drawn by artist Tony Harris, first began in 2004 and concluded after 50 issues in 2010. The series would go on to win the Eisner for Best New Series when it debuted, with Vaughan also winning Best Writer. A feature adaptation of the film has been in the works for many years, being optioned and failing to materialize multiple times over the past 15 years.
"Legendary was instrumental in helping to revolutionize the way the world thought of 'comic-book movies,'" Vaughan said previously. "So it's a tremendous honor to work with them on adaptations of some of my and my talented collaborators' past and current comics, and I'm looking forward to hopefully creating a few wholly original stories with them, as well."
Legendary was instrumental in developing Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy as well as the Superman reboot Man of Steel with Warner Bros. before signing an exclusive deal with Universal.
Other Vaughan material that's in the works includes a television adaptation of Paper Girls, the time-travel centric series he co-created with Cliff Chiang in 2015. Paper Girls is in development at Amazon Studios. An adaptation of his Y: The Last Man series is also in the works at FX.