Development on The Green Hornet and Kato movie continues and the project has potentially taken a major step forward. Deadline brings word that filmmaker Leigh Whannell, who revived The Invisible Man to critical acclaim and huge box office back in 2020 (in addition to creating many horror franchises like Saw and Insidious), is in talks to helm the new film. According to the trade, Universal Pictures (who collaborated with Whannell on the H.G. Wells update) has been meeting with directors for the "past couple of weeks" but that the filmmaker has seemingly won the job after throwing his name into the mix.
Screenwriter David Koepp of Spider-Man and Jurassic Park fame penned the script for the new take on the classic characters, which Deadline claims that the studio is "high on." Pre-production on the film will seemingly be fast-tracked as soon as a deal closes with Whannell. It was previously announced back in 2020 that a new feature film of the character was in the works when former head of Marvel Studios Michael Helfant announced that his Amasia Entertainment banner had secured the rights to the character. In addition to this new movie, Kevin Smith is also developing a Green Hornet animated series.
The Green Hornet first debuted on the inaugural "The Green Hornet" radio program in 1936 where it played as a companion to The Lone Ranger show (the two characters were later retconned to be related). In the context of the series, the hero The Green Hornet is newspaper publisher Britt Reid who spends his nights in costume with his sidekick/driver Kato terrorizing the criminals of the city with their pre-Batmobile super car The Black Beauty. By day Reid uses his publishing prowess to paint his alter-ego as a wanted criminal, building on the myth of his alter-ego.
Following his success on the radio, the character made the leap to comics in the 1940s and was still being published as recently as two years ago by Dynamite. He then took the jump to the big screen appearing in two sets of film serials the same year. The Green Hornet reached the peak of his popularity when he debuted on television in the 1960s which starred Van Williams as the titular hero and legendary martial artist Bruce Lee as Kato.
Hollywood previously tried to make The Green Hornet a major player on the big screen with a 2011 reboot starring and co-written by Seth Rogen. The Sony produced film failed to light the box office on fire domestically, bringing in $98 million in the US on a $120 million budget. Since that film was released other studios have attempted to follow suit with Paramount announcing in 2016 that they were developing a gritty take on the material with The Accountant filmmaker Gavin O'Connor lined up to direct. The rights to the property lapsed before that version could make it in front of cameras.
(Cover Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)