Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One adaptation is about to hit theaters, but already the film's writer, Zak Penn, has been tapped to take on another high-profile geek project: adapting the comicb ook character of ROM: Spacenight into a blockbuster movie for Paramount Pictures.
Deadline reports Hasbro's Allspark Pictures is working with Paramount on the ROM movie. The character started as a Parker Brother toy before becoming a Marvel comic book, which was later rebooted under the IDW banner. ROM's comics chronicle the tale of a cyborg called ROM (read-only memory) from the planet Galador, who is tasked with saving his world from the invasion of the Dire Wraith race. After saving Galador, ROM continues his battles against the Dire Wraiths on Earth and on other planets.
There's no telling at the moment how the film version would adapt ROM's story and mythos, but given the circumstances of the deal behind the film, it doesn't seem like the character will be crossing over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which currently has an expanding line of cosmic-themed films, like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor, with films like Captain Marvel on deck, and other cosmic characters like Nova expected to get films down the line.
After seeing the rise of films like the Pacific Rim franchise, it's easy to see how a "Robots vs. Aliens" concept - with a super hero twist, to boot - could be an easy sell to audiences, who are increasingly lured by high-concept visually ambitious blockbuster films. The real question here is, what the tone should be.
A movie about a cyborg venturing to alien planets to take on nightmarish creatures is something that could easily steer towards a darker PG-13 or outright R rating. And, in fact, maybe it should. Most sci-fi/horror films are built around the limitations of what human beings can do in space or in alien environments; it's a whole different ball game with a mechanical protagonist. ROM could venture into places that would bend the human mind to experience, to face things that no human could survive. The filmmakers can really let their imaginations run wild with a concept like this, to make something that would make H.R. Giger pee his pants. Hopefully they lean into it.
We'll keep you updated on the development of Paramount's ROM movie.