Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is involved with a revival of The Scorpion King, one of his first major starring roles and a spinoff from the 1999 adventure film The Mummy, which turned out ot be a box office hit and earned two sequels, an animated series, and a long-running Scorpion King franchise, which ran until 2018. The new installment will be written by Jonathan Herman, best konwn for the film Straight Outta Compton and one of the most in-demand screenwriters in Hollywood. Dany Garcia's Seven Bucks Productions will produce the film, which marks his first involvement in the franchise in years.
According to Deadline, who broke the story, Johnson is unlikely to play the title role given the many commitments he has on his schedule, which has become even more densely packed after the covid-19 pandemic shut down production for half a year. That doesn't mean he might not appear in a future installment in some capacity, though.
"The Scorpion King was my very first role ever on the silver screen and I'm honored and excited to reimagine and deliver this cool mythology to a whole new generation," Johnson said in a statement.I" wouldn't have had the career I'm lucky enough to have had it not been for The Scorpion King and I'm thrilled that we at Seven Bucks Productions can help create those same opportunities for other hard working actors today. I believe Jonathan Herman will put in the hard work to deliver a fantastic script for our global audience."
The franchise, which takes place in ancient Egypt about 5,000 years before the events of The Mummy, centers on that film's villain, Mathayus, and tells the story of his rise to become the legendary Scorpion King. The first film, which was the only one to star Johnson, also featured Steven Brand as Memnon; Kelly Hu as Cassandra; Michael Clarke Duncan as Balthazar; and Peter Facinelli as Takmet.
Following the film's release, there were initial plans for a sequel with Johnson to return as Mathayus and go up against a new villain, Sargon, but these plans eventually fell through and the project was shelved. A direct-to-video prequel, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, was released in 2008 with Michael Copon as Mathayus and Randy Couture as Sargon.
Sequels, which were released between 2012 and 2018, starred actors like Victor Webster and Zach McGowan played Mathayus, opposite a number of cult-favorite heavyweights like Billy Zane, Michael Biehn, Rutger Hauer, Lou Ferrigno and former WWE wrestler Eve Torres.
The most recent revival of The Mummy, which starred Tom Cruise and was supposed to kickstart a shared "dark universe" for Universal's monster films, failed to connect with audiences and turned out to be a flop that killed the Dark Universe idea. Whether it was because they knew that was a possibility, or just because they hoped to get Johnson involved again, that film used a new and different villain, leaving Mathayus for his own films down the line.