Hollywood superstar George Clooney has signed on to produce, and possibly star in, Legendary's upcoming revival of the Buck Rogers property. The plan is to go big with the classic pulp her, as Legendary hopes to develop first a miniseries -- from comics writer Brian K. Vaughan -- and then a movie and an animated spinoff, if the initial series pays off. Originally created in 1928, Buck Rogers is trapped in a coal mine during a cave-in, and wakes up 500 years later in a wildly different version of the world. The character is credited with inspiring generations of sci-fi heroes who came after, most notably Star Wars's Luke Skywalker.
Buck Rogers went on to headline radio shows, comic books, comic strips, and a movie serial during his heyday. It's likely Legendary -- who helped produce Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy but has not since had a superhero/comic book franchise under its belt -- hopes to create a franchise that can compete with Star Wars at Disney/Disney+.
The last time there was a successful Buck Rogers project onscreen was an NBC TV movie in the '70s, which was followed by a short-lived TV series. That version, titled Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, starred Gil Gerard and Erin Bay. Numerous attempts have been made to bring the character to the screen since, but they have fallen short. One particular version would have been written and directed by Frank Miller, but fell apart when The Spirit bombed.
Odd Lot Entertainment pushed ahead with an effort to make a movie, but was blocked by The Dille Family Trust, which controls the estate of the character's original publisher. The Trust claims copyright ownership over the characters and books in the series, although some argue that it has passed into public domain by now. A lawsuit over this issue between the Trust and producers determined to exploit the IP essentially drove The Dille Family Trust into insolvency; in 2017, the Trust filed for bankruptcy, but in 2018 a court ruled that it failed to qualify for bankruptcy protection.
There was also a planned webseries in 2009, which got as far as bringing Gerard and Bay back to play Rogers's parents, but it too fell apart before it was ever produced and released.
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