With Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron breaking big at the box office and Warner Bros. powering ahead toward a Justice League movie, perhaps it was only a matter of time until Fox decided to revisit yet another team of unlikely heroes. According to Variety, the studio is reawakening The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, last adapted into a middling 2003 flick, with the aid of Chronicle producer John Davis (through his Davis Entertainment banner).
The plan is to launch a franchise of films based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. That’s what Fox had been aiming for the last time around, but negative reviews and a disappointing worldwide take of just $180 million quashed any hopes of a sequel. Of course, with Fox doubling down on superhero families with its X-Men and Fantastic Four properties, execs likely feel that the cinematic climate is finally right for a League franchise.
The series will again center on the efforts of Victorian-era literary characters to combat a common threat for the good of the world. Moore and O’Neill’s first novel picked up in 1898, as a post-Dracula Mina Murray (having divorced Jonathan Harker and dropped his last name) is tasked by a government agent with assembling a team of extraordinary individuals. Working with Captain Nemo, she travels the world, ultimately recruiting explorer Allan Quatermain, The Invisible Man and Dr. Jekyll to form a top-secret team of do-gooders.
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Essentially, the first League film attempted to be a Victorian Avengers, and there’s no reason to expect Fox will diverge from that core concept with superhero team-up movies making as much at the box office as they do. However, what seems clear is that the studio really needs to lock down a talented, distinctive helmer if it wants the franchise go anywhere special.
You can bet Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn’t have worked without the wry brilliance of James Gunn, and that Star Wars: Episode VIII is going to benefit immensely from the singular talents of Rian Johnson. By taking risks on helmers who make every film their own, studios are ensuring that even the safest blockbusters are getting an exciting injection of intrigue. Fox would be well-advised to hand the reins to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen over to someone who could do something, well, extraordinary.
My pick? Cary Fukunaga has gone period before for Jane Eyre, and his first season of True Detective was thrillingly atmospheric. This could be the helmer’s first action-oriented pic, especially now that his two-part adaptation of IT has fallen through the cracks.
Your suggestions? Leave them below.