What will the ‘Metal Gear Solid’ movie be about? We have some ideas of where the film franchise could go

A Metal Gear Solid movie with Oscar Isaac starring as everyone’s favorite badass spy, Solid Snake, has been in the works for some time now but it’s been a while since we’ve gotten any sort of update about what the video game adaptation might entail. Luckily, we have our own movie pitch for where the franchise could start that we wanted to share.

Isaac himself gave us our most recent update on the Metal Gear Solid movie, which he gave on the red carpet of the Disney Plus show Moon Knight, as We Got This Covered previously reported. When asked for an update by IGN, Isaac said back in March,

“We’re searching. We’re searching like Solid Snake. We’re climbing through air ducts, we’re looking for the story.”

Isaac’s remark seems to indicate that the Metal Gear Solid film’s co-writers — Jay Basu and Derek Connolly — and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts are perhaps still struggling to zero in on the plot for an inaugural film outing for the remarkably dense and sci-fi heavy military fiction video game series most famous for its stealth elements. 

As it happens, the writer of this article previously made a TikTok giving his own pitch about where a movie starting point for Metal Gear Solid could take place: in the jungle amidst a plot set in Big Boss’ Outer Heaven, à la an amalgamation of the MSX original Metal Gear game from 1987 and its sequel, 1990’s Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.  

@dannypeterson03

#oscarisaac recently spoke about the status of the #metalgearsolid movie, saying, “we’re searching like solid snake…looking for the story.” so here’s my pitch of what I think they should do with the #metalgearsolidmovie #greenscreen #solidsnake #oscarisaac #commentary

♬ original sound – dannypeterson03

Essentially, we want to set up a franchise that is a kind of mixture of anime and James Bond. To start things off, the first film can be relatively grounded in reality — you could almost believe the story unfolding in real life. Then, as each movie progresses, it gets more and more fantastical and sci-fi. 

In the tradition of classic movie pitches, we look to already-established movies as inspirational “templates,” with the first Metal Gear Solid movie drawing from two films: the Vietnam-era survival drama Rescue Dawn and the Vietnam war epic Apocolypse Now

Similar to Apocolypse Now, the plot of the first Metal Gear Solid movie can center on a mid-career soldier, Isaac’s Solid Snake, who is given a top-secret mission to take down a colonel who has gone mad, Big Boss, and who has created his own nation of soldiers, known as Outer Heaven.

As the film unfolds, in a jungle landscape, Snake must depend on survival tactics to withstand the harsh environment, such as collecting rainwater to drink and using wildlife to eat for nourishment, similar to how Christian Bale’s character, Dieter Dangler, survives in Rescue Dawn in the jungles of Laos.

If you haven’t watched the based-on-a-true-story survival drama directed by Werner Herzog, do yourself a favor and check it out, and you tell me if Bale eating a live snake in Rescue Dawn isn’t the closest thing we’ve gotten so far to a Metal Gear Solid tale in movie form. The Oscar-winning actor really did capture a live snake for the scene, as well, as he recalled in an interview with MTV, though he bit into a dummy prop when it came to the actual chomping part.

The first Metal Gear Solid movie can be a survival thriller, with action sprinkled in — similar to how The Batman was a noir thriller, with action sprinkled in — rather than going full-tilt James Bondian. That way, the film can maintain the stealth-heavy influence of the source material and serve as an excellent medium for plenty of character development along the way.

Snake will also have a best friend character, similar to Steve Zhan’s character in Rescue Dawn, who he will have to break out of a POW camp. Snake will achieve this by way of getting captured himself, sharing a cell with his companion, and the two of them using stealth techniques to ambush the guards by memorizing their shift changes, in a scene that will resemble the escape scene in Rescue Dawn. Snake’s friend will be his fellow soldier, Gray Fox.

Over the course of the movie, we learn Big Boss has gained nuclear capabilities with a still-experimental prototype of an advanced bipedal tank, called Metal Gear, that can traverse uneven terrain in order to launch a nuclear strike from anywhere.  

On the way to confront Big Boss, Gray Fox betrays Snake and reveals he is working for the enemy. They have a bare-knuckle fistfight in a minefield and it seems Snake has defeated his former friend, though Snake doesn’t check to make sure Gray Fox is dead after he stepped on a land mine. Due to enemy fire, Snake must evacuate the minefield instead of searching for Gray Fox’s body. 

Eventually, Snake confronts Big Boss, who operates the Metal Gear weapon in order to destroy Snake. But Snake is able to defeat the tank using a rocket launcher. Snake then drags Big Boss out of the Metal Gear’s cockpit to finish the job. Big Boss tells Snake he is his father while he dies in Snake’s arms. 

At the end of the film, Snake’s reinforcements blow up the makeshift rogue nation of soldiers known as Outer Heaven — and the tank prototype — and Snake escapes via rescue helicopter. 

The follow-up movie is when we take the franchise to the incident on Shadow Moses Island, in Alaska, where a group of terrorists is trying to not only rebuild the Metal Gear prototype, and make it fully operational, but resurrect Big Boss’ dream of an army of mercenary soldiers — roughly translating the events of 1998’s PlayStation title Metal Gear Solid.

Like in the game, we’ll learn through the course of the film that the leader of the terrorists is called Liquid Snake and that he is Solid Snake’s long-lost brother. Liquid will reveal to Snake that they are both clones of Big Boss. 

And just like in the 1998 classic, Gray Fox will return as a cybernetically-enhanced super soldier prototype. Similar to Sebestation Stan’s Bucky Barnes arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, across the movies Captain America and its sequel, Winter Soldier, we can establish Gray Fox as Solid Snake’s friend in the first film, only for him to return as the sometimes-villainous Cyborg Ninja in the sequel. Similar to Bucky, it is revealed that Gray Fox was captured by a nefarious group who experimented on him after he was discovered with serious injuries following his bare-knuckle fight with Snake in the minefield

The existence of the Cyborg Ninja in the movie sequel is an example of how the franchise can become increasingly fantastical as it goes along, with each installment being more mind-bending than the last. 

From that point, each mainline game in the Metal Gear Solid series focused on the modern timeline of events can be given its own loosely adapted movie translation, but perhaps leaving the lesser aspects on the cutting room floor. For instance, an adaptation of the 2001 game Sons of Liberty might work best if Solid Snake remains as the main character in that film, rather than shifting the focus on Raiden, like in the game. 

The Sons of Liberty movie adaptation can perhaps take inspiration from movies like The Matrix and the aforementioned Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with its plot about the AI shadow government known as The Patriots.

By the time we reach the task of making a cinematic adaption of the 2008 game Guns of the Patriots, hopefully, the film franchise will have formed enough of its own identity to where it can simply branch off entirely from the game series — but operate in the same spirit as Hideo Kojima’s beloved creations. It might be for the best for the MGS movies to eventually become more independent from the games so that we don’t need to include the likes of some of the goofier characters like Drebin and his monkey companion, the diarrhea-prone Johnny Sasaki, and the villain mashup abomination that is Liquid Ocelot, the gunslinger who appears to be possessed by his arm transplant donor. 

As for Big Boss’ origin story — like we’ve seen in games like Meal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain — there’s so much material there that it might make for a compelling multi-season prequel TV series instead of its own movie franchise. Imagine a high-quality period-piece military drama, to the caliber of HBO’s Band of Brothers, in production value, but focused on the fictional military career of the legendary Big Boss for season after season. Such a concept, and the greater room to breathe in a series format, could possibly surpass the mainline Metal Gear Solid movie franchise in terms of quality storytelling and compelling subject matter, should it come to fruition. 

Case in point, the nearly endless dramatic storytelling fodder that exists in the relationship between Big Boss, AKA Naked Snake, and his mentor, The Boss, in Metal Gear Solid 3. Wouldn’t it be great to see how The Boss and Naked Snake came up with close-quarters combat together — and how their friendship blossomed on the battlefield — unfolding over multiple seasons?

We’re not saying star Oscar Isaac, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and writers Jay Basu and Derek Connolly have to run with any of these ideas for the forthcoming Metal Gear Solid movie. But in case the filmmaking team behind the project is experiencing writer’s block, consider this the oil they could use to lubricate the gears —the metal gears, that is. 

There currently is not a release date for the Metal Gear Solid movie, according to IMDb, and the film is considered to be in pre-production.