On May 26th, 2015, the Tracking Board reported that 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment are planning on rebooting the franchise based on Kevin O’Neill and Alan Moore’s critically acclaimed graphic novel series. The series was adapted into a film in 2003 starring Sean Connery, much to the chagrin of fans of the original comics. Fox attempted to adapt the series again into a television series in 2013 in the form of a pilot order with producer Michael Green attached as the showrunner and Erwin Stoff as executive producer, but the project never made it to the casting process. Now that the series is getting a cinematic reboot, Fox is currently looking for a director to further develop the project. Details of the plot are still unconfirmed, so it is currently unknown if the new incarnation of the series will seek to be closer to the Moore’s original story. John Davis is producing, with Ira Napoliello and Matt Reilly overseeing the project.
For the uninitiated, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMENT is the story of Mina Murray, who has been charged with assembling a team of extraordinary individuals to defend the British Empire. Along the way, she assembles the likes of Captain Nemo, Allan Quatermain, Dr. Jekyll, and the Invisible Man to attempt to thwart a plot from the ingenious Professor Moriarty. The group must put aside their differences and work together to prevent him from building a weapon that will destroy London and all who stand in his way. Though often controversial, the original series is generally considered a critical darling, with many hailing it as an instant classic. Given that the story is essentially THE AVENGERS of literary characters, a film adaptation seemed like it would be a simple transition to the big screen. However, the film was critically panned for its deviations from the original source material, including but not limited to, turning Mina into a vampire and removing her as the leader of the team in favor of Quatermain.
Though I hesitate to admit this (more importantly, having it immortalized on the internet), as I fear it will make me lose any and all credibility I have with our readers, but I actually liked the 2003 film adaptation when it came out. It wasn’t the greatest adventure flick out there, but it was the first time I had seen a mashup of classic literary characters outside of a Universal Monster film. As such, I had a lot of fun watching the team come together to try to thwart Moriarty and his evil scheme. Even years later when I finally read the first volume of the original graphic novel, a part of me still preferred the lighthearted camp of the film in contrast to Moore’s harsh and unflinching portrayal of these characters. And now, at the risk of losing even more credibility from all of you who let my first admission slide, I must make another confession that I may come to regret. Personally, I find many of Moore’s works to be a little pretentious and overrated. Don’t get me wrong, the influence of his work cannot be denied, but in my mind his works like V FOR VENDETTA and even WATCHMEN are far from perfect. Much like with the film adaptations of those comics, there are things I prefer in the LEAGUE adaptation and things I prefer from the original graphic novel. I would have loved for the film to have focused on Mina in the way that the comics did, but boy did I prefer the film’s version of Quartermain and the Invisible Man (and believe me, if you haven’t read the comics, the less I say about that, the better)! My point here is that all in all, even though I think we have enough reboots and sequels as it is, I don’t mind the studio taking another crack at this franchise, as there is clearly room for improvement. For this story, I’m not a purist who needs everything from the original series to be intact on the big screen (because I’ll be honest, there are things from the original that I’d rather not see again); but it would be nice for us to have Mina as the leader of the League again, because quite frankly that’s where she belongs.
What do you think of the news? Do you think LEAGUE deserves another chance at the big screen, or do you think this literary team up should have never left the page to begin with? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
~ Megan Salinas
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