Variety is running with a story that first appeared on The Tracking Board stating the Fox has entered development on a reboot of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Based on a series of graphic novels by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil, the concept has been adapted to the big screen in 2003 and into a TV pilot in 2013 that went nowhere.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film is a regular visitor to the “worst comic book films” list. Tales of battles between director Steven Norrington and the studio and Norrington and star Sean Connery (whose retirement from acting is blamed on his troubles on the film) are legendary. However, the film did make a profit and if it wasn’t for these squabbles, it might be a franchise running to this day.
That film made a number of changes to the original text, so much so that it bore little resemblance to the comics. The characters of Dorian Gray and Tom Sawyer were added, the villain’s motivations changed completely, and The Invisible Man became a invisible man. The reboot promises to be a return to the original text, which was a veritable encyclopedia of Victoriana and homage to British literature through the ages. They are in the enviable position of being able to present something both recognizable and completely brand new, and since Moore and O’Neil’s series has three volumes spanning over 100 years, with a successful spin-off based on Captain Nemo to boot, this is a ready-made expanded universe in the making.
Of course, that is, if they have a right to the later volumes, all of which came out after the film. The success of the film garnered a lawsuit which Moore became embroiled. The lack of support he got from Fox during the suit and a war with LOEG producer Don Murphy marked the start of Moore’s disenfranchisement with Hollywood. John Davis is listed as the producer on the reboot, but I was surprised that Fox still retained rights to the property at all. It will be interesting to see if the rights Moore and O’Neil signed over include the latter volumes of the series, because I can’t see Moore giving them the rights under any other circumstances.