One of science-fiction’s greatest heroes is heading back to the silver screen. Twentieth Century Fox has snatched up the film rights to Alex Raymond’s seminal comic strip Flash Gordon. Chronicle producer John Davis will be performing the same duties here for the studio, and will be joined by Bourne Ultimatum scripter George Nefti, who has written the story treatment for the film. J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, the writers who have worked on Star Trek 3 and Micronauts for JJ Arbrams’ Bad Robot production shingle, will be turning Nefti’s treatment into a full blown screenplay.
Raymond’s classic comic strip first appeared in newspapers back in 1934 and the adventures of Flash, his lady love Dale Arden and scientist friend Dr. Zarkov on the planet Mongo trying to stop the evil plans of its ruler Ming the Merciless were an instant success. Hollywood soon came calling and the comic strip was adapted into three Saturday matinee serials starring Buster Crabbe. In 1980, producer Dino De Laurentiis brought a new version of Flash Gordon to the screen, one with bright colors, a touch of camp and a blazing soundtrack from the rock group Queen. Although not particularly well received by the critics, the film is still fondly remembered today and was even referenced prominently in Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 comedy Ted.
More recently, the film rights to Flash Gordon have been bouncing around Hollywood, no studio ever getting to a point where they actually wanted to get the film made first at Universal, then Mandalay and finally Sony, where producer Neal Moritz, screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless and director Breck Eisner were working on the project.