In 1980, the big screen adaptation of the classic science-fiction adventure comic strip Flash Gordon ended on just the right note. Flash and his allies had won the day, but there was the question as to whether the villainous Ming the Merciless had somehow cheated death and would return to bedevil our heroes once again. It was a nice nod to the hero’s previous screen incarnation in Saturday matinee cliffhanger serials.
A weak box office meant that we never got to see that rematch, even though the film itself would go onto the develop a sizable cult following and appreciation. The property bounced around between studios for several years and is now at 20th Century Fox. After 35 years, might a new Flash Gordon be that rematch between Flash and Ming promised back in 1980?
Speaking with Den Of Geek, Flash Gordon star Sam Jones states that perhaps that dream of a sequel to the original film is not as dead as one would think.
There were plans for sequels, right?
That was then, but up to date now Matthew Reilly, VP of production at Fox Studios, acquired the screenplay rights to Flash Gordon last year, and he hired [Predator/ Chronicle/ Man From U.N.C.L.E producer] John Davis and his staff to write the script. They’re looking to bring out a sequel actually. I met with Matt, we’re in talks about that. I’m very excited. A lot of people over the years, including Stephen Sommers and Neil H Moritz, have acquired the screenplay rights, but for whatever reason they did not do a follow up on the option. So I’m very excited about it.
So would you want to play an older Flash, or a mentor to younger star?
However they want to use me, I’m very excited. I told Matt, however he wants to use me, keep one thing in mind: whatever a younger, leading man can do, I cannot only match him, I can do more! If he does 20 pull-ups, I can do 30 pull-ups. If he can do 100 push-ups, I can do 150 push-ups. Just keep that in mind!
Now I am a big fan of the original and God bless Sam Jones’s optimism, but I have to wonder if any studio is really considering a direct sequel to a 35-year-old movie? Rebooting a franchise or remaking an older film, sure that’s par for the course these days as are sequels and now extended, connective cinematic universes. But the one thing no one is rushing to do is a straight sequel to a cult film three-and-a-half decades old. Even the time that passed between 1959’s The Hustler and 1986’s The Color Of Money was only 27 years.
If anything, I suppose that Fox could be talking with Jones with the idea of having him appear in the movie in some form. We’ve seen actors associated with franchises showing up in reboots and relaunches in small roles as nods to the previous iterations. It’s a practice that started back with Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie, and it has become pretty commonplace today. Jones has already shown that there is good will for his version of the character just based on his appearance as himself in Seth MacFarlane’s Ted. Fox would be foolish not to try to capitalize on that. Then again, this is Fox we’re talking about…