Simon Kinberg, who was the nominal man in charge of the X-Men franchise over its last ten years before the Disney acquisition of Fox, has been signed to produce and write a new feature film based on the classic 1970s science-fiction television series Battlestar Galactica.
Kinberg will be working with producer Dylan Clark, who has been working with property owner NBCUniversal to get the film into production for several years. Kinberg is reportedly starting from scratch and not using any previous screenplays that have been developed.
Battlestar Galactica centers on the last warship of a space fleet that was decimated in a surprise attack from a robotic alien race known as the Cylons. The Galactica now protects a “rag tag, fugitive fleet” of spaceships of the survivors of the twelve worlds decimated in the attack as they search for a fabled lost thirteenth colony known as Earth.
This project is separate from a reboot of the show currently in development with Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail for NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service.
The original 1978 ABC series starred Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict and was an attempt to bring the science-fiction swashbuckling adventure of cultural zeitgeist Star Wars to a weekly TV show. Although it earned respectable ratings, the show’s expensive budget led the network to pull the plug after just one season.
But the show’s fandom lived on and in 2003, the Sci Fi Channel aired a miniseries from writer/producer Ron Moore, reimagining the tale of a lone group of survivors of a genocidal attack fleeing from the tyranny of a cybernetic race known as Cylons. The mini-series, which was influenced by the 9/11 terror attacks and their fallout, proved popular enough to propel a new ongoing series for four seasons, which received critical raves.
Despite the show’s success on television, Universal has beenhaving issues in getting the Galactica franchise to jump to the big screen. Nearly a decade ago, Kinberg’s sometimes X-Men collaborator Bryan Singer was attached to direct a feature film adaptation of the series, with a screenplay by writer John Orloff who had previously written Anonymous, the Shakespeare conspiracy film, and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.
This was not Singer’s first attempt at realizing a Battlestar Galactica project. In 2001, Singer and his producing partner Tom DeSanto were working to launch a television series that would serve as a sequel to the original show for the FOX Network. The production was to the point where set and prop construction was underway when the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 happened. Work on the project was delayed a month, forcing Singer to drop out as director of the two-hour pilot film due to his commitment to helm X2: X-Men United. Without Singer in the director’s chair, Fox grew less enthusiastic and passed on the project. Ultimately, Universal would get the show back on TV with Moore’s version on Sci-Fi Channel.
After Singer dropped out of the film version, Transcendence screenwriter Jack Paglen, The Girl In The Spider’s Web screenwriter Jay Basu and Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy all took turns at trying to create a script that would get the project going.