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UPDATE: With some new information over at the original source, we've learned that the story doesn't involve aliens. The below article has been edited to reflect that change.
Presenting expansive worlds that often offer more questions than answers, screenwriter-producer Damon Lindelof is quite the controversial figure in contemporary pop culture. First Lost thrilled and perplexed TV audiences, and most recently Prometheus divided moviegoers who either reveled in or were repelled by Lindelof's heady take on the sci-fi franchise. So news on 1952, his upcoming collaboration with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol helmer Brad Bird, is sure to stir cheers and jeers as it reportedly focuses on making alien contact.
Bird was attached to 1952 last spring, but at the time details on the film—like most of Lindelof's projects—were being kept closely guarded. Now Vulture reports the mysterious movie will not be set in 1952, but rather the present, and will aim to emulate the spirit of Close Encounters of The Third Kind. Like that Spielberg classic, Lindelof and Bird's picture will center on a man in his late forties who finds himself on a journey of self-discovery-- just not with the alien life that Roy Neery discovered in that film.
But why—you might wonder—is the film called 1952? It possibly comes from a rumored visit Lindelof made to the studio earlier this year. Reportedly, Disney executive Sean Bailey gave the scribe access to an interesting artifact from the Disney vault: a banker's box of forgotten files for pitches from what eventually became the Imagineering department.
According to Vulture, the box had "That Darn Cat!" scribbled on it, but that was crossed out, and "1952" written in its place. Within the box of files, Lindelof reportedly found a treasure trove of documents and primary source materials that seemed the base for a movie or theme park ride (or both?). Considering the rumored material, it's fitting that wild theories on 1952 are already brewing. So here's another: Lindelof is looking to begin an advanced marketing campaign that's meant to kick off before the movie goes into production next year. It'll be a treasure hunt dropping clues—and if he plays true to form red herrings—to build interest and mystique up to the film's eventual release. Could this be the beginning?
Today Lindelof and Bailey are participating in a Q&A at Hollywood’s StoryWorld conference, so perhaps we'll get more clarity on this curiosity soon.