After news from a year ago pointed to a revival of the classic comic-strip-inspired property, it seems Twentieth Century Fox is indeed reviving Flash Gordon. Based on who they’re looking to put in the director’s chair, the film could be in solid hands that know the action/sci-fi genre well. It's being reported that Matthew Vaughn may be the man to be the savior of the savior of the universe.
According to a scoop from The Hollywood Reporter, Vaugh is currently in negotiations to take the helm of the upcoming reboot of the venerable Flash Gordon. Having firmly established himself as the visionary behind X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, and the recent dark horse of a hit, Kingsman: The Secret Service, he could bring his directorial skills to the planet Mongo, a setting that combines magic and mysticism with off-the-wall futuristic technology.
Flash Gordon should be a project that’s firmly located right up Matthew Vaughn’s alley. As a director, he’s been known to skillfully walk the line between gritty violence and sublime spectacle in a way that has distinguished him from the rest of the pack. While his 2007 effort, Stardust, may be the only film on his resume that matches the aesthetically fantastical elements that Flash Gordon would likely require, his skills as a seasoned storyteller have only grown since that time. Thus, after proving his ability to reinvent iconic franchises with First Class, with excellent action and engrossing characters, it should be interesting to see how he handles this outlandish tale.
Originally conceived in 1934 by Alex Raymond in the form of a popular, hugely influential comic strip, Flash Gordon went on to become one of the most popular fictional characters to emerge from the panels of comics who didn’t have the suffix "-man" attached to their names. First taking live-action form in the well-known 1930’s serial films starring Buster Crabbe, the character would be realized in numerous renditions, such as a live-action TV series in 1954, various animated shows throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, and there was even a short-lived series on SyFy in 2007. However, it was the 1980 box-office-bomb-turned-cult-classic starring Sam J. Jones that may have best cemented the character’s place in the zeitgeist.
The original story depicted Flash as a Yale-educated polo player (changed to a New York Jets quarterback in the 1980 film), who, along with his love interest, Dale Arden, finds himself blasted into space in a rocket ship invented by Dr. Hans Zarkov to investigate the cause of meteor attacks on Earth. This leads the group to the planet Mongo, ruled by the evil emperor Ming the Merciless. With the help of some of the exotic world’s indigenous peoples, like the Hawkmen, the Shark Men, and the Lion Men, Flash leads a revolt against the dreaded despot.
Flash Gordon is a property that certainly carries itself as an ambitious live-action undertaking, in spite of the fact that it’s been around for 81 years. The visage of Sam J. Jones in his red tank-top, jumping around the screen to the pulse-pounding score by Queen, remains imprinted in the minds of many. However, despite rumors pointing to the new film being a direct sequel, Vaughn may have to divorce the film from the campy, glittery film if it is to be taken seriously. Although, a Sam J. Jones cameo would still be nice.