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Not everything needs a reboot. Particularly when you are a film that already has endured a remake. So when news started to circulate that Gordon Parks’ Shaft was inspiring a reboot – even after Samuel L. Jackson slipped into the role for a remake – several people became enraged.
But the anger and frustration carried by David F. Walker came with extra significance. Walker has been writing Shaft stories for Dynamite Comics, as well as the novel Shaft’s Revenge, and has a close connection to the badass character, in his mind. When he heard that the creator of Black-ish wanted to do a comedic take of Shaft for New Line, Walker wrote an open letter on his blog claiming that such an approach proves that the studio "is more interested in shitting the bed, than making a good Shaft movie."
It only got worse from there. Walker showed real passion for Shaft and the character’s potential when he wrote:
I care about the character, I understand the character, and as anyone who has read my contribution to the legacy of character can tell you, I got that shit right. So, please, listen to me when I say, ‘Don’t make this a comedy. It will suck. It won’t make money. And in doing so, it will ruin the chances of there ever being a decent Shaft movie in the remainder of my lifetime.’"
Harsh. In backing up his claims, David F. Walker points to the fact that comedies that would be similar in tone to Shaft -- from Undercover Brother to Bait -- failed to break the bank. He says he’d much rather see a Shaft movie that mirrors Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer… only, Denzel Washington’s already busy making a new one of those.
Walker makes very valid points when he gets into the need for positive black heroes on screen, not black comedic relief meant to support another white hero. He takes a very strong stance when he writes:
We can leave the superheroics to the white guys, but the black hero can only be heroic if he is wrapped in a comedic package. I believe I speak for many people when I say, ‘No thanks, and fuck you.’"
Now, this is one person’s opinion on a project that is in the very early stages of development. Things could change, or the plan for a new Shaft could answer some of Walker’s questions and concerns. For now, it seems evident that the Shaft writer will go the extra mile to defend the integrity of the hero he has embraced in different medium. And he’s like to avoid more of this:
We’ll track the progress of the new Shaft movie as more details emerge.