Netflix has long utilized comic book properties in building up its slate of originals films and TV shows, from Locke & Key to The Old Guard (and its upcoming sequel) to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, to say nothing of the now-gone Marvel shows and the growing list of manga adaptations. One of the most popular of the bunch has been The Umbrella Academy, with all of its superpowered surrealism, with Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman also tapped to take over Netflix subscribers’ brains for a while. Now, it’s been revealed that the streaming service is bringing an A+ pair of comic properties to life, with Idris Elba, Bullet Train’s director and a Stranger Things writer on board.
Let’s take a closer look at both upcoming projects from Netflix and Dark Horse Comics, starting with the feature film that could very well serve as the closest we’ll ever get to the holy grail of Idris Elba playing James Bond.
Bang! - Film
The first project up for discussion is the 2020 comic series Bang!, which will center on the GOAT of secret agents taking on a terrorist cult that has plans to bring about an apocalypse through a series of novels meant to take over people’s minds as they read the books. The central spy is tasked with taking out the author of the potentially dangerous reading material, but the job definitely won’t be quite so simple.
Idris Elba is set to star in the feature project, and though it wasn’t technically specified if he’d be portraying the main spy or not, one can only hope. Elba will also serve as a producer for the film adaptation, with Bullet Train and Deadpool 2 helmer David Leitch taking on directing duties for it. (He’ll also be an EP.) Handling scripting honors for Bang! will be the comic’s always amazing writer Matt Kindt (who co-created the series with artist Wilfred Torres) and Bullet Train’s screenwriting Zak Olkewicz. So fans can easily expect this to be as slick and gleeful a spy thriller as it gets, and with a sardonic sense of humor behind it all.
In case you needed something extra to get excited about, the first issue of Bang! featured a splendid blurb from Keanu Reeves that says: “A great fucked up blend of James Bond and Tintin.” Leitch worked with Reeves as a producer for the John Wick series, while Kindt and Reeves co-created the ongoing comic BRZRKR, which is also set for a hyper-violent feature adaptation.
Mind MGMT - TV Show
Keeping with the Matt Kindt-ness of it all, one of the comic storyteller’s most expansive series, Mind MGMT, is going the episodic route for Netflix. In this project, which doesn’t yet have a star attached for any lead roles, a young woman finds herself mixed up with a top-secret government program dubbed Mind Management, which is known to get into high-tech shenanigans involving weaponized telekinesis, mind-controlling commercials, sentient and understandable dolphins, and more. The woman’s goal is seeking out the former Mind MGMT standout who served as the program’s pride and joy, as well as its biggest disaster, in a world that becomes increasingly harder to find trust in.
While we don’t know who will be in front of the camera, or behind it for that matter, Netflix did reveal that Stranger Things writer Curtis Gwinn will be scripting the episodic adaptation. And if anyone knows how to craft stories that draw in streaming audiences by the millions, it’s a Stranger Things writer.
Dark Horse, whose head honchos Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg will serve as executive producers on both of the above projects, also has another pair of in-development projects for Netflix. One is a feature adaptation of Joelle Jones’ excellent killer-for-hire thriller Lady Killer, which Blake Lively is both starring in and directing, and the other is a fully original concept called Revenge Inc., which has Emerald City co-creator Matthew Arnold on board as showrunner.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.