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For the notorious action sci-fi satire film, Starship Troopers, it seems that its service could "guarantee citizenship" in a different arena: television. While rumors of a remake of the 1997 Paul Verhoeven film have swirled sporadically over the years, it seems that producer, Neal H. Moritz, who had long been attached develop to the proposed reboot film, revealed that the project might still manifest as a TV show.
In an interview with Hitfix conducted during last week’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Neal H. Moritz fielded a question about the long-gestating revival of the Starship Troopers franchise. Seeing as it had been a while since any updates have been provided, the veteran producer was asked if the project was still in play. As Mortitz responds:
We're developing it. We've actually been talking about either doing it as a feature or doing it as a television show. So, we’ll see.
Based on what’s being said, it doesn’t sound as if the revival of Starship Troopers managed to make much headway after all these years. Back in late 2011, Moritz was reportedly attached to a prospective reboot film for the franchise, in what would have capped off a trio of wanton remakes of signature Paul Verhoeven films, joining 2012’s Total Recall and 2014’s Robocop. However, for some reason, momentum for Starship Troopers tapered off, possibly due to the less-than-stellar box-office performance and critical reception that those genre remakes would garner.
The 1997 Verhoeven Starship Troopers film, which, for a brief period in time, served to herald the big-budget leading man status of Casper Van Dien, was hardly a rousing success at the box office, grossing a mere $121 million return on the film’s monstrous $105 million budget. However, its formula of taking the conventional war movie and injecting big-budget popcorn sensibilities and satire made the film especially memorable. Consequently, its tongue-in-cheek nature and audacious, over-the-top attitude did manage to connect with a segment of the moviegoing audience, and a pair of made-for-DVD sequels did surface in 2004 and 2008, as did a short-lived 1999 syndicated animated series.
The mythos is set in a far-future in which a military-controlled Earth government uses threats and manipulation to get its people to take arms against an imminent threat in the form of giant alien arachnids. While the premise of humans in the future rallying against alien invaders of some type is hardly unique to the genre, Starship Troopers managed to distinguish itself (to a generally mixed reception) with its noteworthy use of political nuance as the arguably-fascist government of future Earth dangles the privilege of citizenship to the populace in exchange for the civic service of joining ranks and taking arms in the perpetual war effort. It was an idea that was especially prevalent in the original 1959 Starship Troopers novel by Robert A. Heinlein, from which the film was inspired.
There are certainly plenty of philosophical ideas to explore in a Starship Troopers revival in addition to the promise of pulse-pounding action. The possibility of the property unfolding in an episodic format, allowing time for its universe to take shape, could present intriguing possibilities for the sci-fi property, especially with its notable/notorious idiosyncrasies.