Sci-fi takes many forms. There’s your classic alien invasion, popularized by films like War of the Worlds (1953). Then there’s your time travel adventure in films such as Timecop (1994). Or maybe you enjoy robots taking over the world in films like The Terminator (1984) or voyaging through space in Star Trek? Maybe you enjoyed Starship Troopers but want to see something different, like the upcoming film based on the novel rather than the film?
Some of these classic films will be getting remakes – because why would Hollywood be original when they could simply remake or reboot a franchise that has already proven financially viable? Everyone knows about the upcoming Ghost in the Shell adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson, but what about the other sci-fi classic remakes that have gone under the radar?
These upcoming sci-fi remakes could prove to be better than their original counterpart. But more than likely, these films will be bombing at the box office and on the Tomatometer. Let’s check out the 15 Classic Sci-Fi Remakes You Didn’t Know Were Coming.
15. Flash Gordon
Based on a comic strip, Flash Gordon has appeared in just about every medium imaginable: live-action and animated television series, radio serials, novels, games and, of course, films. Created by King Features Syndicate to compete with Buck Rogers, the titular Flash Gordon travels to the planet Mongo with Dale Arden and Dr. Han Zarkov. Gordon plans to revolt against the ruler of Mongo, Ming the Merciless, and also has to deal with a love triangle between him, Dale, and Princess Aurora.
Currently, 20th Century Fox owns the rights to a Flash Gordon movie. It is being produced by John David and George Nolfi. The script is being written by Patrick McKay and JD Payne. Sam J. Jones, the actor who played Flash Gordon in the 1980 film, is interested in appearing in the film. Maybe he’ll be getting a cameo appearance? The team is also trying to get director Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class) to sign onto the project.
14. Logan’s Run
Based on a novel, the original Logan’s Run (1976) takes place in a seemingly utopian society that has a darker side—in order to stop overpopulation, anyone who turns 30 is killed. The protagonist of the story is Logan 5, a former “Sandman” who used to kill those people. Now, he finds himself on the other side, running away from his death. This classic sci-fi film has had numerous people attached to its remake.
Currently, it seems that Simon Kinberg (Rogue One) will be writing and he is producing the movie with Joel Silver. It is planned to be multiple films in an attempt for the studio to make money off a franchise rather than a solo film. There is no word on a director, though previously Carl Rinsch, James McTeigue, Nicolas Winding Refn, Ken Levine (Bioshock), and Bryan Singer were each tapped to call the shots. Ryan Gosling was also planning on starring in the film, but now that seems unlikely.
Another live-action remake of an animated film, Akira has made a lot less headway than Ghost in the Shell. Helmed by Warner Bros., attempts at making the film have gone over about as well as white-washing an entire cast of characters would go down. This white-washing was actually called out previously by Star Trek’s George Takei. Ironically, the newest director reportedly involved with the film is Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond). The script was to be penned by Marco J. Ramirez (showrunner for season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil show), but considering the difficulties in finding a director and cast, there is the possibility the project will be handed over to another writer.
Akira is based on a manga by Katsuhiro Otomo. The 1988 film had Otomo behind it and had a cult following. The story takes place in a dystopian Tokyo during 2016. The main characters are Tetsuo Shima, who has psychic power, and his friend who is also the leader of his biker gang, Shotaro Kaneda. Let’s see if Hollywood can outdo this anime classic while still staying true to the manga (hopefully if they can’t, it’ll at least be entertainingly bad).
12. Alien Nation
Alien Nation (1988) combined several genres, resulting in a buddy cop movie taking place in a neo-noir science fiction setting. A humanoid species called the “Newcomers” starts to assimilate into Los Angeles, much to the dismay of the populace. The story focuses on a veteran police investigator (played by James Caan) and the first “Newcomer” detective in LA (played by Mandy Patinkin) as they try to solve a homicide. The new film will be directed and written by Mike Nichols (Loving). Nicholas has said it isn’t really a remake but is based on an idea of his that he is putting into the Alien Nation film, reminiscent of 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Nicols commented, “Fox called to ask me to do that. I said, ‘No.’ But I had been working on this bigger idea of my own and then I thought about it said, well you know, that’s a good title. And that title could go on to my bigger idea, then maybe I might actually get a chance to get it made.” This is rather like a slap to the face for people who want a more direct Alien Nation remake, but while the director won’t call it a remake, it could still be considered one. Plus, it’ll likely have similar themes to the original, considering how present those are in our society today.
11. The Black Hole
Not your average Disney film, The Black Hole (1979) was about a crew in space who meet the crazy Dr. Hans Reinhardt. The man is alone with a group of robots on a giant ship and he plans on driving it into a black hole. The remake was going to be directed by Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion, TRON: Legacy) and written by Jon Spaihts (Passengers, Prometheus). However, the possibility of this remake happening has been growing bleaker and bleaker every day. The film had to be put on hold because Kosinski is working on TRON 3.
Now, because Disney owns LucasFilms, they may feel like their total sci-fi focus should be on Star Wars. Spaihts confirms this thought and more during an interview with Slash Film: “I loved that script. It sits uneasily in Disney’s world as a dark epic, and Disney is in a very colorful place. They already have multiple big space epics going, so I don’t know how or whether it’ll find its way to light of day, but I sure wrote a heck of a movie and was thrilled to do it. It was very faithful to the original but clever in all the ways in that first film was silly, I hope.” But you never know, it could still happen.
10. The Blob
The Blob has been remade a couple of times, but that’s not going to stop Hollywood from trying again! Originally it was a Steve McQueen film from 1958 that was then remade with Shawnee Smith in 1988. The movie is about exactly what it sounds like: a blob. Specifically, it’s about a blob that comes from outer space to Earth and kills people. Goldcrest Film will be paying to make the film and Simon West (Con Air) is planning on directing the film. Supposedly it is one of West’s top priorities.
It was speculated the film could come out in 2016, but since the year is almost over, it’s likely the film will be released some time in 2017. In a bit of fun news, it was revealed Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers, Pulp Fiction) has signed on to be in the movie. Hopefully between now and when the movie comes out he doesn’t skip out on the project, given how many other films he’s going to be in.
The original Explorers (1985) featured the debuts of Ethan Hawke (The Magnificent Seven, Sinister) and River Phoenix (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Stand By Me). Along with Bobby Fite, the three play teenagers who build a spaceship. The blueprints for creating the ship came in the form of recurring dream experiences by one of the boys. But what will three young boys do once their spaceship is complete? That’s one of the questions the film answers… and Paramount Pictures is looking for it to be answered again in a remake.
The remake is being written by Geoff Moore and Dave Posamentier (Better Living Through Chemistry), as well as produced by Josh Appelbaum and Andrew Nemec (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). The only real info about the movie came from The Hollywood Reporter, who reported that an insider told them the tone could be similar to Welcome to Yesterday, a Michael Bay-Platinum Dunes produced movie about teenagers who build a time machine.
8. Fantastic Voyage
Fantastic Voyage (1966) was a classic sci-fi adventures about a submarine crew made microscopic and put into a scientist’s body in order to repair damage to his brain. Plans for a sequel or remake have been circulating since 1984,with James Cameron planning on writing and directing the film since 1997. Instead, Cameron decided to work on Avatar. The next director was Roland Emmerich, but he would not use the script written by Cameron. Eventually, due to a writer’s strike, Emmerich would go on to make 2012 instead.
But the film may finally be getting out of development hell. David Goyer and Justin Rhodes are currently writing the script. Cameron is back on the project in the form of his production company Lightstorm Entertainment. Earlier this year, The Hollywood Reporter announced Cameron was in talks with Guillermo del Toro to get him to direct the film. It will supposedly be shot in native stereoscopic 3D.
7. Flight of the Navigator
Another Disney sci-fi adventure, Flight of the Navigator (1986) who finds an alien ship that transports him eight years into the future. Back in 2012, it was announced Colin Trevorrow would be remaking the film for Disney. However, numerous films such as Jurassic World and Star Wars: Episode IX have gotten in the way.
The director stated in an interview with SlashFilm that “Derek [Connolly] and I did a draft of that and it was just one of those things that I don’t know if they’re still developing it. I know they were thinking of doing it for a while and I wonder if the priorities of Disney have just changed or evolved. That was pre-Marvel expanding universe, pre-Star Wars. A lot of things have changed over there. So I don’t know what’s going on with that one.” Most likely, the film won’t happen, or will still have many years to go before it’s remade.
6. Death Race 2050
Death Race 2050 is a remake of Death Race 2000 (1975). The original film took place in the distant future… the year 2000! This dysoptian future featured a cross country car race in which contestants had to kill pedestrians to earn points; the more brutal the kill, the higher the points awarded. It was a political satire that starred the likes of David Carradine (Kill Bill) and Sylvester Stallone (Rocky).
Death Race 2050 has been completed and will be out on January 17, 2017. It is directed by G.J. Echternkamp, who wrote the screenplay with Matt Yamashita. The film stars Manu Bennett (Spartacus) as the half-man, half-machine Frankenstein, originally played by Carradine. He is the racing champ and a fan favorite. Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) plays the Chairman who rules this world. It is rated R for violence, gore, language, some sexual material and nudity. Check out the trailer for murder, mayhem, madness and more.
5. The Invisible Man
Universal have been developing their shared cinematic universe of monsters, ranging from Frankenstein to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. They’ve added the Invisible Man to their monstrous roster as well. Based on H.G. Wells novel, The Invisible Man (1933) was a loving adaptation to the book. The plot followed scientist Jack Griffin who accidentally turned himself invisible and is trying to find a way to reverse the process. The drug he took that made him invisible had several other dangerous side effects, causing his mind to snap and increase his aggressiveness, leading Griffin to kill in his quest to become visible again.
This will be the third movie in Universal Studios’ “Monster Universe”, coming after Dracula Untold (2014) and The Mummy (2017). There is a rumor Tom Cruise’s character from The Mummy will make an appearance in the film. The only actor currently signed onto the film is Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Caribbean), who will be playing the mad scientist. Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan will be producing the film. It is currently being written by Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Now You See Me).
4. Short Circuit
Short Circuit (1986) and Short Circuit 2 (1988) are about robot Johnny Five, who was part of a group of experimental robots that was electrocuted, causing him to become intelligent. He escapes in the first film only to get taken advantage of by criminals in the second film.The synopsis for the upcoming remake is similar to the first film, focusing again on robot Johnny Five (simply called “Number 5”), this time as a experimental military robot who gains sentience after getting hit by lightening. Alongside a young boy, Number 5 must persuade his creators that he’s alive.
Director Roland Emmerich and writer/producer Dean Devlin are planning to remake their film Stargate (1994). The film is centered on an interstellar teleportation device that sends a group to another planet of humans, similar to the ancient Egyptians, who worship Ra. The movie led to three spin-off TV shows. The upcoming remake will be the first in a planned trilogy of Stargate movies. The script is being written by Nicolas Wright and James A Woods. The film was slow-going thanks to their involvement with the Independence Day sequel, but now that movie is out and we can expect Stargate sooner rather than later.
According to Dean Devlin in an interview with Variety: “It’s not a story that can take place 20 years later. So the only way to really tell that trilogy is to go back from the beginning and start the story all over again… Today, studios tend to not think of movies as trilogies or sequels (but) as cinematic universes. So as we’ve been developing it, we found all these avenues that allow it to expand. The foundation is exactly the same as what we wanted to do, but now the possibilities are much wider.”
Taking place during the Cold War era, WarGames (1983) was about high schooler David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) accidentally hacking a military supercomputer, causing it to activate the nuclear arsenal. Fun and games just got a lot less fun and a lot more deadly. The film is currently being remade by director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac). He commented to Den of Geeks that “we’ve been developing the script, and I think it’s an exciting project. If there’s ever a reason to remake a movie, it’s WarGames. If there was ever a movie primed to say something new and bold and relevant for our time, it’s WarGames. So that’s why I see the potential in remaking the movie.”
He has not decided how he will be shooting the film stylistically, but Israelite does deny using the found footage technique he implemented in Project Almanac. All he knows is he wants it “to feel immediate, intimate, energetic, and have a kind of teenage youthfulness to it”. However, he may be a bit busy, what with his Power Rangers movie coming out soon.
A security agency that supervises time travel was the main focus on Timecop (1994). The main character was one of their officers, Max Walker (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme), who fights for his life against a politician trying to change the past. The film was based off a comic book mini-series published by Dark Horse that took place in the future– which, back then, meant 2004. Universal announced plans to remake the movie without its star actor back in 2010. It is being produced by Marc Shmuger (We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, The Spectacular Now). Mike Richardson, the founder of Dark Horse, will be an executive producer on the film.
The most recent news about the film came in 2014, when The Hollywood Reporter stated Mark and Brian Gunn (screenwriters for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) were tapped to write the script for Timecop. According to them, “The first movie had the sci-fi elements very much in the foreground; however, this version of Timecop is a more gritty and grounded police story with the sci-fi in the background, though it will still have the main character on a personal journey.” Tone-wise they said it could be similar to Rian Johnson’s time travel movie Looper but “bigger in scope and ambition.”
Which one do you think will bomb the hardest? Do you think there could be a hidden gem among them? Or will most of them be stuck in development hell? Let us know in the comments!