Joel Silver Talks ‘Escape from New York’ Trilogy & ‘Batman: Arkham City’ Inspiration

Published 1 year ago by

1981 Escape from New York poster art Joel Silver Talks Escape from New York Trilogy & Batman: Arkham City Inspiration
While the 1980s remake/update/reboot craze seems to have touched on most of the major franchises from that decade (The TerminatorMad Max, RoboCopTotal Recall), one property has been in development for years now: the remake of Halloween director John Carpenter’s 1981 dystopian sci-fi/action flick, Escape from New YorkKurt Russell starred as outlaw Snake Plissken, an Old West-style gunslinger in the near future, who is sent into the island of Manhatten – now a maximum-security prison for the scum of the Earth – to save the President of the United States, who crash-landed inside.

In the years since the remake was announced, directors have come and gone (Total Recall‘s Len Wiseman, The Crazies helmer Breck Eisner), and the possible stars keep changing (Gerard Butler, Timothy Olyphant, Jeremy Renner, Jason Statham or Tom Hardy), but development appeared to ramp up again about a year ago. Überproducer Joel Silver (Die Hard, The Matrix) teamed with Studio Canal to produce a new Escape trilogy, starting with a prequel of sorts.

Now we have something of an update from Silver himself. Talking to Collider, Silver was asked whether or not the Escape from New York script was finished. According to Silver:

“No, no we’re not, no we’re not. I mean, it’s funny because we have a relationship with Studio Canal, which somehow ended up with the rights to that, and it has been floating around L.A. or at least in the development world for a long time.”

kurt russell in escape from new york Joel Silver Talks Escape from New York Trilogy & Batman: Arkham City Inspiration

Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in ‘Escape from New York’

The idea to take the premise and iconic main character of Carpenter’s original film and spin that into a trilogy appears to have been Silver’s. He elaborated on that point:

“I always liked Kurt’s character, the Snake Plissken character, so I’ve always like that idea, but we kind of figured out a way to do almost a trilogy of that story.”

As for what ground a potential prequel could cover, Silver spoke of a celebrated Batman video game as inspiration for how Manhattan became a giant island prison:

“There was a videogame that came out a few years ago called Arkham City, which shows how when Gotham became this kind of walled prison and how it became a walled prison. And they never deal with that in the story of ‘Escape from New York,’ so part of our idea was to kind of see how the city became this walled prison and how the Snake Plissken character was a hero and how he became not looked at as a hero. And then, in the middle of the story, would be the movie that we, you know, previously saw about the President’s daughter goes down, he has to go in and get her. And then, you know, they did a sequel, Escape from LA, but I would like to then kind of find a way to have New York go back to a place that we’d like to see what it is today.”

The reference to Arkham City is interesting, not the least of which because Arkham City took many of its ideas from Escape – the city-prison, of course, but Joker also infected Batman with his poisoned blood to get him to do his bidding. In Escape, Snake is injected with an explosive device that will explode in a certain amount of time if he doesn’t save the President.

Silver’s plans for the property are pretty ambitious, but despite the seemingly endless development, the project is still not even close to going before the camera. Silver said:

“So there is a way to tell the story in three ways, but we haven’t got there yet and we’re just starting.”

Escape From New York Reboot Prequel Joel Silver Talks Escape from New York Trilogy & Batman: Arkham City Inspiration
There are dozens – perhaps hundreds – of dystopian sci-fi action thrillers in existence, but few are as much fun as Escape from New York. We’ve got the grim and serious Terminator and Mad Max reboots on their way, but the genre could use the tongue-in-cheek humor of Escape. If Silver can get this moving – with an angle as fresh and promising as his statements point toward – this could be a fun, viable franchise for years to come.

If they cast it right, that is. And don’t take themselves too seriously. Check out the original’s trailer below – would this tone even work for today’s audiences? It’d be interesting to watch Silver give it a shot, though. Stay tuned for more information.


Escape from New York is in development at Silver Pictures.

Source: Collider

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
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  1. Proof that Silver is a doucebag moron and that Hollywood has ran out of ideas.. tools

  2. True they will never be able to cast well enough to where anyone would be able to touch what Kurt Russell did!

  3. I’d be cool with it if it had Kurt somehow bookend it like this trilogy was him recalling his past before they make one more with him as Snake before he retires from acting. Otherwise, it’ll just be another classic movie I’ve grown up with and loved that was turned into a soulless mess that didn’t need to be remade.

  4. I would prefer it if the EFNY reboot is never made. But, if it is eventually made, I might see it. I think Kurt did a phenomenal job as Snake Plisken. I’m glad that he’s going to be in Fast Seven.

    • Oh yeah, can NEVER have enough of those oscar winning movies!

  5. hi

    • I honestly think that if Assassin’s Creed is successful, they might actually start work on that MGS movie again. It just needs a film that can prove movie adaptions of video games can work.

  6. While a new film around Snake would be nice, this gave me pause:
    “…so part of our idea was to kind of see how the city became this walled prison…”

    It’s one thing if you show me the bank heist or how Snake and Brain met (and what they did to Bob) or Snake in a war. Or a straight up remake. But…sorry Joel. This idea isn’t going to fly. That’s why this project has stalled. Is the story about how the Manhattan island prison gets built or is about Snake Plissken getting a pardon if he rescues The President from an army of crazies led by the Duke, an underworld kingpin?

    • And remakes tend to be such a hated word nowadays, it seems better off if they just made it a prequel instead.

  7. Snake Plisken in the Dark Knight universe. Done correctly I would buy that trilogy.

  8. No Kurt Russell in any way, no remake. Similarly, no “Rowdy” Roddy Piper or Keith David, and any attempt at a remake to “They Live” will be blasphemous. :-)

  9. Why create a trilogy for a film that never needed it? Escape is great on it’s own, end of story. Escape from LA was a pale imitation.

    All I needed to know about Snake, Hauk, Brain, etc. is all right there. I don’t need their back stories. I don’t need to know about why or how New York City became a maximum security prison.

    It’s kinda like the Matrix, and the subsequent films that followed; why even have a trilogy for the Matrix at all, which simply just over analyzed and made the film more complicated than it needed to be?

  10. Escape from New York was awesome.

    Do we really need another remake? I would rather see a prequel about what exactly happened in Cleveland and how Snake lost his eye. Maybe even have Kurt Russell do a part three with flashback about what happened.

    Snake swore he would never go back there but now learns the government wants him to kill the new mayor. When he asks, “After what you a*#%oles put me through in the past, why the hell would you think I’d help you now?”

    “Because the mayor years ago took your eye”

    But I’m sure an unoriginal reboot/remake will be just as good…

  11. As a matter of fact, we could call it “NO ENTERING CLEVELAND”

  12. I like it. Trent’s idea sounds good too. If we could somehow combine those ideas, we have one hell of a movie!

  13. Why can’t Carpenter or Silver make ESCAPE FROM HAWAII ?
    Think about it mutant babes in bikinis, surfer gangs, fighting with Pakalolo traders. Snake Plissken in shorts. It’ll be fun.

    • Good idea! But let’s make that part four

  14. It’s always discouraging when the person in charge of a property shows signs of not knowing some basic components of that property. He states: “And then, in the middle of the story, would be the movie that we, you know, previously saw about the President’s daughter goes down, he has to go in and get her. And then, you know, they did a sequel, Escape from LA”.

    Getting the President’s Daughter WAS the sequel Escape from LA. NY was about getting the President himself and the briefcase with highly sensitive contents.

    I’m all for doing setup as opposed to voice-over monologues to establish settings, but this can be done through dialogue without taking up half a film to establish then rush Plisskin into his role from whatever he was before. He was who he was because of an iconic reputation as a rogue type, not as a hero thrust into an adversarial situation.

    Ideally, a trilogy should encompass a new take Escape from New York, whatever happened in Cleveland that we’ve hear so much about in LA… but a new entry can be used in lieu of a rehash of LA; it was pretty much a self parody of NY anyway.

  15. I think that disguised sequels are always better – I mean linking to what we’ve already got. Evil Dead “remake” did this in a way.

    So they could have that Snake Plissken is an established, shadowy legend (who could even reappear) then just have a new anti-hero that is quite similar. Or someone who has adopted his persona (people would say to him “I thought you were older” blah blah). My ramblings, but I just don’t like the idea of complete remakes. “Reboots” taking things in another direction, but set within the same movie universe, I’m all for.

  16. what really would be an insult to legacy of snake , if channing tatum played the role lmao

    • Oh dear god, don’t even joke about that. lol

      We have enough bad casting in movies!

  17. This is and has been one of if not my favorite movie of all time-I have a suggestion for who should play Snake-Norman Reedus think about it man if he grew his hair a little throw on the eye patch-he’s got the whole anti hero thing down pat as Daryl Dixon I think that would translate perfectly-any thoughts?