Filmmaker Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service – the director’s latest comic book adaptation – is a proper commercial success, having taken in $391 million worldwide (to date) on an $81 million budget. Vaughn has indicated in the past that he is game for a second Kingsman, but if you know the X-Men: First Class director then you know he’s yet to actually direct a sequel to one of his own films – having in the past left movies like Kick-Ass 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past in the hands of others, while he pursues other ventures.
Hence, it’s not altogether surprising that Vaughn’s attention isn’t on Kinsman 2, but another geek property right now – the Flash Gordon movie series reboot. Negations between 20th Century Fox and Vaughn are currently underway, marking the first real development on the project since Fox acquired the slow-to-develop reboot almost exactly a year ago.
THR is reporting that Vaughn is in talks to helm Flash Gordon, which currently has a script draft written by Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne – the duo whose Star Trek 3 screenplay was abandoned, once Roberto Orci left that project as director. Vaughn has co-written all but one of his directorial efforts to date, so odds are he (and possibly his writing partner Jane Goldman) would likewise end up revising the current Flash Gordon script anyway, assuming that Vaughn reaches a deal to direct.
Flash Gordon, for those unfamiliar, originated as a comic book player back in the early 1930s, before the character was adapted for radio, serialized films, live-action TV shows, and cartoon series over the decades that followed. The hero Flash – an Earth-based athlete turned space adventurer who battles enemies such as the alien Ming the Merciless – and his world was the main inspiration for George Lucas to create the Star Wars franchise – which is funny, since the famously campy 1980 Flash Gordon movie was an attempt to cash-in on the space adventure craze Lucas helped to kick off in the late 1970s. (How’s that for going full-circle?)
Vaughn’s directorial efforts are often more than a little cheeky, when it comes to their outlooks towards their respective genres – with X-Men: First Class coming the closest to being a straight-faced genre movie from Vaughn. Point being, it’s certainly possible a Vaughn-helmed Flash Gordon reboot would take a relatively serious approach to its mythos – not too serious, though, as Vaughn is an outspoken fan of escapism over grounded entertainment. However, a tongue in cheek take on Flash Gordon seems the more likely route for Vaughn to take.
The Mark Millar elements of Vaughn’s cinematic work tend to be controversial, but by and large he’s recognized as being quite the technically-proficient movie craftsman. That is to say, his involvement with Flash Gordon (regardless of the tone he goes for) will likely make the project sound far more appealing to a lot of people than it might’ve otherwise. Now it just remains to be seen if Vaughn does, in fact, close a deal for him to call the shots on Flash’s next space adventure.
In the meantime, Flash will be back on the big screen (in a manner of speaking) in a couple months, when Flash Gordon (1980) star Sam J. Jones reprises as… well, himself in the Seth MacFarlane comedy sequel, Ted 2.
We’ll bring you more information on the Flash Gordon reboot when we have it.