The realm of big-budget science-fiction movie properties seem to be a genre relatively unaffected by the current shared universe craze spreading throughout Hollywood – even if some of the more intriguing releases yet to come are sequels (Prometheus 2, Blade Runner 2, and Chappie director Neill Blomkamp’s Alien 5).
When it comes to original sci-fi films, Blomkamp’s name leapt to the forefront of the genre after the director left the long-stalled Halo movie to helm his celebrated debut feature District 9. His follow-up films – the Matt Damon-starring Elysium and this year’s Chappie – proved divisive (to say the least), but news that Blomkamp has climbed aboard viral sci-fi sensation The Leviathan reignited the excitement of the genre’s fans.
Director Ruairi Robinson (The Last Days on Mars) and screenwriter Jim Uhls (Fight Club) released their proof of concept “teaser” video for The Leviathan, which has racked up over 1.4 million Vimeo views. This led to involvement of Blomkamp as executive producer and X-Men: Days of Future Past writer Simon Kinberg, who will produce the feature.
Now, Variety reports that hot on the heels of Blomkamp and Kinberg becoming involved, 20th Century Fox has picked up the film. Given Kinberg’s first look deal with the studio and Blomkamp developing Alien 5, this comes as no real surprise. In fact, given the impressive visuals and hints of an expansive universe in Robinson’s short film (see below), a feature version of The Leviathan was practically a given.
The short teaser focuses on The Leviathan‘s visual approach and (wisely) avoids introducing any potential protagonists. As it were, the basic narrative (introduced during the video’s opening seconds) alone is enough of a hook to make a feature version of the concept potentially worth a watch. That premise? In the 22nd century, humanity forces slave labor to harvest “exotic material” from the eggs of an enormous alien species as a fuel for faster than light travel.
The premise offers some tried and true sci-fi tropes, as well as a fairly obvious homage to Frank Herbert’s classic novel Dune (which focuses on the extremely valuable “spice” originating from giant sandworms on a distant planet). The visual design of the nameless and faceless technicians seem to owe a debt to Halo, and the class struggle hinted at in the premise overview could prove an interesting background.
Can the talent behind The Leviathan spin an engrossing feature out of this concept? The teaser’s careful visuals underlined the story’s epic visuals and potential for gripping action sequences. That will always help to draw an audience, but Kinberg’s influence may prove crucial when it comes to the world-building necessary to make such an expansive sci-fi film work.
The Leviathan is in development. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for details as they emerge.