Dreamworks Developing MMORPG Movie ‘The Defenders’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 22nd, 2013 at 5:21 pm,

It has been revealed that Heroes star Masi Oka (the time-traveling Hiro) has come up with an idea for a movie called The Defenders, an idea which has been picked up by Dreamworks for development. The wheels of production for the movie have already started turning, with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci on-board to produce, Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) on-board to write the script, and D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) in talks to direct.

In the vein of the upcoming Gerard Butler film Gamer, The Defenders is taking the world of online multiplayer video games and making it into a big-screen adventure. From The Hollywood Reporter comes the following synopsis:

“The story centers on a group of mostly teenagers from around the world who are involved in a multiplayer video game, each unaware of who they really are behind the cover of their consoles and avatars. They are forced to come together for a real adventure, becoming inadvertent heroes in the process.”

Apparently, Oka came up with the idea for The Defenders whilst playing MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), sparking an interesting question in his mind – “You can be whoever you want to be… The question came to me: What if you had to live up to the person you created in the virtual world?”

Once Oka learned that Kurtzman and Orci were looking for movies that, “combined an innocence with [the] adventure,” he pitched The Defenders idea to the pair. The duo went for it, and whilst honing the idea a bit more, Oka has been collaborating with the duo on it at the same time the Kurtzman and Orci have been working on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Orci commented on the fact that online gaming is like an obsession for some people, and how Oka and screenwriter, Whitta, have implemented that idea. This may shed some light on why he and Kurtzman were so keen on idea for The Defenders:

“People are expecting you to be there and to contribute; it’s a team, sort of, even though it’s virtual… Masi [Oka] and Gary [Whitta] have put in countless hours in this world and have found a way to make it work for those that don’t play the game, but also for the millions that do.”

I’m so glad that Kurtzman mentioned that Oka and Whitta are making The Defenders appealing to those who may not indulge in the world of online gaming. Although that will undoubtedly be a prime audience for the movie, it still needs to appeal to non-gamers for it to have any chance of success in today’s movie market.

It may just be my love for the character of Hiro that Oka plays on Heroes that’s affecting my judgement, but the idea for The Defenders sounds like quite a lot fun to me.  I just hope the most is made of the idea’s potential.

Do you like the sound of Masi Oka’s The Defenders? Do you like the producing, directing and writing team that’s being assembled?

The Defenders is currently in development and does not yet have a release date.

Source: THR

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  1. Oh man, it sounds like it could be neat, I really would like to hear the details of how it’s going to be done. This doesn’t give us very much “Online gamers will meet in real life and have an adventure” leaves A LOT to imagination. Hope more details will be avaialable!

  2. Masi is actually a really friggen smart dude. If I remember correctly he is not only an actor, but a computer programmer and really talented with graphics and CGI things like that. He’s very different from most actors which I think is cool. I like him, but I’ve liked the guy since I first saw him on scrubs as Franklin.

  3. Sounds interesting. However, Marvel has a superhero team called “The Defenders.” I wonder if they’re not going to take notice. :P

  4. I’m an avid comic reader and I’ve never seen this Defenders thing in Marvel. Maybe I’m just being desne though Marvel has such a huge universe. Do they have their own comic or are they a part of someone elses ?

  5. Well you do have Defenders Of The Earth – the phantom, flash gordon and Mandrake + company. but thats not marvel…

  6. The Defenders of Marvel were comprised of Dr. Strange, Namor, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Valkyrie, Nighthawk and Hellcat. I don’t see any legal problems here, unless the name DEFENDERS has been copywritten by Marvel.

  7. The Marvel comic “The Defenders”‘ original team line-up from what I remember is the Hulk, Sub-Mariner and Doctor Strange. I have the Number#1 copy :)

  8. I like MMOs, it would be cooler is it was like the old D& D cartoon like there are people playing an MMO and they get sucked into the world of it and have to be their characters, it would be much more kid oriented but sounds funner that way, to me.

  9. Yeah, it would’ve been a real original idea, ten years ago — you know, when it was the premise behind “Otherland” — a best-selling series of sci-fi novels written by Tad Williams!

    I hope he sues.

  10. The Marvel Defenders movie already in development. Bring out the lawyers Disney. With the Hobbit movies somewhat on hold, Marvel is gunning for Guillermo del Toro to direct and Neil Gaiman to write Dr. Strange [link removed]

    Can a Doctor Strange-centric “Defenders” movie that fits into what Marvel is now calling the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” finally be in the works?…

    SHIELD pulls together a paranormal special ops team after the Military/SHIELD/NASA made contact with a “Beyonder” (or Celestial, some sort of “magical” trans-dimensional entity, perhaps an Asgardian?) SHIELD realizes it doesn’t have the capabilities to ascertain if this “thing” is a threat or not. Thus sets the premise for the Defenders movie, where the use of occult, fringe science, brains, and brawn are employed to defeat a multi-dimensional and or “secret invasion” cosmic threat to save the day in such a way that Avengers cannot.

    The team that SHIELD assembles to defend us from such an invader will be a group of eccentric scientist/academia types culled to form the “Defenders”, the oddball counterpoint to the distinguished Avengers team. Project “Defenders” will be the “Twilight Zone” of the new Marvel movie franchises; they want it to be less of an action movie and have more of a creepy thriller type of vibe to it. The Defender operatives will consist of group leader – the brilliant Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange former renowned neurosurgeon turned occultist scholar and “metaphysicist” (character to be loosely based around Aleister Crowley/Terence McKenna eccentric by way of Robert Langdon), Namor McKenzie (Sub-Mariner, the superhuman Jacques-Yves Cousteau by way of Rudolf Steiner, believes he’s the literal Prince of Atlantis) , Dr. Robert Bruce Banner (Hulk, brilliant “omnidisciplinary” scientist, the world’s greatest expert on gamma radiation… need we say more?), Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym (Ant-Man, MIT professor renowned quantum physicist), and his partner Janet Van Dyne(Wasp, one-time student to Pym now associate, extremely bright but introverted Lady Gaga “individualist” type). Themes incorporated into Defenders movie include motifs from the bestselling magical/occult/secret society Dan Brown books, along with themes from the more recent Marvel series involving Secret [link removed] storylines (specifically the newer S.H.I.E.L.D. 2010 comic series). They’ll be looking for lean lesser-known actors to play non-super hero type characters, and there are ruminations that Strange may be pushed forward to play a crucial role as catalyst to merge the magical other-dimensional realms like Asgard into the more “realistic” Iron Man universe.

    Questions remain about the timeline and release of the Doctor Strange character into the big screen. Will we see Doctor Strange in a smallish part for the upcoming Avengers movie helping to usher in the “magical” component onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Or will Strange remain left out of the Avengers universe altogether for now, and another plot device or character be used to infuse the “magical elements” instead of him?… They are determined to bring on Dr. Strange movie post Ant-Man, the question remains will Strange remain side-lined for now? Some at Marvel are extremely hush-hush as plot points, characters as well as want-lists that are still being hashed-out for upcoming films, others think it’s good to gauge public opinion about what properties the public truly cares for and how they can be incorporated to the larger Marvel Movie-verse whilst staying true to the premise of the characters. Some of us like me see the potential and are really pushing for a Doctor Strange-centric Defenders movie but more importantly having Strange play a pivotal if not smallish role in the upcoming Avengers movie.