Last week, reports revealed that Kiefer Sutherland had agreed to return for Sony’s upcoming reboot of Flatliners, a star-studded 1990 sci-fi/horror film that featured him in a leading role. Directed by Joel Schumacher (Falling Down) the original Flatliners centered on a group of five young medical students (Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon) who became obsessed with finding out where one goes after death.
Determined to find answers, these doctors-in-the-making conducted clandestine experiments where one of them is rendered clinically dead for a matter of moments before being resuscitated, in the hopes that they’d return with tales of their time spent on the other side. Sutherland portrayed Nelson Wright, the driving force behind the experiments and the most dedicated to seeing them through no matter what the cost. With Sutherland now firmly on-board, Sony is wasting little time in pressing forward with Flatliners.
Variety is reporting Sony has assigned the film an August 18th, 2017 release date. So far, Flatliners is the only film to be set for release on that particular date, so it’s unclear what type of summer competition the reboot might face. The new core group of five medical students includes Ellen Page, Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), British actor James Norton, and Kiersey Clemons (Neighbors 2). Details on character specifics beyond that remain unclear.
Also still unclear is how Sutherland will figure into the plot of Flatliners 2017. The only info on his character so far is that he’s a “seasoned doctor.” With Sony still having yet to clarify whether the reboot is a complete continuity reset or simply a new story set in the same universe as the first film, some have already adopted the theory that Sutherland is actually reprising the role of Nelson. This is a fairly logical assumption to make, as Nelson survived the original, and presumably went on to finish medical school. Still, everything remains complete speculation until if and when an official plot synopsis is made available.
Bringing back Nelson would certainly be an interesting way to go, as he obviously knows first hand what this fresh set of Flatliners is in store for should they pursue the same type of experiments. Dramatically though, it would really make more sense for him to be against them doing what he did, rather than for it. After all, most of the things Nelson experienced while outside his body weren’t exactly pleasant, and almost put him in the grave for good. Of course, if the new group wants answers as bad as Nelson and friends did, they’re not going to let a little thing like possible permanent death deter them from their quest.
Flatliners crosses over to theaters on August 18th, 2017.