The late ’90s was an interesting and impactful period for sci-fi cinema, especially 1999, which saw the return of the Star Wars saga and the game-changing launch of The Matrix franchise. But two years before those heavy hitters landed, director Paul Verhoven tried to make a splash in the genre with a hyper-violent, ultra-satirical adaptation of Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein’s 1959 novel about humanity’s struggle with a horrible race of alien insects. Though armed with a state-of-the-art army of CGI arachnids and a fresh-faced cast including Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, and Neil Patrick Harris, the movie fell short of box office expectations.
Still, despite the disappointing returns, Starship Troopers has become a cult classic thanks to its gory action scenes, impressive creature effects (which still hold up today), and razor-sharp satire, which touched upon fascism, military life, war propaganda, and media manipulation. It was also successful enough to spawn three direct-to-video sequels, and now it appears as if Starship Troopers is being primed for a shiny new reboot alongside other ’90s properties like Stargate and The Crow.
“We’re developing it. We’ve actually been talking about either doing it as a feature or doing it as a television show.”
With its ongoing WWII-esque conflict between humans like “Rico’s Roughnecks” and “the bugs” of Klendathu, Starship Troopers‘ premise is one that could easily lend itself to long-form, serialized television storytelling. (Think Band of Brothers in space.)
However, if that’s the route Moritz and company pursue, fans of the original novel hoping for regular appearances of the power armor suits the soldiers of the Terran Federation used to combat the insect hordes will probably be disappointed, as a weekly television budget wouldn’t allow for the extensive CGI that would require.
In 1997, budgetary concerns and limited technology likely prevented Verhoven and crew from even considering utilizing the power suits in the movie (they did make a brief appearance in the straight to DVD Starship Troopers 3: Marauder), but these days, the power suits could easily be realized for a big-budget Hollywood tentpole film (see: Edge of Tomorrow).
Whatever form this Starship Troopers reboot ultimately takes, some critical decisions on the show or film’s tone will have to be made. Does it continue in Verhoven’s mold as a campy, bloody parody of uber-patriotism and military propaganda, or does it go in a “gritty and grounded” direction like the modern Battlestar Galactica series, falling more in line with Heinlein’s original vision of honor through service and self-sacrifice for the greater good? We’ll have to wait and see what develops.
Stay tuned for more news on the Starship Troopers reboot.
Source: Hit Fix