John Carpenter’s The Thing is probably one of the most beloved science fiction/horror films of all time. Even though it was a box office failure when it was released in 1982, the film has garnered cult status and a large following. When news began circulating about a remake, there was a larger uproar – ultimately subsiding when it was revealed the new film would be a prequel showing the events that preceded Carpenter’s original film.

The Thing news has been quite scarce lately but today we’ve got official images from the film – ahead of the first footage being shown at New York City Comic Con. So does it look like the new film matches up to Carpenter’s classic?

The Thing‘s marketing campaign is kicking-in, leading up the film’s April 29th release – UGO has released details of their set visit to The Thing and Hit Fix scored some new images from the film.

The 21st Century version of The Thing appears to share a lot with its 1980s counterpart. Star Joel Edgerton appears to be channeling original headliner Kurt Russell (although his beard is hardly a match for Russell’s facial fuzz) and the use of flamethrowers indicates that director Matthijis van Heijningen is keeping a lot of the iconic elements from Carpenter’s film.

What does seem to have changed, this time around, is the casting of a leading lady. The Thing 1.0 (technically 2.0 – since Carpenter’s film was a remake of a 1951 film) featured an all male cast, this time around Mary Elizabeth Winstead brings a touch of femininity to the proceedings.

It remains to be seen if her role is just added to give hero Edgerton a love interest – or if her casting has an integral role to play in the plot.

One thing that is being kept under wraps is the look of “The Thing.” Rob Bottin’s makeup effects in Carpenter’s film still hold up in today’s digital age – so Special Effects Creators, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, will have to step up and deliver something that pleases fans of Carpenter’s film as well as modern audiences.

Gillis is confident their work will match The Thing‘s legacy:

“Like the Carpenter movie, we’re not showing The Thing in its pure form. This is an alien that is a host to whatever The Thing is doing to it. But what’s cool about this for us as creature effects designers is that we get to work within the language that was established by Carpenter and Rob Bottin in 1982, but we also get to add some of our own stuff in terms of original creature design, with creatures like this one, and then there’s another creature. There’s another creature at the end of the film, there’s another alien life form that The Thing mimics.”

In recent years, remakes of John Carpenter films have failed to match up to the originals – with The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13, and Halloween, failing to improve upon their “original” big brothers. Director Van Heijningen will have to work hard to ensure that his film works within the context of the original film – while offering modern audiences a film experience to get excited about.

Details are still pretty sparse – with more images and footage en route as we get closer to the film’s release. In the meantime, it looks like the “new” Thing might just be a good companion piece to the “old” Thing.

The Thing opens on April 29th 2011.

Sources: Hit Fix & UGO