It's time to get ready for what actor/writer Glen Powell describes as being a "dark and irreverent" live-action Captain Planet movie. Powell and relative newcomer Jono Matt are currently writing the script for the film, which itself is a big screen adaptation of the environmentally conscious 1990s cartoon TV show Captain Planet and the Planeteers and its sequel series, The New Adventures of Captain Planet.
Created by Barbara Pyle and Ted Turner in the early '90s, the Captain Planet property follows the Planeteers - a group of five young people from around the world - as they set out to protect the earth from "eco-villains" with names like Looten Plunder, Dr. Blight and Duke Nukem (no, not that one). When all else fails, the Planeteers use the magical rings (each of which corresponds to one of the five elements) gifted to them by Gaia, spirit of the planet, and combine their powers to summon a superhero known as Captain Planet, in order to save the day.
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After several earlier iterations of the project failed to gain much traction, the Captain Planet live-action movie was picked up by Paramount and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions in 2016, with Powell and Matt attached to write the script. Powell has been making headlines of late thanks to his roles in Netflix's hit rom-com Set It Up and historical romance The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, as well as his casting in the upcoming Top Gun 2. In an interview with THR about his recent hot streak, Powell had the following to say about his Captain Planet screenplay:
“I mean they've tried to make it into a superhero movie before, but they kind of did like an earnest take and ours is way more subversive and fun and like dark and irreverent. Sometimes you have to think of these things logically. If you have a blue superhero with a green mullet, you can't do like an earnest take on that. You have to go at it from a fun [direction]."
Powell further indicated that the Captain Planet movie is finally starting to come together, adding that "we’re getting that up and going and we’re really stoked about it". The project has neither a director nor any cast members attached for the time being but, if Powell is to be believed, that may change sometime within the foreseeable future.
The actor/writer's description of his script as being "dark and irreverent" suggests it may approach the Captain Planet franchise in a way that brings to mind how last year's Power Rangers movie reboot went about updating its own '90s TV inspiration. The latter earned a lukewarm critical reception and box office take, yet also has a loyal fan following and is getting a followup from Hasbro (which acquired the Power Rangers IP earlier this year). It remains to be seen how Powell and his collaborators' attempt to reimagine the similarly campy Captain Planet fares by comparison, but this approach certainly sounds interesting (in ways good and bad).
We will bring you more details on the Captain Planet movie as they become available.