Guardians of the Galaxy may have inadvertently put Matthew Vaughn's Flash Gordon remake on hold. The Flash Gordon comic strip, created by famed cartoonist Alex Raymond in 1934, is one of the oldest and most influential space opera comics in history, which is why it has been adapted in numerous media forms over the years. Most recently, 20th Century Fox has been attempting to reboot the property on the big screen, with the Kingsman and X-Men: First Class director at the helm - but things haven't progressed as well as either party had hoped.
James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy took the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a new direction, and its sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, set the stage for future MCU sequels beyond its current Phase 3. Both movies have found outstanding success both critically and commercially, something that most other space adventure films - such as Ender's Game, based on Orson Scott Card's novel of the same name, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, based on the French sci-fi comics of the same name - haven't been able to do, aside from Star Wars. It turns out, in addition to influencing new sci-fi adventure films, Guardians' success also put other movies on hold.
Vaughn has been busy promoting the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle - and in an interview with Collider, he briefly discussed the status of his Flash Gordon remake, a project which he reportedly boarded in 2015:
“Yeah, we’ve been working on it. For me, the only problem with Flash Gordon is Guardians [of the Galaxy] kind of stole what I would have liked to have done with it. You’ve got Star Wars, you’ve got Guardians, so you’ve got to have your own space opera, but you have to find something that can survive among these two very, very great franchises.”
Sci-fi movies are quite common throughout the filmmaking industry, but decent space operas, a subdivision of the science fiction genre, are rare to find and even more laborious to make. Although countless franchises have borrowed from Star Wars over the years, casual moviegoers may assume that any new sci-fi adventure/space opera film even remotely similar to Guardians will accuse the filmmakers and studios of copying the MCU movie. It's one of the unfortunate consequences of following successful blockbuster movies. What many modern moviegoers may not understand, however, is that Flash Gordon has been around longer than superheroes have, and its influence on the sci-fi genre extends beyond traditional sci-fi films.
At the moment, Vaughn plans on making Kingsman 3 after The Golden Circle finishes its theatrical run, but hopefully, he fits time to work his Flash Gordon reboot into his schedule, while also finding ways to make the remake different from Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.