A live-action adaptation of Epic Games' Gears of War franchise may still be a long way off, but it's now resting in a new set of creative hands. A few months ago we reported that the rights to the Gears property were set to expire at New Line, and both Epic and screenwriter Stuart Beattie (Australia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) were shopping it around.
Now it looks like a deal has been made and the Locust might make a big screen appearance after all, as producer Scott Stuber has acquired the rights from numerous suitors and is moving forward with a script.
Variety has the details, claiming that Stuber closed the deal with his company Bluegrass Films on board to produce, and a first-look deal in place with Universal once the project is further along. No word yet on whether Beattie's script will be used, who will direct, or when development will begin, but early word is that Stuber will be working with Epic in developing a script - a notably different company, now that the series' creative director Cliff Bleszinski and studio mainstay Rod Fergusson have left.
The news comes years after word of a live-action feature film in the Gears of War universe first surfaced, with Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) attached to direct a script written by Chris Morgan (Wanted, Fast & Furious). Those names seem right at home in the 'video game adaptation' genre, but for anyone hoping to see one of the most influential game franchises in the past decade adapted with a bit more care, it wasn't exactly a dream come true.
Of course, that incarnation of the project was canceled years ago. And while many fans would likely scoff at the idea of any Gears of War movie managing to be a satisfying or well-crafted film - the game series itself embodies the sci-fi/dude-bro/space marine trope better than any other - we would warn that strong stories have cropped up in the franchise's extended universe, both inside the games and beyond them. The main writer deserving credit for that feat is author Karen Traviss, whose writing career reads like a geek's bookshelf.
As the mind behind the "Star Wars Republic Commando" novels and contributor to the "Legacy of the Force" series (both storylines we'd like to see adapted by Disney), Traviss made such an impact with her Gears of War prequel novels, Epic Games soon brought her on to write the final game in their trilogy. After that, it wasn't long before Halo came calling, signing Traviss to yet another novel deal.
Needless to say, while the idea of a Gears of War movie following a different story than the games may have turned us off years ago, we're not as inclined to write off the proposition anymore. Hopefully, Scott Stuber isn't either, even if the writer he'll be seeking out to work on a new script has yet to be revealed. He's worked with a few notable names in recent years, so that announcement could very well be the next sign of which direction the project is headed.
What do you think of this new development in the Gears of War movie story? Does it buoy your hopes for a worthwhile adaptation, or are you skeptical until given something more substantial? Sound off in the comments.
We'll keep you up to date on Gears of War news as it's available.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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