The Greatest American Hero was a television series that ran for two seasons in the early ‘80s; it followed a teacher, Ralph Hinkley (William Katt), who is given a suit that grants him superhuman abilities. Ralph, with help from FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) and lawyer Pam Davidson (Connie Sellecca), is tasked with saving the world from its own destruction. Greatest American Hero was created by Stephen J. Cannell, who also developed other popular television series in the ‘80s and ‘90s such as The A-Team and 21 Jump Street, which have been rebooted in recent years.
Now, Greatest American Hero will join The A-Team and 21 Jump Street in receiving the reboot treatment. However, this particular Cannell property will be returning to television rather than making the jump to the big screen.
Deadline reported Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie) -- who directed 21 Jump Street as well as the sequel, 22 Jump Street -- will executive produce the reboot of Greatest American Hero for Fox. Rodney Rothman, who worked with Lord and Miller on 22 Jump Street, wrote the pilot for Greatest American Hero and will executive produce the series. Cannell’s daughter, Tawnia McKiernan (Warehouse 13), also joins the series as an executive producer.
The reboot of Greatest American Hero will follow much of the same plot as the original: Isaac, an inner-city teacher discovers a superhero suit and must learn how to use its powers by trial and error (since he misplaced the instructions). Isaac, however, hates wearing the suit and needs to deal with a government handler who has certain objectives for him that may not fall in line with what he feels he should do with his newfound abilities.
The premise for Greatest American Hero loosely resembles that of many other superhero origin stories, which have flooded movie theaters and television screens consistently in the more than 20 years since Cannell’s series ended. However, as our own Chris Agar discussed recently, audiences and production studios don't look to be getting tired of superheros anytime soon.
But, the superhero aspect isn’t all Greatest American Hero has going for it. The team of Lord and Miller have made a name for themselves in Hollywood with their distinct brand of humor -- as well as with their success in taking Cannell’s 21 Jump Street and updating it in a way that added new life to the property.
Additionally, Lord and Miller are experienced with television. The team executive produced most of the first season of How I Met Your Mother, the pilot of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and their newest project, The Last Man on Earth, which will premiere this fall.
It’s possible a reboot of The Greatest American Hero could be lost among the litany of other superhero television series -- Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Constantine, as well as any upcoming shows. But, with Lord and Miller on board, Greatest American Hero may instead turn out to be a hit.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on The Greatest American Hero as they become available.