Director Doug Liman has opened up about why he thinks Jumper didn’t work and how he wants pseudo-sequel TV series Impulse to make up for that. The Jumper film, based on Steven Gould’s teleportation-focused novel, was a moderate box office success when it released in 2008 but was savaged by critics, leading to a rather ignominious legacy; it’s perhaps now best remembered as Hayden Christensen’s fumbled attempt to move past Anakin Skywalker.
The concept is strong, however, and director Liman is returning to Gould’s work with Impulse, a TV series loosely based on the third book in the series. Set in a North Canadian town, it takes a much more personal-focused approach, framing the superpower in a coming-of-age tale. The series is set to premiere on YouTube Red this summer, and is being poised as one of the streaming service’s headline offerings.
Screen Rant recently chatted with Liman about Impulse as part of its TCA 2018 presence, where we discussed how the show evolved out of the decade-old movie. During our interview, the director explained why he never felt happy with Jumper, and how he hoped Impulse would allow him to “get it right“:
“I always felt like with Jumper I had a contrarian idea that I started exploring but I just didn’t get it right, and unlike my other films where I maybe don’t get something right but I go back and reshoot and so I get it right, that film just got released. And so I’ve always had to gnawing at me that I want to do a superhero story and I want to get it right. When I had the option to tackle the Jumper sequel, Impulse, I started looking and I said this is my chance to get it right.”
A big theme of our chat with Liman was his “contrarian approach“, looking at movies from an unconventional angle and breaking down tropes to provide audiences with a unique experience. He highlighted how The Bourne Identity avoids the damsel in distress cliche plot turn, and further said that had been his goal with Justice League Dark, a project he left last year (but told us he would be open to returning to). This approach, of course, requires time, something that wasn’t available with the Fox production.
Impulse is more than just a Jumper show, though, with plans to expand it into a full TV epic. A wider world is teased from its very opening scene (complete with surprise cameo), something that Liman plans to explore in later seasons, although not before fully mining the core characters and location:
“We do have a gameplan. […] [It] may not be quite the idea we tried or thought about when we were writing it, but this is the one that suddenly was going to spawn – you could see where you were going to get more and more story out of it. In the same way, the fact that initially all she can do is teleport home – so that the power’s more of a curse – not more, it is a curse: the one place she doesn’t want to be is the only [place] her superpower can bring her to […] We can have a lot of fun and get a lot of great story out of that before we even start sending her outward.”
Evidently, Impulse has deviated substantially not only from the source but also the original idea, only further exemplifying how Liman thrives off constantly going back and refining his ideas.
Impulse premieres this summer on YouTube Red.
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