We haven't seen a live-action version of Tarzan since Tarzan and the Lost City, a film that bombed at the box-office back in 1998. Disney released the animated Tarzan a year later (followed by a direct-to-DVD followup), but that was essentially the end of a franchise that had lasted for decades. More recently we've seen a 3D animated version of Tarzan, produced by German studio Constantin Film, that made use of motion-capture to tell their story.
However, a new live-action Tarzan film, titled The Legend of Tarzan, is coming in 2016, as helmed by David Yates (the last four Harry Potter movies), and starring Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) as the title character, with Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) costarring as Jane. We just received our first official poster and images for the film - and now Warner Brothers has also released the first teaser trailer for The Legend of Tarzan (which you can watch above).
Reports have suggested that Legend of Tarzan might be having some post-production issues, as Yates has been forced to divide his attention between this and his other upcoming WB film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. WB took a hit from the box-office blowout of Jupiter Ascending earlier this year, as well as the more recent failure with Pan (which may cost the studio up to $150 million in losses). And even with guaranteed successes like the upcoming DC Comics and Fantastic Beasts films, WB no doubt wants to make sure the $180 million Legend of Tarzan doesn't wind up being another Pan-sized flop.
Thankfully, WB releasing a teaser this far away from release at least shows some confidence in this film. The Legend of Tarzan trailer itself looks...pretty good actually. The aesthetic is quite beautiful, and the trailer keeps the perfect amount of mystery when it comes to the movie's plot. The only problem with this ambiguity is that some may not understand that Legend of Tarzan is not an origin story for its title character - something the trailer (arguably) doesn't make altogether clear.
The film's plot synopsis tells us that in the film, Tarzan has been gone from the jungle for some time, and has attempted to live a "normal" life with his wife Jane in England, only to be pulled into a deadly plot. Here's the full Legend of Tarzan synopsis:
It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.
A star-studded cast also bodes well for this film. In addition to Skarsgård and Robbie, Legend of Tarzan also includes Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) as the main antagonist, as well as John Hurt (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Samuel Jackson (Avengers: Age of Ultron). Jackson will play American Civil War veteran George Washington Williams (a real-life historical character), who will join Tarzan to fight against Captain Leon Rom (Waltz).
Time will tell if Legend of Tarzan breaks WB's trend of expensive failures at the box-office or not. This trailer at least promises an inspiring and visually beautiful take on the story, so there is hope for the future. Besides, movies with Apes have been doing rather well lately.
The Legend of Tarzan opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2016.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures