The sci-fi action movie Rogue Trooper now has a script, and is gradually moving forwards in production. The film, described as a blending of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Raid, is based on the military sci-fi comic strip of the same name, published since 1981 in serial form in long-running British anthology title 2000 AD.
Rogue Trooper takes place on Nu-Earth, where a perpetual war of attrition rages between the Norts (an analogue of First World War Germany) and Southers (the Allied Forces). Due to the use of numerous chemical and biological weapons, the planet’s atmosphere, air, plants and oceans are irrevocably poisoned, with the only surviving populace living inside domes. The Southers create a regiment of blue-skinned soldiers genetically engineered to withstand the toxic world without protection, but are almost entirely wiped out when what was supposed to be a surprise attack is met with an ambush due to a turncoat in the high command leaking mission details. The only survivor, Rogue, travels across the planet hunting the Traitor General and foiling numerous Nort schemes, accompanied by the sentient biochips of his dead comrades.
The news of the movie’s progression came from ScreenGeek, who interviewed 2000 AD PR director Mike Molcher at NYCC. The movie is being written and directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Warcraft), and Molchger stated that he believed the script is now at a point where Jones is satisfied with it, allowing some aspects of the production to begin moving into concept stage. He also stated that Rebellion, 2000 AD’s publisher, now operate their own studio in the UK, at which filming for the movie will take place.
The comic’s most well known creation is the infamous lawman Judge Dredd, but aside from the one fantastic and one utterly dire movie starring the character, several other movies have taken inspiration from the pages of 2000 AD. Robocop was originally designed as a spin on Judge Dredd before the concept was developed into the familiar cyborg of the movie, while the concept art of The Book of Eli took heavy inspiration from the irradiated wasteland of the Cursed Earth. The story of cult sci-fi movie Hardware was plagiarized from SHOK!, a seven page story published in the 1981 Judge Dredd Annual, resulting in a lawsuit and an addition to the film’s credits acknowledging the derivation. The eponymous heroine of great game turned abysmal movie BloodRayne has a noted similarity to Durham Red, a vampiric bounty hunter and supporting character in Strontium Dog.
Rogue Trooper itself has a similar precedent, in the shape of Paul W. S. Anderson’s infamous 1998 misfire Soldier. Many people noted similarities to the strip, which lead to speculation that it had begun life as an unofficial adaptation, and was even noted in 2000 AD documentary Future Shock. Soldier’s failure was due to it being so riddled with sci-fi clichés it had nothing to say, while the potential of Rogue Trooper is far greater due to its rich and varied setting, and central story that is at once highly personal for its protagonist while also wide in scope for future development should the movie be successful enough to spawn a series.