If this decade has told us anything, it’s that the science fiction genre is more popular than ever. With big-budget spectacles (Interstellar, The Martian, Blade Runner 2049) and smaller, more heady genre exercises (Ex Machina, Arrival, Annihilation), the sci-fi is going through somewhat of a golden period.
As such, it’s only fair that studios want to jump on the bandwagon. However, what to do if you can’t think of enough original ideas for your intended output? Well, remake other people’s ideas, of course.
With big names attached to some very enticing sci-fi projects (Guillermo Del Toro, Taika Waititi, Denis Villeneuve), the moviegoing market is soon to be saturated with remakes: and they all look promising.
From comedic re-imaginings and aims to improve ambitious failures, to straight imitations and inspired spin-offs, these remakes will be hoping to go the way of War for the Planet of the Apes, and not the way of TRON Legacy or Total Recall.
Because in a cutthroat film industry, one bad egg could spell disaster – not just for a potential franchise, but for the concept of remaking sci-fi classics in general.
Thankfully, these movies all have the potential to be superb– who knew there were so many sci-fi remakes on the way? You certainly didn’t. Until now.
Here are the 15 Sci-Fi Remakes You Had No Idea Were Coming.
15. The Predator
Let’s start with what is perhaps the most known movie on this list: the 1987 Arnie-led action flick is getting a remake in the form of The Predator. Said to explain away why the titular alien baddies came to Earth, Shane Black’s latest promises to be thrilling, terrifying, and… funny?
With Black helming the project, it certainly looks that way. He directed the funniest film in the Marvel franchise, Iron Man 3, and the criminally underrated crime comedy The Nice Guys, so a big-budget R-rated sci-fi horror like The Predator doesn’t scream ‘next career step’, but here we are.
Led by Logan’s Boyd Holbrook and featuring a diverse cast with the likes of Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay and Keegan-Michael Key, The Predator will arrive this year, on the 3rd August. Following the mixed reception of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, maybe this is the film to decide the Alien vs Predator debate.
Director Denis Villeneuve is quickly making a name for himself. Previously making gritty urban dramas/thrillers in the form of Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario, he found a new passion in 2016: you guessed it, sci-fi.
The release of the Oscar-nominated Arrival quickly established Villeneuve as one of the most popular working directors in Hollywood, and with last year’s Blade Runner 2049 under his belt, he’s become a household name.
Enter his next project, Dune, a sci-fi extravaganza that may be his most ambitious yet. The project didn’t go so well for David Lynch: his 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel is almost unanimously seen as the weakest in his filmography.
Villeneueve, however, has stated that he’s straying away from Lynch’s interpretation, and crafting a space opera of his own imagination. It’s exciting, daring stuff, with a huge potential to flop.
13. Inspector Gadget
Inspector Gadget was all the rage in the 1980s and ’90s. The Swiss Army Detective showed his mug in the much-beloved animation classics, and in the much-maligned 1999 feature film. With the sequel to that film being released direct-to-video, Disney seemed to give up on its gadget-equipped property.
Until 2015, that is, where it was announced that a new live action Inspector Gadget flick was in the works. The plans are to scrap Matthew Broderick’s iteration and forget that ever happened, while keeping the main story beats: that means Penny, Claw, the talking car and all.
Whether this is every going to happen remains to be seen: talks of its remake have died down since 2015, and the project is still in need of a director, actor, writer… you name it. But for now the Inspector Gadget remake remains a go (go gadget…).
12. Your Name
The year 2016’s anime body-swap romance, Your Name, was a surprise hit. Critics loved it, and so did its audience (it’s the fourth highest-grossing film of all time in Japan and the 5th highest-grossing non-English film worldwide).
If Toni Erdmann set a precedent, then Your Name seemed like the perfect follow-up choice for a foreign-film-to-Hollywood remake.
The anime follows a girl and a boy who magically swap bodies; after the obvious gags are taken care of, it morphs into something profound. Enter J.J. Abrams, who wants to trade the hand-crafted animation with live-action goodstuff.
His name attached both intrigues and concerns: opening up Your Name to a wider audience is admirable, but there’s the tricky topic of white-washing to navigate.
11. Fantastic Voyage
1963’s Fantastic Voyage has emerged as a cult classic. Taking the conceit of a submarine crew being shrunk down and injected into a dying scientist’s body in order to save him, it’s gone on to receive Academy Awards (Best Special Effects, Best Art Direction) and be endlessly parodied (Futurama, Rick and Morty).
Now, it’s time to be remade, and none other than Guillermo del Toro has stepped up to the challenge.
Well, sort of. After the announcement that the now-Oscar-nominated director would helm the remake late last year, it was revealed soon after that he was going to take a year-long hiatus.
As such, Fantastic Voyage has been postponed, and with the director’s track record, it may never see the light of day again (see Silent Hills, At the Mountains of Madness, etc). But if it does go ahead, then we may have a huge-concept small-scale treat on our hands.
10. Short Circuit
Ignore Mac and Me: the best movie to capitalise on the success of Spielberg’s E.T was Short Circuit, a sci-fi flick that swaps the interstellar for the robotic. It was a family-friendly romp, going about its heavy themes with healthy dollops of treacle.
The closest we’ve come so far to a remake is Chappie, which took the sentient robot premise and eschewed the PG of it all.
Well, closest we’ve come, until now. Director Tim Hill, who’s known for Spongebob Squarepants (yay) and Garfield 2 (nay!) is keen to remake the family sci-fi.
Only that it won’t really be for the family anymore– his idea is for a darker reimagining of the 1986 film, pivoting on themes of mortality. It’s heady stuff, if the production ever gets off the ground.
9. Star Blazers
The animated television series classic Star Blazers was an adaptation of cult anime series Space Battleship Yamato. Now, it’s getting a feature film remake in the form of a Skydance Productions live action sci-fi.
The Japanese got there first not once, but twice. Not only did they pioneer the anime series, but they then adapted it into a live action film in 2010.
This idea of a remake may feel like it’s come too late, but that’s only because it was suggested as far back as 2013, with MI5 director Christopher McQuarrie at the helm. Now, however…wait, McQuarrie’s still taking the project on? What’s taking so long?
Well, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, for one, though Star Blazers is being touted as his next project. Only time will tell if it was worth the wait.
8. The Six Billion Dollar Man
The Six Million Dollar Man was a 1970s series about a super-strength former astronaut employed as a secret agent by the US government. It was a commercial and critical success, and so naturally talks of a feature film adaptation ensued– and went on, and on, and… you get the idea.
Universal Pictures and Clerks director Kevin Smith wrote a screenplay for it in 1995, but met a dead-end. Then, in 2001, the idea of a franchise was raised, and inevitably, not returned to.
The brainstorming flurried through names, including the likes of Jim Carrey, but any chance of an actual materialised feature film died down in 2006.
Enter the unlikely hero Mark Wahlberg, who in 2014 announced that The Six Million Dollar Man would be adapted into film as The Six Billion Dollar Man (hey, always go bigger). A passion project of his, the film is set to start production this year.
The Robotech saga is one that many Americans will remember. Gracing our screens in the early 1980s, the animated TV series depicted mecha-robots in combat against extraterrestrial invasions. It spurred toy lines and, more tellingly, several botched attempts at returning to the show.
For example, there’s already been a Robotech movie. It’s just that it tested so poorly at screenings that it was pulled from theaters and sent straight to a limited home release. Similarly, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles did in fact have a (limited) theatrical run, but its reception was mixed to say the least.
Now, the Robotech franchise is receiving a spruced-up live action movie, with Sony and Furious 7 director James Wan leading the project. With his work on Aquaman all but finished, we can expect Wan to start on Robotech any time now – and if rumours are to be believed, Tobey Maguire may be joining him.
Joe Dante’s 1985 cult classic Explorers featured a fresh-faced Ethan Hawke, aliens, and an editing job that was infamously unfinished.
Even with Dante insisting that the theatrical cut wasn’t the one he wanted to make, and even with it flopping at the box office, this tale of three teenage boys building their own spaceship has quietly risen from forgotten to beloved.
It makes sense, then, that people would be clamouring for a remake. And so in 2014, a remake was announced. To be produced by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, we know very little about what this new iteration of Explorers will concern – but the prospect of the film returning to our screens is an enticing one.
One of the most famous sci-fi flicks to come out of the ’90s (and one of critic Roger Ebert’s least liked films), Stargate centers on its titular device: a wormhole that allows travel through the universe.
Initially intended by writer-director Roland Emmerich and writer Dean Devlin as a trilogy of sorts, the latter two films never came to fruition. Perhaps a reboot is the next best thing?
Well, that’s exactly what Emmerich is intending to do: in 2013, he announced that he would be collaborating with MGM to create a new Stargate movie.
Then, in 2014, Warner Bros. joined the fray. Unfortunately, plans have since stalled – but the gate certainly isn’t closed on this one just yet.
All we know is that the postponing may have had something to do with the critical and commercial failure of Independence Day: Resurgence.
4. Weird Science
John Hughes 1985 classic, Weird Science, is as Hughes-ian as sci-fi can get. Turning a Black Mirror-esque thought experiment into a teen comedy was always going to be his approach – and thankfully, it paid off. The film follows two outcasts who ‘create’ a woman for themselves using their computer.
In 2013, Universal Studios announced plans for a Weird Science remake. Oddly enough, the inspiration was 21 Jump Street – taking a beloved nostalgic staple and reformatting it into a raunchy comedy. Weird Science certainly fits the bill – there’s so much untapped potential to root out of it, especially if it does go down the 21 Jump Street edgy humor path. There hasn’t been any news on it since, however, so the science may be even too weird for Universal Studios.
3. Green Lantern Corps
The remake on this list with the biggest budget goes to Green Lantern Corps, a potentially ill-conceived rebooting of the titular superhero, Green Lantern.
Martin Campbell’s 2011 Green Lantern was a failure of gargantuan proportions (thank God Ryan Reynolds went on to star in a decent superhero movie), what with the box office flopping, the weird green CGI suit, and the laughable writing. Ideas of a franchise fell through, and Green Lantern came and went, forgotten.
However, now there’s a DCEU up and running, it makes sense to bring back what is an unquestionably intriguing character, with a unique superpower. Green Lantern Corps, which is scheduled for a July 2020 release, will do one better: it will feature several Green Lanterns, including Hal Jordan.
2. Men In Black
You’ve probably heard by now of the 21 Jump Street/Men in Black crossover that has fans salivating, perplexed, or downright horrified (depending on how easily you can suspend belief). What you may not have heard is that there are plans for an entirely separate Men in Black spin-off, with production already underway.
The sci-fi action trilogy is one of the genre’s most iconic films, thanks in no small part due to Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as its agents. However, this spin-off won’t feature them at all (okay, maybe a secret cameo), and will instead focus on a completely new crop of agents.
Penned by Iron Man writers Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, the film is being fast-tracked for a May 2019 release. Exciting stuff, but fans will have to wait longer to see that much-hyped 21 Jump Street collab.
Otomo’s 1988 sci-fi anime classic is bold, beautiful, and touted as one of the inspirations for Nolan’s Inception (who, not-so-coincidentally, was in the lineup of directors originally considered for Akira’s remake).
As a beloved movie, with a massive cult following, it’s easy to see why talks of a live-action Hollywood remake have its fans on edge. And with the critical and commercial reception of Ghost in the Shell and Death Note, perhaps they have reason to be nervous.
With fears of whitewashing, and exactly how to go about the project in the first place, talks of a remake have stalled time and time again. As far back as 2002, in fact. Along with Nolan, George Miller, Justin Lin and Jordan Peele were considered.
It all looked doom and gloom. Then came Taika Waititi, director of Thor: Ragnarok, whose name attached to the project surely looks promising. And if that doesn’t entice you enough, maybe his intent to keep the ethnicity of Akira’s characters intact will.
Can you think of any other sci-fi remakes that are coming soon? Let us know in the comments!
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