The reboot, while almost just as much a part of the history of cinema as Hollywood itself, is never free from scrutiny. It seems that each time a new title is to be given a resuscitation of sorts, cries of Hollywood’s lack of creativity and road to ruin are met with an almost equal amount of excitement and praise for putting a new slant on an outdated tale. Not every rebooted effort is a success story, but at the same turn, not every reboot is a gigantic disaster, either.
Some films are practically tailor-made for a reboot. This isn’t because they were poorly crafted the first time around, rather that their style is fun and action packed enough to merit a retelling for new audiences. Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 action/sci-fi adventure Starship Troopers falls into this category. Though not much of a box office success, the story of a dystopian future in which armed forces battle giant bugs for supremacy became a definite cult hit and talk of a reboot has been floating around for years.
Now that we know that a new Starship Troopers is definitely on its way - and not as a TV series as previously rumored – THR is reporting that the project has formally hired Baywatch movie writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon to take on the script. The film will not be a direct remake of Verhoeven’s original effort however; Columbia Pictures says that instead, they are going back to the film’s original source material – the 1959 novel by author Robert A. Heinlein – and that none of the 1997 film’s original personnel are involved.
As with most (if not all) reboots, the studio has its eye on a potential franchise here should this new effort prove to be a hit. The original Starship Troopers was also part of a franchise of sorts, but only via the direct-to-DVD market of the early 2000s, when three follow ups were produced. In addition to the Baywatch movie, writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon are responsible for some other big name franchise efforts with 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason as well as 2009’s Friday the 13th reboot. As of this writing, there isn’t any word on who could potentially be directing the new Starship Troopers.
A new Starship Troopers will make for three of Paul Verhoeven’s films that have been given the Hollywood reboot treatment. Neither 2012’s Total Recall nor 2014’s Robocop fared especially well and Verhoeven has previously spoken about the mistakes made in both productions, particularly in taking the material too seriously for its own good. A film like Starship Troopers certainly can’t be guilty of such an error if it hopes to succeed, so fans of the original film will likely be concerned about Columbia Pictures handling this with the sort of vision that it deserves.
Toby Jaffe, who produced the Total Recall reboot and is working on the new incarnation of Starship Troopers, stated as early on as 2012 that the film won’t be as violent as the original and will rely on more CGI. Whether this still remains the case now that the production has new screenwriters is impossible to say at this point. Hopefully though, Jaffe has learned from past Verhoeven reboots that success lies first and foremost in seeing the subject matter as "fun."
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