Travis Knight has found his Bumblebee followup project, and will now direct Warner Bros.' The Six Billion Dollar Man movie. He only made his directorial debut in 2016 with the stop-motion animated feature Kubo and the Two Strings, but recently found great success with Bumblebee in helping Paramount reboot the Transformers franchise. His new project, meanwhile, hasn't had an easy time getting off the ground.
Six Billion Dollar Man has been gestating in development for several years with Mark Wahlberg - who also recently had a stint in the Transformers universe. The film previously received a November 2017 release date, but Wahlberg's busy schedule and the need to further improve the project resulted in Six Billion Dollar Man not meeting this date. Instead, the film has seen several possible start up points, with release dates set for 2019 and then 2020, the latter coming after director Damián Szifrón left the project. After almost a year, his replacement has now been found.
Variety reports that Bumblebee's Knight has signed on to take over directing duties on Six Billion Dollar Man. Wahlberg is still attached to star in the film, which is a new adaptation of the 1970s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, and will play a new version of Colonel Steve Austin - a former astronaut who becomes a secret agent and receives bionic implants that give him superhuman strength. Knight reportedly chose Six Billion Dollar Man over a variety of other potential projects from different studios.
The addition of Knight on Six Billion Dollar Man should guarantee that the movie finally begins moving through pre-production and towards filming actually beginning in the near future. That said, there's currently no word on what the actual vision for the movie is going to be. Previously recruited directors (like Peter Berg) pointed to this potentially being a more mature sci-fi action film. Knight's previous credits do not hint at such a style, as Kubo and the Two Strings and Bumblebee both are centered around great characters and relationships, so he may have been recruited to give Six Billion Dollar Man a more traditional blockbuster tone.
Even though Knight's addition comes after WB had several issues getting the movie going, he now boards Six Billion Dollar Man with a mostly clean slate. The previous script written by Szifrón has been scrapped and Bill DuBuque (The Accountant, Ozark) is taking over writing duties. He will likely be working closely with Knight to craft their version of the film. One of the best things for Knight and DuBuque right now though is that WB previously removed the project from their slate, meaning there's no predetermined release date they need to rush to hit. With the new pieces in place and Knight's supervision, hopefully this will be the time that The Six Billion Dollar Man makes substantial progress.