It’s been almost 20 years since the Universal Soldier. franchise began, with various installments filling up VHS and DVD bargain bins ever since. Fremantle Media hopes to reverse the soldier of little fortune, creating a new television series based on the reanimated fighter premise.
The project is being written by Damian Kindler, of Syfy’s Stargate: SG1 and Sanctuary series. Universal Soldier’s executive producers, Allen Shapiro and Craig Baumgarten, both worked on the original movie and its various sequels. No actors have been announced yet, but with the production company hoping for a 2012 debut, you can bet they’ll be coming soon.
Presumably the story will follow the original movie at least somewhat, wherein American soldiers who died during the Vietnam war were reanimated and augmented, turning them into biological fighting machines. An update to the Iraq or Afghanistan wars seems likely.
There’s currently no commitment from a network – Universal Soldier is in the earliest stages of production at Freemantle Media, whose resume includes mostly reality shows like The X Factor and American Idol. One wonders who could take the place of Jean-Claude Van Damme – say, Jason Momoa’s not doing anything after Conan the Barbarian bombed, is he?
The better question is: does anyone want more Universal Soldier? The original was a moderate hit at best (even with Van Damme’s star power) and latest sequel, Universal Soldier: Regeneration, did poorly despite surprisingly strong reviews. The straight-to-video chapters might not warrant a second look, even in today’s rehash-happy Hollywood environment.
But making such a move, and ultimately seeing positive results, isn’t unprecedented, either: Stargate wasn’t exactly a stellar movie, but on the basis of some solid writing (at least some of which was done by Kindler) and lot of work by Richard Dean Anderson, it became one of the biggest science fiction franchises on TV. And hey, if Teen Wolf can get a second season…
The production company also announced work on a new adventure series, Blood and Treasure. The story follows two brothers traveling the world and solving crimes while investigating history and archeology. Think National Tresure meets The Hardy Boys, because Freemantle certainly wants you to: they’ve hired Charles Segars, producer of both National Treasure movies, to create the new series.
Universal Soldier is in pre-production, with a hopeful 2012 premiere.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider
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