While Sony's The Mask of Zorro was a huge success back in 1998 - and is largely considered to be a great action movie to this day - its 2005 followup, The Legend of Zorro, made significantly less money and was pretty much universally panned (perhaps it's no coincidence that the first film was wall-to-wall stunt-work and the second film depended more heavily on CGI).In the time since, Zorro's modern-day counterpart, Batman, has enjoyed incredible cinematic success - box office, reviews, you name it - at the hands of Christopher Nolan, and is set to make a return to the big screen with Batman vs. Superman in 2016. Sony executives, no doubt yearning for a piece of that box office pie, have hired a someone to write a gritty Zorro reboot in the style of The Dark Knight.
According to Deadline, Sony has hired playwright Chris Boal to pen the reboot. He has yet to be attached to a completed film, though apparently he's already written three scripts for films in development: Old Man's War, Vanguard, and Caesar.
In the words of Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr., the Zorro reboot will be:
"[L]ess traditional swashbuckler, and more of a 'Dark Knight'-style unveiling of the character with a new backstory, gritty realism and emotional core. There will be swordplay, combined with the martial arts that came from Europe and created a deadly combination of action and lethal fighting systems that combined swords, daggers, grappling and bare knuckles."
It should be pointed out that the last good iteration of Zorro - as in, The Mask of - also had an emotional core. (16-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT.) Anthony Hopkins, the original Zorro, watched as his wife was killed and his baby daughter was taken from him, and he was subsequently thrown in prison for two decades a la The Count of Monte Cristo. Likewise, his successor, Antonio Banderas, was on a mission of revenge to find the man who murdered his brother. Which is all to say, it was not a completely fluffy affair.
As to the connection to The Dark Knight - Batman fans are probably well aware that the character was heavily inspired by Zorro. In fact, depending on the continuity, Bruce Wayne himself was inspired in the Batman comics by the classic 1940 film The Mark of Zorro, which he and his parents saw a screening of the night Bruce became an orphan. So it's not exactly a surprise that a Zorro reboot would be reminiscent of the The Dark Knight franchise.
Of course, the last time we heard about a Zorro reboot, a modern-day Zorro TV series was said to be heading to the USA Network. And before that, Warner Bros. was developing Zorro Reborn, which would've been set in the post-apocalypse for some reason. We haven't heard anything about either project for a while, so it's anyone's guess if they're still in the works (though Zorro Reborn seems particularly unlikely at this point).
Seeing as Zorro reboots don't have a very good track record for getting out of development hell, you probably shouldn't get your hopes up for a gritty Dark Knight-esque reboot anytime soon (at least until there's some real movement on it). That said, we can probably expect one at some point down the line - it's just too valuable a brand for studios to let it slip into the ether forever.
What say you, Screen Ranters? What do you think about the possibility of a Zorro reboot in the vein of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy? Drop us a line in the comments.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more Zorro reboot news as it becomes available.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
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