With the adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One already proving to be a success for Warner Bros., Universal Pictures is moving forward with an adaptation of the author’s 2015 novel Armada. The studio has brought aboard writer Dan Mazeau (Wrath of the Titans) to write the screenplay. Universal doesn’t have a director attached at this time, but the attachment of a new writer signals that the studio is ready to move forward after several years in development.
While the Ernest Cline novel was published in 2015, the author struck a deal with Universal for the movie rights way back in 2012, just days after he signed a seven-figure deal with Crown Publishing for the book rights. No screenwriter was set at that time, but our 2012 report reveals that Bluegrass Pictures’ Scott Stuber and Farrah Films’ Dan Farrah were set to produce, although now Dylan Clark is set to produce for Bluegrass alongside Farrah, who has long been Cline’s manager.
Much like Ready Player One, the Armada story also centers around the video game world, but in a much different way. The story follows a teenage video game champion named Zach Lightman, who has placed in the top 10 out of millions of players in an air combat flight simulator game entitled Armada. Shortly after seeing a UFO that looks strangely similar to the ships in Armada, he learns that the Earth Defense Alliance (EDA) from the game is actually real, and the game was created to recruit pilots who would fly drone ships to protect Earth from these aliens known as Europans.
The book debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestsellers list in 2015, and it remained on the list for five straight weeks. As he did with the book release of Ready Player One, Ernest Cline held a special video game competition for the release of Armada in 2015, with fans invited to play a web-based version of the game Phaeton, the fake retro shooter game that is featured in Armada, with the player who achieved the top score taking home an Oculus Rift headset. Cline also co-wrote the screenplay adaptation for Ready Player One with Zak Penn, along with writing the screenplay for Fanboys, but there is no word on if Ernest Cline will take a crack at the Armada script as well.
Dan Mazeu wrote the script for Wrath of the Titans, the 2012 sequel to Clash of the Titans, and he has also worked on Warner Bros. Flashpoint DCEU movie, along with a movie adaptation of Johnny Quest. He also worked on Section 6, which was originally written by Aaron Berg and topped The Black List in 2013, which has been in development at Universal for the past five years. He is also attached to write Van Helsing and Luna Park, although there is no indication when those projects may move forward. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on Armada moving forward with new writer Dan Mazeau.