Back in the spring of 2015, 20th Century Fox moved forward with its long-awaited Flash Gordon remake, setting director Matthew Vaughn at the helm, but we haven’t heard anything about it since then. It turns out there’s a very good reason for that, with Matthew Vaughn revealing in a new interview that he’s still been working on it, but his original vision for the story was basically taken by Marvel’s 2014 blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy. Here’s what the director had to say below, when asked if he’s still working on a Flash Gordon movie.
“Yeah, we’ve been working on it. For me, the only problem with Flash Gordon is Guardians (of the Galaxy) kind of stole what I would have liked to have done with it. You’ve got Star Wars, you’ve got Guardians, so you’ve got to have your own space opera, but you have to find something that can survive among these two very, very great franchises.”
The director made these comments during an interview with Collider, while promoting this weekend’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle. This project has been in various stages of development at Sony for almost a decade, with our first report on this movie coming back in August 2008, when writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold) were brought aboard this Flash Gordon remake. Director Breck Eisner (The Last Witch Hunter) was brought aboard in 2010, although he ultimately backed away from the project.
Then in 2014, we reported that Star Trek Beyond writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay were brought aboard by producer Jon Davis. Before those writers came aboard, George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) had worked on the script, and was moving from a writer to producer on the project, but now it isn’t clear if he is still involved. Then in 2015, Matthew Vaughn became attached to the project, just a few months after his first Kingsman movie became a surprise hit at the box office. When asked if this movie adaptation will ever happen, the director revealed that there is only one way that he decides to move forward and actually make a movie.
“The way I choose films is when I know I have to make it. Simple as that. There will be a moment where I can’t think of anything else other than getting behind a camera and shooting a movie. It’s a very hard switch to click; once it’s on, nothing stops me.”
The director didn’t say one way or another if writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are still working on the script, or if there are already other writers on board. The Flash Gordon franchise is certainly steeped in history, going all the way back to the serial comic strips created by Alex Raymond in 1934, following the adventures of the title character, a Yale graduate and polo player who was kidnapped and taken to the planet Mongo, where he does battle with Ming the Merciless alongside friends Dale Arden and Hans Zarkov.
The comics spawned a number of movies including Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (1936), Flash Gordon‘s Trip to Mars (1938) and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), which is said to be a major influence on George Lucas while he was creating the original Star Wars trilogy. There was also a 1979 animated TV series dubbed The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon, a 1980 feature film adaptation starring Sam J. Jones and the live-action Syfy series Flash Gordon, which ran from 2007 to 2008.