Legendary Entertainment is finalizing the last details to secure the screen rights to one of sci-fi’s oldest and most underused characters, Buck Rogers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the production company behind the upcoming epic “Dune” and movies like “Pacific Rim” and “Hellboy” is visualizing a big-screen project that would pave the way for a television series and an anime series, telling tales of sci-fi action and adventure in the 25th century.
Don Murphy and Susan Montford will produce through their Angry Films company, whose credits include “Transformers” and “Real Steel.”
Buck Rogers has been around for a very long time. First appearing in a comic strip in the late 1920s, actor Buster Crabbe starred in the first big screen adaptation in a 12-part serial film produced in 1939 by Universal. The character even inspired the creation of Flash Gordon. But for anyone whose age begins with a “4,” it’s the 1979-1981, two-season series starring Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (who was nearly Captain Janeway) and produced by Glen A. Larson that we associate with Buck Rogers.
The narration that featured at the beginning of each episode is forever etched into the memory of every forty-something sci-fi fan.
“The year is 1987, and NASA launches the last of America’s deep space probes. In a freak mishap, Ranger 3 and its pilot, Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers, are blown out of their trajectory into an orbit which freezes his life support systems, and returns Buck Rogers to Earth … 500 years later.”
The series gave us so many iconic elements of contemporary science fiction, including Twiki, space vampires, the Draconian Empire and the awesome Thunderfighter, which was actually the original concept by Ralph McQuarrie for the Mk1 Colonial Viper in “Battlestar Galactica,” also produced by Glen A. Larson.
An impressive list of guest stars including Mark Lenard, Frank Gorshin, Roddy McDowall, Anne Lockhart and Jamie Lee Curtis appeared through the 32 episode run. Sadly, the second season tried a more serious approach and was set aboard the starship Searcher instead of being on Earth. It was cancelled after just 11 episodes.
Graphic novel author Frank Miller tried to bring life to a Buck Rogers movie in 2008, but sadly it never got off the ground. In fact, the Glen A. Larson TV series was the last time Buck was in space, just shy of 40 years ago.
Who knows what to expect. Will Gil Gerard guest star in this new show, just like Buster Crabbe did in the episode “Planet of the Slave Girls” (Season 1, Episode 3) as Brigadier Gordon? Will it be a gritty reimagining of the Glen A. Larson version, just like Ron Moore’s epic “Battlestar Galactica”? Will the space fighters still make that really cool noise when they fly down the launch tubes?
This is exciting news, and we will keep you posted on every development.
“Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Remastered Series” on Blu-ray is available on Amazon.