From Nazi zombies to grand space opera. Overlord director Julius Avery is set to write and direct Fox’s new Flash Gordon movie. Matthew Vaughn, who was once attached to direct, will now the produce the film with John Davis and Hearst. Per Deadline, Avery grew up a fan of the comics and pitched his take to the studio.
Flash Gordon originated as a comic strip hero back in the 1930s, created as competition for the popular Buck Rodgers. The comics followed Flash Gordon’s adventures through space, battling the evil ruler of the planet Mongo, Ming the Merciless. The character has been brought to the screen numerous times over the years, including three serial films starring Buster Crabbe, a live-action TV on Syfy, and Mike Hodges’ beloved 80s film. Both the comics and the and 80s film remains popular touchstones in pop culture, including an appearance from Flash Gordon actor Sam Jones in the Ted movies, the glorious use of Queen’s theme song in Blades of Glory, and lots of stylistic influence in Thor: Ragnarok. Oh and it was the inspiration for Star Wars.
Avery’s World War II sci-fi thriller Overlord lands in theaters November 9 and it currently sitting pretty with 93% on Rotten Tomatoes after premiering at Fantastic Fest. That number is likely to drop as less genre-inclined critics have their say on the film, but I caught Overlord at the festival (you can read my full review here) and it’s a real banger of a war thriller/horror hybrid that showcases Avery’s knack for pulse-pounding action. After seeing what he can do with an aerial action scene, I’m definitely excited to see him take on a space adventure.
I’m also interested to learn more about his take on the project. Vaughn’s approach to the material stalled out after Guardians of the Galaxy came out and turned out similiar to his vision for the film. “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,” Vaughn said last year. “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.” After seeing his crazy take on the war thriller, I’m very eager to see what Avery came up with to shake up the genre.