New Details on Legendary Pictures’ MASS EFFECT Movie [UPDATED]

     September 22, 2011


I was hoping at Comic-Con Legendary Pictures would clarify their plans for the Mass Effect movie they’re developing.  But the extent of their presentation was basically, “Hey, we’re still making a Mass Effect movie.  Thanks for stopping by.”  Now Legendary has put up Twitter questions that were supposed to be asked during the panel but were skipped due to time constraints.

The biggest piece of new info is that Mass Effect “will be a completely new story.”  Screenwriter Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend) previously said his script would be “following and honoring the story,” and Legendary’s comment doesn’t negate that statement.  BioWare hasn’t created a single story for Mass Effect as much as it’s created an entire world.  Yes, there’s an overarching storyline involving an ancient evil race out to destroy the galaxy, but BioWare has put far more effort into developing the various species, planets, characters, and so forth to the point that any writer could conceivably drop a new Commander Shepard story into the mix and still have it fit.  Hit the jump for more. [Update: Now Legendary has changed their tune.  Hit the jump for what they're saying now.]

I think there’s going to be a balancing act at work since Legendary doesn’t want to end on a cliffhanger like the first Mass Effect game.  Here’s a Q&A exchange from Legendary’s blog [via GameRant]

Q: Will it be a trilogy?
A: We are really focused on making this a great movie, so we’ll see where it takes us. We have to get the first one right to know whether there will be more.

It would be too cramped to do the whole reaper threat in a single movie so the question becomes, “Do you even bother bringing up that plotline in the first film?”  What sets Mass Effect apart from other video game adaptations is that there’s so much room to create a new story rather than just copy a plot the players already know.

Other brief pieces of info (and remember, this is all subject to change as the film moves through development; no director is even attached at this point):

- Seth Green will not portray Joker (the character he voiced in the game).

- Shepard will be the protagonist and the character will be male (the game gives players the choice to make Shepard male or female).

[Update: Here's what Legendary's website says now regarding the story:

Q:  Will it just be an adaptation of the first game, second game, or a completely new story?

A:  It will focus on Commander Shepard's journey, centering around the story of the original Mass Effect game.

Q:  How are you going to address the element of 'choice' that the players have in the game?

A:  The writer is weaving a path through Shepard's decisions that best supports the narrative of the movie and the motivations of its characters.

Legendary has also gone from a definite "No" on Seth Green playing Joker to "No casting decisions have been made yet."

Thanks to @Illusion0fLife for the heads-up.]

While Mass Effect churns through development, gamers can look forward to March 6, 2012 when Mass Effect 3 hits stores.


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  • Lulzatron

    “Yes, there’s an overarching storyline involving an ancient evil race out to destroy the galaxy, but”

    As long as Casey Hudson is able to say “No” to any stupid ideas, this movie has a chance.

  • Tarek

    yet another good bad idea

  • IllusionOfLife

    See, I think following the stories and characters from the games is a bad call for the movies. What works so well about the games is the element of player choice, creating your own adventure within this world. Obviously that element doesn’t exist in film and so you’d have to establish some kind of official canon for the series of events which, I feel, violates the series entire purpose.

    What I’d really like to see is a completely new story set in the same world. A story that’s just dripping with possibilities is the First Contact War. In the mythology of Mass Effect, the First Contact War was the result of humans discovering their first Mass Relay and having access to the larger galaxy, however, they unknowingly invade Turian Space, and their first contact with another species turns violent. Eventually the Council steps in and establishes a treaty between the two races, but not after several years of war.

    That’s a story that fans have been wanting told since the beginning, and I think it’s a perfect fit for the film.

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  • Mike

    Funnily enough, Shepard is the least developed character in the game. We get to choose what his history is like, whether he’s a war hero, a survivor, etc., but we never get too much of his history aside from those choices we get to make.

    I think going back and filling in those blanks would be a good idea. All before he gets involved with the Reapers and all that. When he was just a young, military badass.

    Sadly, that’d mean no Normandy, though. Oh well. That’d mean no Garrus, either. I suppose the Illusive Man could be somewhere in the shadows, though, along with Cerberus. Hopefully they’ll come up with something good.

    Of course, if they don’t and it fails, would any of us really be surprised?

  • Rick

    Wait…they’re taking a video game and turning it into a movie, but just using the title and the main character’s name? They decided it’s cool to completely scrap the only plot line that makes any of the events within the game matter?

    Hollywood doesn’t give a shit about making a good video game movie. That’s why there will never be one. All they care about is striking while the iron is hot and making as much money as they can off the name recognition and WOM a particular game has.

    Every video game movie is so far from the game it is ridiculous. It shouldn’t be that hard to put together a successful VGM, and yet, they are like monkeys fucking a coconut.

    • Nate

      But that’s just it. That’s all they can use is the title and main character, otherwise the fans of the game would already know what is going to happen. The only reason why so many video game to movie adaptations fail is because of, well let’s be honest here, us. The fans. We don’t wanna see something great turned into something crap. So the producers panic and create something totally different.

      However I personally believe Mass Effect along with MGS could be turned into good VGM adaptations, because the game companies will have a heavy hand in developing in it. If something doesn’t feel right then they’ll say ‘no, x wouldn’t do this or y wouldn’t say that or that’s not going to work’.

      That’s why I’d prefer it if we saw prequels to the games because at least that way we can experience more of the same, but have it be radically different from what we already know.

      Because there’s so much we don’t know about Shepherd, there’s plenty of room for backstory.

      ME1 = He’s a teenager just joining the alliance and it ends with him becoming a squad leader.
      ME2 = Several years later he’s now a hardened combat veteran and it ends with him repelling the attack on Elysium.
      ME3 = Follows on from the end of ME2 and he joins the crew of the Normandy as the XO. We follow several years of his life until the start of the first game, where he becomes the Normandy captain.

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  • Zxephin

    While some may be happy with the idea of a new story, i am not. Sure, it could turn out good. Really good. But I for one, really wanted to see the characters i love from the games portrayed on the big screen. I wanted to see the Reapers.

    It doesn’t bother me if i “know the story” all ready. I know the story to any movie based on a book, comic or character ive already read about, and that doesn’t make for an instantly bad or dull movie.

    I was looking forward to THEIR interpretation of a story i was familiar with. I know it would be my story… and that was the beauty of it.

    Like i said, it may turn out great. Im not going to say im boycotting or not going to see it because lets all face it, i will. I love the universe and baring proof of a complete disaster, will support the film. But right now im disappointed with the choice to go a different direction. However, i do feel that Daft Punk would make an excellent soundtrack regardless.

    • Blake

      It’s so good to finally see someone on the internet that agrees with me. Things like the first contact war would not make a good story because, let’s face it, that was a boring war. It makes for good history, but that’s all it should be. Just because you already know the story doesn’t mean it’s ruined, that’s why you can watch a movie multiple times and still be entertained.

      Despite how involved I feel in the games, the realistic qualities of a movie could increase that. And the story of the ME games is THE Mass Effect story, and everything else pales in comparison.

      Also, while I don’t disagree about Daft Punk, I say just get Clint Mansell to do the movie, he’s already doing ME3 haha

  • Desert Rat

    5 words:

    Get. David. Fincher. To. Direct.

    If possible. Id kill to see what he could do if let loose with this kind of mega-production.

  • Sedgie009

    I’m sorry but this sounds shit all ready. Really part of shepherds story line why legendary pictures just why? and if this is the case NO Seth Green playing as joker what the hell is wrong with you, and the only person that would suit and fit the role of Shepard is Mathew fox well my opinion anyway


    How can you make the original games into a movie that revolves a player making the choices and actions of there character.

    seriously what are you thinking Legendary pictures I was hyped when I heard about the movie but now i’m thinking its going be shit

  • patteach

    I believe the New Mass Effect movie will be called ELysium, with Matt damon in it. Look it up and compare.

  • Layce

    I like the idea.
    Something that would be interesting is if they open up some kind of poll. Say Have the script all written out but at key moments have several options. Then let the fan’s choose. And ask a series of questions like that. (Just like in the game)
    That way WE the fans can decide the out come, and have the movie go in that direction. but we won’t know it till the the movie comes out.

    Of course that would be a big undertaking. But cool as Hell to see.

  • Sean

    Following the events of ME would be amazing! An ancient race of machines that, when organic civilizations reach the apex of their glory, they extinguish them-why? Would be the question on people who hadn’t played the game’s lips. The mystery of the Protheans before we find out about the Reapers and even after we do.
    The story is just epic so much thought and work put into it and the fact that Casey Hudson is working along side Protosevich to make sure the story does not go stupid and loose track( a team from BioWare is working with Legendary Picture’s also) its not going to be ruined its going to be in my opinion the best video game adaptation yet the info just confirms it to me.

  • Legeorge

    wouldn’t making a movie like this make the title Mass Effect redundant.

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  • mitchell

    i would have had the guys that made The Fifth Element make this

  • Cody

    For the romance wise will you have ppl vote for who shepard gets wit….if so I vote for Liara T’soni