THE FOREVER WAR: Channing Tatum Boards Sci-Fi Epic; Sparks Bidding War [Updated]

     April 30, 2015

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Channing Tatum has signed on to star in adaptation of Joe Haldeman‘s 1974 science fiction classic The Forever War from a script by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange, Passengers). THR reports that Sony, Warner Bros., and another undisclosed studio are currently locked in a bidding war for the project, which is expected to attract an A-list director and originate a franchise. Roy Lee who will produce alongside Tatum and his Free Association company.

Haldeman’s Hugo and Nebula winning book spawned two sequels, a comic book and a board game, and is considered one of the great works of science fiction. The story follows a young physics student, William Mandella, drafted as a soldier in the war against an alien species named the Taurans. As he rises up the ranks and travels through space, he remains the same age while his loved ones and home planet continue to age at a normal rate. As the centuries pass on earth, the planet evolves greatly, evolving into a homogenous race and developing a new language. However, William remains connected to his true love, a female soldier who also slows down her aging through space-travel.

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Image via St. Martin’s Press

Ridley Scott was previously attached to direct an adaptation of The Forever War. After waiting twenty-five years for the rights to become available, Scott developed the project over the course of eight years, going through at least seven drafts of the script, before his deal lapsed and the rights-holder Richard Edlund decided to go in another direction. Edlund, an award-winning special effects artist in his own right, has held the rights since the ’70s and will produce the film alongside Tatum and Lee.


With his work in films like Foxcatcher and Magic Mike, Tatum has proven himself a talented actor beyond the “beefcake” label he was originally stamped with. With his recent Sci-fi epic, Jupiter Ascending, a disappointment both in box office and critical reception, The Forever War could be Tatum’s chance to prove that he can carry the weight of a franchise without dance moves or a co-lead. I would have liked to see Scott’s vision for the book, but I’ll withhold judgement until we see who takes the helm in his stead.

UPDATE: Deadline reports that Warner Bros. landed the film after outbidding Sony.

What are your thoughts? Do you like Tatum in the role of William Mandella? Which studio would you like to see the project land at? Sound off in the comments.

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