When we last heard of the long-awaited arrival of an adaptation of Lobo, the DC property centered around a crass, violent alien bounty hunter who is more than a little unhinged, the film was set to be directed by Brad Payton, the man behind San Andreas. The director was also set to do some rewrites on the original script by Don Payne back in April 2012, and Akiva Goldsman and Joel Silver are set to produce the project. Since then, news has been scarce, but that changed this morning when THR reported that Warner Bros., who are set to distribute the film and have been developing the project, announced that Jason Fuchs will be writing the script for the film.
For those who have been following the development of Wonder Woman, the name will be familiar, as he penned the upcoming DC title and will appear in Damien Chazelle‘s hugely anticipated follow-up to Whiplash, La La Land, later this year. Fuchs is currently writing Luna Park, which is being directed by Doug Liman with Tom Cruise set to star, and also penned the script for 2015’s, er, interesting Peter Pan adaptation, Pan; before that, he was best known as the writer behind Ice Age: Continental Drift.
Now, we have yet to see what Fuchs did with Wonder Woman and Luna Park, two very promising projects, but if Pan is any sign of his sense of invention, I must say I’m skeptical about how this will turn out. Lobo requires toughness, and not smirking, cute toughness, but a real sense of the ugly business that is being a bounty hunter and the kind of people who work in that field. If this property were to be turned into some kind of redemption tale, it would miss the whole point of the series and the character. Pan is a strange movie, to be sure, and Lobo also requires oddness but the passages of the script that attempted to go “dark” were tremendously misguided, when not simply awkward.
That being said, this material will almost certainly allow for a bit more breadth of creative freedom than Pan, which was directed a bit more at children, did, especially following the success of Deadpool. And sure, Fuchs is under no obligation whatsoever to replicate what the comics did, but few properties have introduced such a promising, vast universe as the one where Lobo roams. Exploring such a realm comes with a need for serious nuance and inventiveness that goes beyond mere plotting and what will certainly be some unholy set-up for not just one sequel but two or three or five.