He might be able to save everyone of us, but Flash Gordon may not be able to save himself from the Merciless Mouse and its choices regarding 20th Century Fox.
The Playlist notes a recent Disney earnings call in which company CEO Bob Iger mentioned a plan to reduce the number of Fox releases over the next few years as they assess the best way to leverage the brand going forward. The site suggests the planned Taika Waititi Flash Gordon project may be among the causalities alongside a moribund Die Hard prequel — small mercies, there — and other projects. Safe from the culling are, of course, James Cameron’s four sequels to 2009’s Avatar, films already in post-production, and, seemingly, Fox Searchlight projects as Iger noted the division during the conference call.
Which may be the saving grace for Flash Gordon. Waititi is currently finishing up work on Jojo Rabbit for the division and is prepping a “secret” Fox Searchlight project he intends to film before beginning work on Thor: Love and Thunder. As all of his recent films are ultimately Disney projects, he may use his pull to keep Flash Gordon in development. Well, provided he is still involved.
As reported back in June, Waititi agreed to take “a crack” at the difficult to adapt space adventurer. The intent was to create an animated project; which makes its future less likely despite Waititi’s presence.
Of course, this is all speculation. That said, Flash Gordon has not had an easy time on the big screen since the 1980 film. Directed by Mike Hodges, the film was intended to be a campy confection. But set against the more series space opera of The Empire Strikes Back, it seemed more like a cheap imitator than an ode to the innovative 1930s strip it really is. Attempts to revive the strip and its characters tend to falter. But then again, Warner Bros. finally made a move based on The Man from U.N.C.L.E., so anything is possible.
Time will tell if Flash Gordon will become a Fox release in the end or decamp for a studio more interested in making it happen.