Some two decades after underwhelming critics but still becoming a cult classic, Starship Troopers will finally return to the big screen. Except it will have little, if anything, to do with the 1997 outing by Paul Verhoeven.
Columbia Pictures, which produced the first movie under its TriStar Pictures label, will back the new film currently under development by writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon, according to The Wrap. Instead of looking back at the film that starred Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer and Denise Richards, the duo will return to the original source: The 1959 novel from Robert A. Heinlein.
The Wikipedia entry of Heinlein’s book probably describes the plot best …
The first-person narrative is about a young soldier named Juan “Johnnie” Rico and his exploits in the Mobile Infantry, a futuristic military service branch equipped with powered armor. Rico’s military career progresses from recruit to non-commissioned officer, and finally to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between mankind and an arachnoid species known as “the Bugs.”
Rico and the other characters discuss moral and philosophical aspects of suffrage, civic virtue, juvenile delinquency, corporal punishment, capital punishment and war.”
Verhoeven’s film, from screenwriter Ed Neumeier, took a bit of a different approach. In fact, the director once admitted he never actually finished Heinlein’s book, claiming he became both “bored and depressed” through the first few chapters and gave up, according to Internet Movie Database. Verhoeven also didn’t seem to get far enough to read about the battle suits the soldiers were supposed to wear, because they’re not found anywhere in his film.
Starship Troopers went on to earn $121.1 million globally, or $180.6 million today. However, it had a reported budget of $105 million, which might explain why Columbia’s parent company Sony Pictures didn’t continue to make more movies in the universe. At least not for the big screen.
TriStar did go on to make two direct-to-video sequels – Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation in 2004 and Starship Troopers 3: Marauder in 2008. Each time, Neumeier returned to write, even directing the third film which featured the return of Van Dien as Rico.
Although writers Swift and Shannon are getting attention right now for their work on the Dwayne Johnson comedy Baywatch, the two actually have some solid geek experience. They were the writers behind Freddy vs. Jason in 2003 and the 2009 remake Friday the 13th. Those two films combined to gross $207.3 million worldwide.
Sony hasn’t released any timeline for the film, but will include original Total Recall producers Neal H. Mortiz and Toby Jaffe.
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