MTV Betting On ‘War of the Worlds’ After ‘Teen Wolf’

By October 14, 2016


If MTV could take a corny 1980s movie and make it cool with Teen Wolf, why not dip back into something far more classical. You know, like The War of the Worlds.

Apparently the cable channel has been thinking exactly that, and they want Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis to make it happen.

H.G. Wells first published the story in 1897, serialized in Pearson’s Magazine and Cosmopolitan. It chronicles an invasion of Earth by Mars, which devastates a race nowhere near the level of technical achievement of its enemies. The humans win, however, not by some great plan or unity, but because we have germs the Martians can’t handle.

One of the most famous adaptations of War of the Worlds came on Halloween 1938 when Orson Welles and his drama troupe performed a radio show based on the book. Although the audience was told multiple times that it was just a show, many people heard the realistic news bulletins and such, believing there really was an alien invasion taking place.

Fifteen years later, writer Barre Lyndon and director Byron Haskin developed a film version for Paramount Pictures that starred Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. It won an Oscar for its special effects.

Gene Barry’s grandson, Josh Barry, is one of the producers behind the MTV project according to The Hollywood Reporter, joining Jeff Kwatinetz. Davis is working on a pilot script with Andy Cochran, a writer on Teen Wolf as well as the television movie If There Be Thorns based on the V.C. Andrews novel.

MTV is eyeing the series as a possible successor to Teen Wolf, which will end after six seasons next year. While it’s possible MTV will adapt from the book, Barry’s involvement suggests it could be an adaptation based more on the 1953 film.

warworldsinset101416It wouldn’t be the first time such an adaptation has happened. The syndicated War of the Worlds series that ran between 1988 and 1990 was considered a sequel to the film. The show there revealed that the bacteria that plagued the aliens in the 1950s didn’t kill them, but instead forced them into hibernation. And now they were starting to adapt and become strong again.

Steven Spielberg tried his own adaptation in 2005, modernizing the book and sticking a little closer to the source material (primarily thanks to advances in special effects). Starring Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin, this War of the Worlds earned a little more than $590 million in worldwide box office.

Spielberg’s crew for that film included Kathleen Kennedy as a producer, who is now the head of Disney’s Lucasfilm.

There is a lot of nostalgia going around Hollywood these days, THR adds, and it’s not all because we yearn for the past.

Reboots continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets look for proven (intellectual property) in a bid to cut through a cluttered scripted landscape that is quickly approaching 500 original series. Key to the remakes is having the original producers involved in some capacity as more studios look to monetize their existing film libraries.

The CW already has two remakes in the works, THR added, including the 1980s primetime soap Dynasty as well as a remake of the 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys. ABC looks to bring back Magnum P.I. while CMT wants a shot at Varsity Blues.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.