Rumors of a live-action Metal Gear Solid movie adaptation have been floating around almost as long as the franchise itself. Every year brings with it new rumors as well as new doubts that this Moby Dick of video game adaptations will ever actually happen. Still, what is a pipe dream to some is a guarantee for others, especially those with a vested interest in a Metal Gear film. And no, we’re not talking about Konami.
In 2020, Deadline reported that Oscar Isaac, who you’ve seen most recently as the MCU’s Moon Knight and Duke Leto Atreides in Dune, had signed on to play Solid Snake in an upcoming Metal Gear Solid adaptation. But not only did the movie have its star, it also had a director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island) who has been outspoken about his desire to finally bring Hideo Kojima’s dystopian action game to the big screen. A script was even being penned by Derek Connolly, the screenwriter who is best known for the Jurassic World movies and the scrapped first version of Star Wars Episode IX he co-wrote with Colin Trevorrow. Unfortunately, this was the last time we heard of any progress being made on this Metal Gear Solid adaptation. In 2022, the film already seems to have one foot in development hell.
But during a recent interview with ComicBook.com about his new graphic novel Head Wounds: Sparrow, Isaac gave an update on the project. Don’t get your hopes up that this thing is happening any time soon, though. Isaac’s answer suggests the movie is still in the development stage.
“We want it to happen. Be excited,” Isaac said. “What’s the script? What’s the story? What’s the take…But hopeful that comes to fruition because there’s so much potential for that. It’s an incredible game. It’s my favorite.”
Vogt-Roberts and Isaac clearly have a passion for Metal Gear that goes far beyond capitalizing on an established IP gamers love and even non-gamers recognize. Plenty of movie adaptations have been built on less — which kind of explains why so many video game movies suck.
“That’s one of the most important franchises to me on the planet,” Vogt-Roberts told Den of Geek in 2017. “Not even just as a video game, but as a piece of media.”
On top of passion, Vogt-Roberts has a clear understanding and respect for the source material. And unlike the studio execs who might seek to make a Metal Gear movie feel like dozens of other big-screen action IP — which would completely miss the point — the director is determined to make this franchise feel unique in theaters.
“Metal Gear Solid is about that sinking feeling as you go deeper and deeper into the belly of the beast and you’re further away from safety. Every step you might get caught,” Vogt-Roberts said to Den of Geek in the same interview. “It’s about the palpitations your heart gives when an alarm goes off and the cat-and-mouse game that ensues, but it’s also about this highly idiosyncratic, beautiful property that (Hideo) Kojima created where the characters spew philosophy and ideology. It’s a hyper-specific thing that is unlike anything else. You cannot take Metal Gear and say, ‘It’s like Mission: Impossible. It’s like G.I. Joe.’ No, no, no. Metal Gear is only like Metal Gear.”
And, Isaac echoed this sentiment last year, citing the game’s “psychedelic military horror” as one of its many strong suits. That’s certainly one way to describe the supernatural Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow boss fights. Unfortunately, Isaac’s newest statement might not just be a coy update to hype up the movie adaptation; he might be asking “What’s the story?” because he has no idea.
Earlier this year, during the red carpet premiere of Moon Knight, Isaac told IGN, “We’re searching, we’re searching like Solid Snake. We’re climbing through air ducts, we’re looking for the story.” The implication was that the people behind the film hadn’t settled on a script yet. Judging by Isaac’s recent statement, that might still be the case, which means that we are probably years off from an actual Metal Gear Solid movie.