The ongoing quest to make a new Flash Gordon movie is heading into its fourth decade. While the visual splendor of Mike Hodges’ 1980 masterpiece is a tough act to follow, it hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying (repeatedly) to bring Flash, Dale, Ming, Aura, Zarkov, and the rest of the gang back to the big screen. So far, they haven’t had any luck.
So now it looks like 20th Century Fox, now a studio that exists under the ever-widening Disney umbrella, will attempt a different take on a new Flash Gordon movie. This time, they’re looking to bring Flash back as an animated film, with none other than Taika Waititi, whose Thor: Ragnarok took plenty of visual inspiration from Hodges’ Flash Gordon movie, involved. Deadline broke the news, citing word that Waititi might be writing or directing…or might not be. But he’s definitely involved in some capacity.
The Waititi Flash Gordon animated movie would appear to put any lingering live action projects “to the death!” Most recently, Julius Avery, of the sorely underrated Overlord had been set to write and direct. Avery had replaced Matthew Vaughn. And then there are the parade of screenplays littered like interstellar soldiers in this project’s wake, with everyone from JD Payne and Patrick McKay to Die Hard‘s Steve E. de Souza (who told us a little about his own difficulties with the project) taking a crack at it over the last 20 years or so.
This wouldn’t be the character’s first animated foray, either. Filmation brought fans a gorgeous The New Adventures of Flash Gordon animated series between 1979-1982 (which you can watch here), and there was a dreadfully 90s “teen and extreme” version that lasted one mercifully short season in 1996. While it’s safe to say that Flash Gordon could use a lighter touch, and Waititi certainly understands the visual flourishes that made the 1980 film so popular, there’s no word yet on the tone or style the new animated movie will embrace. It would be great to see something as adventurous as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, one that takes full advantage of the format while also paying tribute to the character’s long history. The original Flash Gordon comic strips are the visual blueprint for nearly the entire golden age of comics, and it would be great to see Raymond’s lush, deco-inspired futurism brought to life in modern animation. And if this is something that will deliberately embrace a more offbeat tone, well, then they may as well use some of that iconic Queen soundtrack again (but just for the record, the best song on it isn’t the unforgettable theme, it’s “The Hero” which plays over the film’s closing credits).
There’s no release date set for Flash Gordon, and details remain scarce. We’ll update this with new information as it becomes available.