Buck Rogers cover by Frank Frazetta

Writer Brian K. Vaughan, producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford and Flint Dille are teaming up with Legendary for the reboot of the classic space opera Buck Rogers.

Vaughan, taking an ongoing break from Saga and comics for Panel Syndicate, will help Legendary reimagine the sturdy space adventurer as a multi-platform and multi-medium reboot; a TV show, film, and anime series are all on the table.

Dille, a screenwriter, producer and comics writer in his own right, is the grandson of John F. Dille, original publisher of the character, and part of the trust that owns Buck Rogers.

Buck Rogers is, of course, one of the best known and longest lasting pulp characters; he debuted in a story by Philip Frances Nowlan in Amazing Stories in 1928 and then found even more popularity in a comic strip by Nowlan and illustrator Dick Calkins. The concept was an ordinary American white man who wakes up 500 years in the future and has many adventures with newfangled gizmos and gimcracks, accompanied by the intrepid Wilma Deering.

A 1939 movie serial starring swole ex-swimmer Buster Crabbe cemented the character in popular consciousness. A 1979 reboot starring Gil Gerard as Buck and Erin Gray as Wilma, is enshrined in the nostalgia of many — as is robot companion Twiki’s constant utterance “Twiki! Twiki!”

Rogers has been mostly absent from media since then — although there have been comics, including a run from Dynamite  — perhaps because of a rights dispute. Although the character is now believed by many to have passed into the public domain, the Dille Family Trust claims still claims ownership of it. Murphy and members of the Dille Family Trust have been jockeying for position on the franchise for a few years, and it looks like they decided that part of something is better than all of nothing, and the reboot is continuing.

Vaughan’s most public project of late has been working exec producing the Y The Last Man streaming series. Saga, his beloved SF series drawn by Fiona Staples, has been on hiatus since 2018. He has an overall deal with Legendary, so it looks like Saga will be on the back burner for a bit more.


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