Universal Pictures has been trying to “crack” a Flash Gordon movie for many, many years, having had a cult hit with the 1980 movie starring Sam J. Jones, which might still be more famous for Queen’s theme song. (You know the one.) It hasn’t had much luck on the front despite many hot directors being attached and then detached, Sahara‘s Breck Eisner the most famously.
Now Disney’s 20th Century Fox division are giving it a go, hiring Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi to bring the space hero to the big screen, but this time it will be as an animated movie. It makes sense considering the success of Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which successfully created a separate animated franchise to the live action movies being made with Marvel Studios. (The second one of those live action movies, Spider-Man: Far from Home, comes out next week.)
Waititi is no stranger to animation as his first film Eagle vs. Shark included a good bit of stop motion animation, and the New Zealand filmmaker was once attached to the stop-motion film Bubbles for Netflix but dropped out for scheduling reasons.
Although to most people over a certain age, that 1980 Flash Gordon will still be the only one they’re most familiar with, the character actually originated with a 1934 comic strip by Alex Raymond, which then led to a serial starring Buster Crabbe. Meant as competition for the hugely popular Buck Rogers comic strips of the time, the general premise involves Flash Gordon trying to stop Ming the Merciless, the malevolent rule of the planet Mongo, which is on a collision course with earth.
Waititi has been spending his past year adapting Christine Leunens novel Jojo Rabbit, in which he co-stars with Scarlett Johansson and to be released by Fox Searchlight in October of this year. Waititi has also been attached to adapt Katsuhiro Otomo‘s Akira, another live action movie that’s been in various states of development hell over the past decade.


  1. “Disney’s 20th Century Fox division”
    Rather startling to see that.
    Fun fact: George Lucas made STAR WARS only because he couldn’t get the movie rights to FLASH GORDON. “You won’t sell me the rights? Okay, I’ll write my own space fantasy!”

  2. Y’know? I thought that Filmation’s ‘Flash Gordon’ animated series was a pretty good adaptation (at least during the first season). That was scripted by Samuel Peoples who also wrote for the original ‘Star Trek’.

  3. Never cared for the 1980 movie (aside from the Queen soundtrack). Prefer the 1936 serial. Jean Rogers (Dale) is still hot after 83 years.

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