After enjoying box office successes with The Book of Eli and Rogue one, Gary Whitta is a pretty hot screenwriting property right now. His next project is an adaptation of Mark Millar’s six-issue miniseries Starlight. News about the Sci-fi project has been scarce up to now, but rumours about FOX’s favourite to play the lead have begun to circulate, and let’s just say that lead character Duke McQueen’s day is going to get off to a Rocky start…
According to Splashreport Sylvester Stallone is “top pick” at FOX to play Duke McQueen, retired space explorer hero called into action one last time. Duke was in the universe saving business 40 years ago, but now he’s a little past his prime with children off having their own adventures and his wife’s death hanging heavy over him. Starlight was first published by Image Comics in 2014, written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Goran Parlov. Millar has referred to the plot as both “Flash Gordon meets The Dark Knight Returns” and “Buzz Lightyear meets Unforgiven,” so expect some campy 60’s Sci-Fi B Movie visuals to be coupled with heavy themes about age, memory and duty.
We don’t yet know whether the studio has had any conversations with Stallone about playing the role, but we can certainly get behind the logic of their choice. Although Stallone has never really stopped being a box office draw, he’s no longer the action hero he once was. He seems perfectly placed to play a man once admired for his physical prowess and achievements now struggling with the effects of time and the burdens of his past. He’s also unafraid of playing vulnerable roles, as he proved in Oscar nominated performance as Rocky Balboa in Creed.
Last year, Gary Whitta told us what to expect from a Starlight movie, and how it sets out to tug on the heartstrings as much as on the trigger of a laser blaster:
“I think there’s a little more to it than the pulp Flash Gordon adventures it’s inspired by in that it’s grounded in really powerful, universal themes. Like any good science fiction it’s much more about the human story than it is any of the fantastical stuff, though there is certainly plenty of that. It’s about the importance of family, about what it means to grow old, and it has at the heart of it a protagonist that is so much more human and vulnerable than the typical two-dimensional space adventure hero.”
We’ll be intrigued to see if Stallone is interested in the part. If so, It’ll be hot on the heels of his performance in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the first major Sci-Fi role he’s undertaken (not counting Judge Dredd, because we’re pretending that didn’t happen). Interesting to think that someone whose work started out by being closely associated with boxing rings and dense jungle foliage could suddenly find himself enjoying a carreer resurgence out in the farthest reaches of the galaxy.