Earlier this week, Universal Studios announced plans to reimagine Battlestar Galactica the triumph of sci-fi pop culture first started in 1978, for the big screen. After a three-hour miniseries remake in 2003 led to the critically acclaimed and massively popular television series that aired its final episode in 2009, Universal is finally ready to take the series a step further and reboot the franchise once more. Glen A. Larson, the original creator of the show, will produce the feature, though there are still many questions as to who will direct it, considering that the Bryan Singer, once attached to a Battlestar film project, has moved back to the X-Men franchise indefinitely. Much of Battlestar Galactica’s drama is focused on the struggle for survival of the last humans – people of Twelve Colony planets – and a race of Clyon robots that want to wipe them out. Mankind (or what’s left of it) is then forced to escape the colonies aboard massive spaceships, among which there is the last “battlestar”: Galactica. Though the show expanded the universe to create an intricate mythology, the core of the Battlestar story is simple and catchy enough that it sounds perfect for a screenwriter to play with and revise, or, as Universal declared, to “completely reimagine the story”. It doesn’t seem like they are going for a continuation of Ronald D. Moore’s vision at all and that might be beneficial to the final product.
Even though this might not be a big deal for the general public, who is always ready to sit through a decent science fiction big production as long as it has some innovative graphics and technology, it is worrisome to the great many Battlestar Galactica fans. The screenwriter on board, Jack Paglen, is untested and although he has a couple of big projects coming up (Transcendence), faithful watchers would have probably preferred hearing a more reassuring name, maybe from the same sci-fi universe like Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who have done a pretty good job on Stark Trek (2009) and Stark Trek into Darkness (2013). However, if you are not a fanatic of the show, it might be hard to understand the emotional dishevelment around this news. Two of my good friends tried –and succeeded- to put me in their same state of mind by dropping the “what-if” bomb: “How would you feel if Lost were turned into a movie?” It was a baffling question at first, for how could you possibly take a show as dense, long, and character focused as Lost and turn it into a two-hour movie? Though a lot of the show would have to be cut, the more I thought about it the more I realized that just like Battlestar Galactica, Lost has an intriguing core concept that could make for a very entertaining “reimagining”. Maybe something along the lines of this:
The Plot: A very diverse group of passengers survive a plane crash just to end up on a deserted tropical island that will drive them insane. A million things happen in the show and nobody really understands everything that is going on, not even the writers, as they recently declared in a panel to celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary. The premise would remain untouched in the film, and so would the major characters, but much would have to be cut out. The great thing about having the chance to reimagine the show in a film adaptation is that there could be more clarity and people could finally leave satisfied. No need for time travel then, and reality splitting into three different timelines (flashbacks – present on the island – future/alternative universe) could be cut altogether to allow a deeper exploration on what is really going on. The main concept of the island –being the center of good and evil, light and black smoke- should rival the emotional quest the characters are embark on.
So, long story short: A plane crashes on a tropical island. The survivors –the “Oceanic Six”- will not only have to struggle with nature to stay alive, but they will also have to deal with the startling discovery that the place isn’t really deserted but rather populated by a scientific expedition (The Dharma Initiative). These “Others” have discovered that the island has a power beyond imagination and they are trying to reach its source. The Six are going to clash with The Others, who don’t want them to be rescued because that way the media and the world will find the island. Eventually, the two groups are going to need to join forces against a common enemy: the incarnation of evil that is trying to escape from the island and “destroy everything good”
Who will direct it: J.J. Abrams, no question. If they take him away, nobody will understand what the heck is going on anymore. However, I would like the movie to have a little Steven Spielberg, who should be a consultant (let me dream!) of some sort. He would really be able to enhance the psychological drama aspect of the story, maintaining the high emotional tension all the way. And if I really can’t… well, then I want the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas), who never have problems handling complex stories and large-scale adaptations.
Who will write it: Possibly the same team who wrote the series (Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse) and maybe Christopher Nolan from the times of Memento and Insomnia. He has an amazing ability of playing with the viewers’ minds and sensibilities and that is exactly what the island is doing. Not to mention he has already worked with J.J. Abrams.
Cast Wish List: The television cast was humungous, but the great thing about a film “reimagining” is that the story can be reshaped to fit cinematic boundaries. This is the very reason I think a strong Lost movie would cut the cast and focus solely on the most beloved characters from the TV show: the Oceanic Six, Ben (the head of The Others and The Man In Black (evil walking on two legs).
Bryan Cranston as John Locke: Cranston is famous for his role as Walter White in Breaking Bad (ever heard of it?), which makes him perfect to play this show’s ambiguous anti-hero. Locke walks the fine line between villainous psycho and prophetic wise man, probably because he is the only one who truly understands the island.
Hugh Jackman as Dr. Jack Shephard: Hugh has the looks and the tormented hero appeal. He can be a leader and at the same time be tragically flawed. Jack is basically the main character and Hugh would be a great attraction.
Josh Holloway as Sawyer: Producers know that to attract an audience you need a pretty star and Holloway is one of the most attractive TV actors ever. He is amazing at what he does and it would really be a pity to substitute him. If we were to, why not try Eric Dane.
Hale Berry as Kate Austen: She can kick major ass and can go toe-to-toe emotionally with any man, which are two things any dynamite Kate Austen actress needs. Plus, Berry could be a great way to diversify the cast since “reimagining” Lost for the big screen would result in cutting characters like Sun, Jin, Michael, and Walt.
Jorge Garcia as Hugo “Hurley” Reyes: He has won the hearts of the fans and it would be impossible to recast him.
Ralph Fiennes (with long hair) as Desmond Hume: The role calls for a memorable British actor, who must be brilliantly disheveled enough to be able to unlock the mysteries of the island. Ralph Fiennes is extraordinary and fits the bill perfectly.
Denis O’Hare as Ben Linus: Twisted kids never change. O’Hare has proved how creepy he can be in American Horror Story, but there is always a lighter side of him, just like in Ben.
Charles Dance as The Man In Black: We all hate him from Game of Thrones already, so it won’t make much difference if he scares us in a movie as well. Plus, Dance as that omniscient voice that is menacing.
Let’s face it, no matter how horrifying the idea of seeing our favorite show being turned into a movie might be, we are all going to cave in and line up for the midnight release just to spend two hours whispering to our as-addicted friends about how awful it is they didn’t include that one line from the third season finale. And yet, “reimagining” TV shows for the big screen offers a unique opportunity for a screenwriter and director to expand on the central themes that made the shows so memorable in the first place. Though a girl can dream with a film version of Lost, I think it’s too early to jump against the Battlestar Galatica that’s in the works. Who knows, Universal might just have the next big thing on their hands, a reimagining clever enough to appeal to long time fans and original enough to bring in new ones.
Are you excited?
Article by Giulia Rho