“Cowboys & Aliens” may be lassoing its way into theaters on Friday (July 29), but the movie’s journey to the big screen began a long time ago in a galaxy … well, not so far away.
The current incarnation of Jon Favreau’s adaptation of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s 2006 graphic novel is a far cry from what the director had originally envisioned. When we first heard about the project back in ’08, it seemed to be shaping up to be “Iron Man 2.0,” with Favreau directing, “Iron Man” screenwriters penning the script and Robert Downey Jr. pegged as the flick’s leading man.
Also by then, the “Cowboys & Aliens” script was in the capable hands of “Star Trek” writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who admitted that they had veered from the source material.
In January 2010, Downey Jr. parted ways with “Cowboys & Aliens.” Fortunately, things started looking up only two days later, when it was announced that Daniel Craig was in talks to replace the “Iron Man” star as protagonist Zeke Johnson. In addition, the movie was set to start filming in July, potentially in 3-D.
The casting announcements continued flowing in, including Olivia Wilde who came onboard as the movie’s leading lady. With the majority of the major players set to go, “Cowboys & Aliens” was given a July 2011 release date.
In April 2010, rumors began to swirl that Harrison Ford would join “Cowboys & Aliens”. Favreau confirmed on Twitter that Han Solo himself would star opposite Craig and Wilde, making this one of the coolest casts around.
The buzz for the flick continued to grow right through to its 2010 Comic-Con presentation, where fanboys salivated at the news that Wilde had filmed a nude scene just days before the event.
But it wasn’t until November that the rest of the world got a taste of what was in store. The first trailer arrived on November 17, and Favreau stopped by MTV’s offices to offer his own commentary on it. Then in February, another exciting new trailer aired during the Super Bowl. MTV News was lucky enough to get Favreau back for more trailer dissection.
In mid-July, MTV News headed to Montana, where we chatted with the cast, including Craig and Wilde. Not long after that trip, Favreau stopped by our San Diego headquarters to talk about the movie’s big Comic-Con world premiere. It was the nerd event of the convention.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Cowboys & Aliens.”