For those who haven’t seen it, “Planet” is the futuristic tale of an expedition sent from Earth to the planet Altair IV to check up on a scientific colony set up 20 years earlier. Only one member is left — Dr. Morbius, who lives with his daughter and Robby the Robot, the rest having been wiped out by a mysterious force. Morbius reveals he’s boosted his intellect with the technology left behind by Altair’s extinct race — but unsurprisingly, using it produces a few nightmares, too.
Now, don’t get too excited about this one yet — “Forbidden Planet” has had a troubled journey back to the big screen already. Over the years, it’s attracted directors like James Cameron, Nelson Gidding, and Stirling Silliphant. It was originally set up at New Line Studios, but as of last year was set up at DreamWorks, with David Twohy directing. Warner Bros snagged it secretly early this year, with Joel Silver producing, but it hasn’t attached a director yet. Straczynski and Silver are the only names keeping it from total limbo — and as we know from seemingly lost projects like “The Silver Surfer,” Straczynski’s scripts can go to waste.
Plus, there’s the risk that’s always associated with a remake: “Forbidden Planet” is beloved by many and its most memorable character, Robby the Robot, has a fan club that rivals Johnny Depp. But if there’s one writer who can update the movie for a new generation of sci-fi fans, it’s Straczynski.
Well, readers — is J. Michael Straczynski the man who can finally usher “The Forbidden Planet” back to the big screen?