03 November 2016

FWS News Feed: The Starship Troopers "Remake" Film

FWS rarely posts an article without mentioning the foundational work of military sci-fi that is Robert Heinlein's 1959 novel Starship Troopers. From nearly day one of FWS existence, we have talked and talked about his work and its many interpretations and that will continue throughout the life of this humble little MSF blog...despite my personal feelings about the book. I am not the biggest fan of SST nor many of its interpretations, but I respect its writer and the core story. Simply put, here is no way to escape its black hole force hold on the genre, and once again, we here at FWS surrender to it with its power with yet another blogpost on SST. One day very soon, FWS will discuss the influence of SST on the entire genre of military SF and why SST merely existing has helped military SF forge the genre to what it is today. In some ways, it is the Star Wars of military sci-fi. It was reported by io9 that the long-awaited more accurate tvision than the 1997 film is getting more of a chance to see the light of day....but is the news a good thing? According to the article, two experienced screenwriters, Mark Swift and Damian Shannon are working on the latest script that will finally allow us to experience the technology and tactics of the 1959 Mobile Infantry troopers and not the 1997 Mobile Infantry troopers. That means we will see powered armor on the bounce! I have much concern though because these screenwriters have recently penned the Baywatch film script and can this new SST film overcome the 1997 film?
Love it or hate it, the 1997 film is very popular and there are many in the general public that only know the term "Starship Troopers" via that bloody mess by Paul Verhoeven. Along with the 1997 film, there have been two other films, an animated film along with a short-lived animated tv show, topped off by wargame and comic series. All of these works are based on the house that Verhoeven built. Any new interpretation of the iconic book will have to navigate around the 1997 film and its iron-fisted control on the SST brand. My advice? Do not call it "Starship Troopers" or put Robert Heinlein's name at the beginning title, so it would read: "Robert Heinlein's SST". Maybe "Citizenship", "Service", "I, Rico"...just kidding. Bottomline, there needs to be a new vision of the book put to film, but my hopes to ever see this and the Forever War movie in the near future are dim. Until then, the Verhoeven bloody future war epic complete with male and female showers and Denise Richards acting will remain the ambassador of the SST brand.  


  1. My take is no, nope, hell no!
    In today's political climate trying to make a movie by closely following a very controversial book. It was controversial when it came out and it remains controversial to this day.

    Paul Verhoeven's movie capture the underlaying problem with the movie: the militaristic society that it proposes as a solution to society's problem. Only that Paul Verhoeven decided to mock by depicting them as WWII nazis, including their SS like uniforms.

    Despite its name, SST only has three instances of combat in the entire book: at the beginning, during the raid, the ill fated Kendathu invasion and the raid at some unnamed planet. Most of the book is about Rico being trained and bitching at the shortcomings of civilians and how the military is better equipped to deal with those problems.

    Despite its failings I think that PV's version is the best that could be made within the parameters set by the book.

    Anybody else trying to adapt SST in the age of "safe spaces" will butcher it and probably end up with a HALO/GEARS OF WAR mix with space insects.

    So, nuke it from orbit is what I say. Call the terminator to hit on those fools who are trying for this catastrophe in the making and let the book dormant for a thousand years.

  2. The biggest problem here is not a political but a cultural one - humanity vs. the hive-minded insectoid swarm was a much fresher theme in 1959 than it is today. In the meantime, we got a flood of such wars in popular culture, from Aliens to WH40K to Starcraft - and many more. Even power armor was far, far fresher in 1959 (when Heinlein introduced the idea) than today. This will create great difficulty to produce a film which will be anything else than a "meh" repetition of stale tropes.

  3. I enjoyed the film and the book independently of one another (and the sequels that we won't talk about, and the animated film - which was pretty good.) Starship Troopers was about as fake and forced as an action movie can get, but it was entertaining. Still, nothing has come anywhere near beating-out my all-time favourite film (James Cameron's Aliens)

    My one single, solidary gripe with Aliens? The fact that the Colonial Marines despite have some backing from WY, had no clue that they wouldn't be able to fire their 'standard' explosive rounds inside part of a 'standardised' facility. I know that it is a plot device and love the film, but it irks me damnit!

  4. The #1 obstacle will be the Starship Trooper movies will always be competing with the other movies that the novel has already inspired like James Cameron's Aliens.

  5. The first Alien movie had nothing in common with SST. I think Aliens, borrowed some items from SST but to say it was inspired by it is erroneous in my view.

  6. You mentioned in this post most of the adaptations of SST, however there is one more. The 1988 six episode Anime OVA by Sunrise (Mobile Suit Gundam). It is not very good, but it does have the power armor.

    1. I have the OVA and while it is based on SST, it lacks the arachnid war and frankly I found the enemy lacking although it is a very interesting version.

  7. FWS will be discussing the 1988 Bandai Visual six-part laser-disc OVA very soon in a special MSF Oddities blogpost!

  8. The one thing I hated most about the movie was no mobile jump suits.I always enjoyed the old Avalon Hill game though,that was fun.