18 April 2013

FWS Topics: What Is Going On With THE FOREVER WAR Movie?!

In the next two years, more military science fiction films are incoming to the big screen. With works like All You Need Is Kill with Tom Cruise, Ender's Game, Pacific Rim, AVATAR 2, and portions of Tom Cruise's Oblivion and Will Smith's After Earth, are bombarding the local movie houses, so, it seems logically that Ridley Scott would push his long-awaited adoption of the MSF classic, The Forever War to the front of his production company's schedule. You would think that...but that doesn't seem to be the case. While working on the news feed blogpost about the lack of story for another Prometheus film, I read that Ridley Scott has two films he's working on, and either one are The Forever War...so, what the hell gives?! In 2008, Ridley Scott seemed seemed excited about making this film that took him over 20 years to acquire the rights...then nothing for FOUR years?! What the hell is going on with the Forever War movie?!

The Shadow of Prometheus looming over the Forever War?

While some of us really liked Scott's return to sci-fi films, myself included, but there was some backlash from ALIENS fans, confusion by audiences and while it did make money, the studio thought it could have made more (greedy bastards) and blamed the script writers and Scott. Prometheus was to be the return of Scott to the genre of sci-fi, which two of his previous sci-fi films are considered legendary. But Prometheus was greeted with mixed reviews and marked by recent script troubles for a continuation. Could the shadow of the troubles for Prometheus be looming over the Forever War production? This could be one of the primary reason for the delay. Scott may want to be distance between him and sci-fi for awhile, and the studios may also agree. Promtheus could have cost us the Forever War.

The Script vs. the Book?
There have been no less than three major script writers for the film, David Peoples (who penned BLADE RUNNER and Soldier), Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z), and DW Harper (All You Need Is Kill). What does this say about the translating the classic novel into a big summer MSF movie...alot. While it is only 264 pages, the novel covers the thousand year long Eternal War, several major changes to the human society, and the bizarre military career of William Mandella. Streamlining the length of time, and the skipping over changes to human society and their sexuality could be one way,  but it would undercut the book's plot and point, making it bland. It could be broken up over three parts, much like the 1990 Belgium graphic novels, but somehow that doesn't seem like the most effective use of a Forever War film...it should be done in one shot, allowing the audience to experience the horror of hard-science deep space warfare, and the futility of this Eternal War. There also maybe some uneasiness over showing the entire human race has homosexual (Those Westboro wingnuts wouldn't see it for sure!) and then there is the stasis field that renders the modern weapons of the Eternal War obsolete, forcing the soldiers on both side, to resort to bladed weapons. That could be really strangle on film...and if people have not read the book.

What has me worried: the IMDB Plot and Explaining Time Dilation
Much like above, the plot of the Forever War relates heavily on time dilation...but could a screen-writer explain this phenomena of space travel to an movie going audience that are expecting some along the lines of Starship Troopers? That does not have me has worried has the basic plot outline that appeared on the imdb.org entry for this film. It said that an elite group of soldiers are sent into deep space to deal with an alien threat, then upon returning, these soldiers find that 20 years have passed at home while they were gone on the expedition that lasted a few months. So...does this mean that we are going to see more than one battle? Will we not see the entire Eternal War as per the novel? The plight of Marygay and William? What about the changing sexual habits of Earth? To be honest, I'm not impressed if this all we are going to see of this landmark MSF novel.

Recent Tragedy and a Booming Career?
Everyone that has seen the talent of Tony Scott, mourned his recent passing, and with this being Scott's last brother, we can only image his sadness. This is coupled with a booming career, where everyone seems to want to work with Mr. Scott. At the moment, he is heading up The Counselor, looking at making a film based the classic book A Brave New World, a BLADE RUNNER sequel, a Bible movie, about fourteen other film/TV projects! Prior to the Forever War catching his fancy in 2008, he was getting quite serious about that A Brave New World film.

Ridley Scott Should Look at the Forever War Graphic Novels
Translating the novel to film could be easier for Scott since Marvano already adopted the novel into a series of graphic novels back in 1988, and I am hoping that Ridley Scott has copies of this, or at the very least, his screen-writers. This is due to the wonderful job that was done in streamlining some of the novel's elements, but preserving the spirit and horror of the original text. Before the end of 2013, FWS is hoping to offer a full review of all three of these MSF graphic novels.  

The Other Attempt to bring the Forever War to the Screen
During the late 1980's, director Stuart Gordon met with Joe Haldeman when he was hired to direct a four part TV-movie series based on the Forever War, that would have possibley aired on PBS. When the funding was cut, and the script was transformed into play that ran in Chicago(?) for six-weeks in the late 1980's, and had a budget of $750,000. I've attempt to hunt any information on the stage play, but nothing seems to exist. What does exist, is one or two of the  Neal Adams' concept art for the film, and these are the only images for the aborted effort. Oddly, Stuart Gordon and Joe Haldeman would work on another film the B-grade Robot Jox.

The Timeline of The Forever War film
  • October 12, 2008-Ridley Scott confirms that he has secured the rights to the book
  • March, 2009-After seeing AVATAR, Scott confirms that the Forever War will be filmed in 3D  and he's got a 'good writer' on the script. It was later confirmed that David Peoples (BLADE RUNNER) was working on the script, which could be the first screenplay for the film.
  • Summer 2010-Rumors of another script-writer working on yet another script. 
  • August 2010-Screen-writer Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z) is confirmed as writing the four script for the film,
  • November of 2012-DW Harper, who adopted All You Need Is Kill, has been tapped to write another script for the movie. Author Joe Haldeman called it "the fourth rewrite"...are we missing someone?
  • March/April of 2013-Whole Lot of Nothing...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. The best way to film this book would be to make to into a high quality mini series that fully investigated the human response to time dilation, communication problems and relationships complexities in the book.
    Unfortunately if The Forever War were to get the blockbuster treatment it would just be another gung-ho space war flick.

    1. I agree mini series or something along the lines of battlestar galactica big budget sci fi tv series

    2. If it was filmed in this way you could include forever peace aswell

  3. Totally agree. My hope is that with the director being Ridley "God" Scott than we could get a movie with depth than say if Paul Anderson directed it. The Forever War needs to have all of those elements, with shocking violence coupled with the book's tone.
    Thanks reading and commenting!

  4. The issue with Forever Peace is that it was not well received by the fans of the original novel and I do not think that it could crafted into a film. I think that the short story set within the Forever War universe is "A Separate War" which was about Marygay Potter, when she and William were separated by service.

  5. I have just read the Book Forever War and found it a totally fulfilling experience. I have not read much modern SF up until stumbling across the SF master series. I found this such a powerful book, when I put it down I actually felt like I had lived through the adventure myself in away that I have never quite felt before, which is quite a tribute to the author. I must admit that when doing a little internet search, when I saw mention of a movie, I was excited for half a second, but then to be honest, I realized that a film could never ever capture what these words on paper and the human brain can conjure up. Much better to enjoy this as it was meant to be enjoyed in the printed form. I for one wouldn't want to watch a film version. It has happened to me in the past where I have seen a film and then ever afterwards that image taints my own imagination and interpretation of the book version.

  6. I agree and I will admit that I cried at the end of the book. It really is one of the sci-fi books of all time, and an honest examination of war and what it does to soldiers. I think we could get lucky with Ridley Scott directing it. While he will not be able to incorporate all of the elements from the book, it will be a lightyears better than if Paul W. Anderson was directing it! My worry is that from rumors online, the movie will only battle, and then the rest of the film will be focused on their lives back on Earth many years later, and not the rest of the war. That would suck. According to an recent interview, the script is moving forward.

  7. If anyone could pull it off, I must admit Ridley Scott is amongst the few that could. The story is already there. So as long as the script captures the important elements they would have a great movie. The script (or lack of it) is usually what lets most big budgets movies down, visually they can do amazing things now.

  8. I think that any Forever War movie will either skip over the events on Earth after the first tour, and get back to the war in space, similar to the 1990's graphic novels, or that will be the focus of the movie completely. Of course, if they can break up the HOBBIT into three movies, than they could certain do that with the Forever War

  9. Ridley Scott needed two screenplays for Blade Runner, now he needs 4?

  10. i know i have been waiting for fucking ever...for this...no pun intendo

  11. Yep...I've been forever it seems as well. There is no word on this movie, despite him moving forward with the sequel to Prometheus

  12. This will have to be a long-form TV series, just like The Handmaid's Tale, and The Man In The High Castle-the length of it as a novel makes a movie version impossible.

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