I hate to ruin your Friday right as the weekend is starting, but I bring some troubling news from the land of Hollyweird. It seems the creative folks behind Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid revival, have decided they want to make a movie, a full-length film, based on the once-popular ‘90s first-person shooter character Duke Nukem. 2022 continues to be a strange year.
The Hollywood Reporter is, uh…reporting that Legendary Entertainment has licensed the Duke Nukem franchise’s film rights from Gearbox and is now planning to make a new movie with the character. According to the outlet, this new project will be produced by Cobra Kai creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg.
Jean-Julien Baronnet, who previously worked on the film adaptation of Assassin’s Creed, is also producing via Marla Studios, a company that specializes in video game adaptations.
3D Realms (known then as Apogee Software) launched the first game in the Duke Nukem series in 1991. However, it wasn’t until 1996, with the launch of the critically acclaimed Duke Nukem 3D, that the franchise became a household name. (Well, at least among nerdy households.) A lot of that popularity is down to how interactive Duke Nukem 3D was, full of then-innovative touches like working light switches, flushable toilets, and simulated mirrors. And sure, I guess some folks liked the main character, Duke Nukem, even if all of his famous catchphrases are just stolen from popular movie characters.
After 3D and some expansions, the brand went mostly dormant until 2011 when the long-awaited follow-up, Duke Nukem Forever, finally saw release. It sucked. And since then the future of Duke Nukem as a franchise has seemed…unlikely.
This isn’t the first time a Duke Nukem film has been in development. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Paramount was working on a Duke Nukem project starring John Cena for a few years. Imagine living in that timeline. While this project could also fail to happen, it stands a much better chance as Hollywood has become much more interested in pumping out movies and TV shows based on famous video games.
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Gearbox, when reached, had no additional comment.
No writer or director has yet been picked, or forced at gunpoint, to join the current project and bring life to Duke Nukem. That means we still have time. We can stop this.
I think there might be a way to make a funny, possibly even “good,” Duke Nukem film. It’d start with him being a washed-up loser who had one big moment saving the world back in the ‘90s and has been riding out that bit of fame for the past 30 years. But to find out the rest of that story you’ll need to hire me to write a spec script.