It's official - Publishers Weekly confirmed the rumors yesterday that Virgin Comics is, indeed, dead. Amongst the casualties of the cancelled comic line are Garth Ennis' Dan Dare, Grant Morrison's MBX web animation and, according to rumormeister Rich Johnston, Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits II. More than a decade after it was first suggested, is that last project cursed? We look at the evidence under the jump.Time Bandits II initially started as something for Gilliam to do after directing 12 Monkeys, with the two drafts of an initial script written during 1996, but both versions failed to find favor with studios. Gilliam himself seemed to lose interest in the project, moving onto the movie version of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, but when his directing career again went quiet, he went back to the idea of revisiting his 1981 classic — this time, as a TV show. In late 2001, Gilliam announced that Time Bandits was set to go again, as a series of TV movies on the Hallmark Channel:
Actually, we've written Time Bandits for television. Charles McKeown and I have just finished the story (pause, with trepidation), 'cause Hallmark has bought Time Bandits... I've agreed to be in creative control of this thing. So we wrote Time Bandits, these two, two-hour specials. Kevin is now in his middle-thirties and he's got a couple kids. And life has never been as exciting as it was then. And that's where it starts.
Hallmark confirmed the project the following year, describing it as a four-hour miniseries... and then nothing was heard of it ever again. Gilliam first talked about working with Virgin Comics in 2006, but Monday's Lying In The Gutters column from Johnston was the first mention of Time Bandits II being amongst the properties that he was working on for the publisher, just in time for the company to go under. So where do the Time Bandits go from here? There are probably numerous companies who would love to publish a Time Bandits II comic (Boom! Studios, IDW and Oni all spring to mind as potentials), but it all depends on whether Gilliam wants to try to bring the story back to life for a fourth time. Perhaps this was just an idea whose time never came.