With the liberally revamped version of The Day The Earth Stood Still opening next month, it seemed weird that J. Michael Straczynski was rumored to be writing a retro Forbidden Planet movie that kept the peachy keen 1950s look of the original intact. And now it turns out the rumors were wrong — Straczynski piped up on a Usenet group to say the new movie won't be a continuation of the original, and it won't look like some kind of 1950s pastiche. So how will he pay tribute to the original? The rumor had said JMS' new script was a "continuation" of the 1956 original, in which Altair 6 somehow doesn't blow up after all. Writes Babylon 5 creator JMS:
That report is totally incorrect. It's not going to be retro, and it's not going to be a continuation. When Altair 4 blows up, it blows up. I have, however, found a way to honro (sic) the original movie without in any way besmirching it in order to do this iteration. Once folks find out what we're actually going to do, I think they'll be most pleased. Forbidden Planet remains one of my favorite films of all time, and I wouldn't even think about doing this project if I didn't think there was a way to do it that would not in any way diminish the original...which is why this is the the first development in years to actually get to the script stage. Everybody involved is very excited by the approach.
Sounds as though it's more a remake than a continuation, although all this talk of a new approach also makes me wonder if JMS is playing into the new fad for remakes that are also quasi-sequels, sort of the way the recent Hulk movie half-acknowledged, half-supplanted the original. Or the way the Tin Man miniseries hinted that its Dorothy had had a great-grandmother who also visited Oz. The big question, though, is will we have a retro Robby the Robot? It's probably not up to JMS, since it's a design decision, and it probably depends how well Earth Stood Still, with its retro-looking Gort, does. Of course, if Earth Stood Still does really badly, this may be the last we hear of a new Forbidden Planet anyway. [JMS News]