Click to viewA classic Twilight Zone episode written by Richard (I Am Legend) Matheson is getting a big-screen update called Countdown. The original episode, "Death Ship," is about three astronauts who arrive on an alien planet, only to find their own dead bodies, in a crashed version of their own ship. The movie version will be written and directed by Michael Brandt, co-writer of 3:10 To Yuma and the upcoming Wanted. Details (and spoilers) below.

Says Brandt:

Countdown is fantastic because it wraps the themes of fate and predestination in a movie that is really a giant puzzle (that will also) be fun for the audience to piece together... The updates that are successful - not just of this but of any of the great 1950s Sci-Fi concepts - are those that take the idea and bring a modern sensibility to it. When it misses sometimes, it's because people get caught up in the story from start to finish.


"Death Ship" was a short story by Matheson before he adapted it into a TV episode. In the famous TV version, after the astronauts discover their own wrecked ship and corpses, they reason that they've jumped forward in time and all they have to do is change their actions to avoid this fate. (Which could be the "predestination" stuff Brandt is talking about.) But there's also a lot of other stuff, including the astronauts seeing visions of their dead friends, and it's hinted that they may actually be dead already, and just seeing weird afterlife visions. The whole episode is up on YouTube.[SciFiNow]