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Duncan Jones Will Adapt ‘2000 AD’ Comic ‘Rogue Trooper’

The ‘Moon’ director will bring his unique sci-fi vision to the fan-favorite comic book character.
Rogue Trooper
By  · Published on July 18th, 2018

The ‘Moon’ director will bring his unique sci-fi vision to the fan-favorite comic book character.

If 2018 has shown us anything, it’s that comic book movies aren’t going away any time soon. From the box office conquering Marvel movies to smaller-scale, non-superhero adaptations, they continue to dominate the mainstream. And now setting his sights on the latter is Moon director Duncan Jones.

Jones revealed on Twitter, after teasing fans, that he will direct an adaptation of ”2000 AD” favorite, “Rogue Trooper.” The character of Rogue Trooper was created by Gerry Finley-Day and “Watchmen” artist Dave Gibbons. He first appeared in British comics in 1981 and has been a fan-favorite ever since.

The basic premise is that war has broken out between the Norts and the Southers on the planet Nu-Earth. These sides have World War II influences, with the Norts resembling the Axis Powers, and the Southers standing in for the Allies. Their long war has rendered the majority of Nu-Earth uninhabitable. Meaning that troops have to wear cumbersome chemsuits to survive the conditions on the planet.

Tired of the endless fighting, the Southers created the GI (Genetic Infantryman), soldiers able to withstand the toxic atmosphere of Nu-Earth, of which Rogue is one. After a daring attack goes wrong, Rogue sees the majority of his kind wiped out. Leading Rogue to go, well, rogue to bring down the Traitor General responsible for the failure of the mission. The character has gone through various updates and reboots, each with a different spin on the story.

This won’t be the first time an adaptation of Rogue Trooper has been attempted. Legendary comic writer Grant Morrison had previously been attached to the property in 2011. Morrison, a frequent writer for “2000 AD”, would have written the script for Sam Worthington’s Full Clip Productions. But that version never saw the light of day, likely due to the financial disappointment of Dredd (also based on a “2000 AD” character). Rebellion Developments also adapted Rogue Trooper’s story in a 2006 video game, the script for which was nominated for a BAFTA Award.

Jones has been a longtime fan of the material, and while such an enthusiasm may not have helped him on Warcraft, with Rogue Trooper there will likely be less studio pressure for the film to be a huge hit. And if his filmography tells us anything, it’s that Jones is more suited to sci-fi than fantasy or noir mystery. His first two films, Moon and Source Code demonstrate his ability to find the humanity in a sci-fi story. While that, unfortunately, didn’t carry over into this year’s Mute, there’s no doubting the director’s talents. And if he was unleashed on a bonkers story about a futuristic war with artificial soldiers? Now that sounds promising.

One thing that may cause concern here, however, is the financial failure of a number of non-superhero comic adaptations. Despite becoming cult favorites, the likes of Dredd and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World weren’t embraced by audiences in the same way as the Marvel movies. And although fans have tried their hardest to give the former a sequel, no such luck has been had.

There was a glimmer of hope in the Mega-City One series announced last year. But despite the initial buzz, news on the series is nowhere to be seen. The announcement of Rogue Trooper may just be the boost the show needs, though. If Jones’ involvement can drum up enough excitement for “2000 AD” properties, it could help push Mega-City One along. And may even lead to a Dredd sequel (wishful thinking, I know).

We live in a world where superhero movies dominate the box office. And there is no better time to highlight the “2000 AD” characters. To show what can be done in comic books and their adaptations, outside of superhero stories. And despite some unfortunate failures in the past, Rogue Trooper could lead the way for many “2000 AD” movies to come.

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