saga movie

Tessa Thompson is the brightest spot in Thor: Ragnarok, a movie that feels like it’s composed of nothing but bright spots. But the star of Creed, Westworld, and Dear White People has another comic on her mind: Saga. The actress revealed herself to be a fan of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples‘ brilliant adults-only space opera on social media, opening up a vortex of people saying “Tessa Thompson should star in a Saga movie!”

Unfortunately, you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up. A Saga movie is unlikely to come around anytime soon.

It all started when a fan noted that Thomspon, who steals Thor: Ragnarok out from under her co-stars as Valkyrie, would make a perfect Alana in a hypothetical Saga adaptation. Thompson promptly responded, revealing herself to be a fan of the Image comics series and agreeing that yes, she would make a great Alana.

And allow me to agree with everyone: yes, if a Saga movie ever got made, Thompson would be killer casting as Alana, a soldier who falls in love with a warrior from the moon that has been warring with her people for years, spawning a baby and a universe-spanning adventure that is full of sex and violence and and bounty hunters and drugs and magic and robots and awesome cats who can detect when people are lying.

Saga has published 48 issues since 2012 and it’s been my favorite comic on the market since issue one. Sexy, clever, exciting, and unafraid to shatter the status quo, it’s a genuine epic that’s unafraid of punching you in the gut. It’s beautiful. And beautifully ugly. It has space battles and it has graphic childbirth scenes. It is irreverent but also inclusive. It is hilarious and it is heartbreaking. It features this cover (shared by Thompson!), which was my cell phone wallpaper for a long, long time:

So consider this my recommendation to go read Saga. It is daring and wonderful and the first volume will cost you only $10. You should read it because it’s great. And you should read it because a movie probably won’t happen anytime soon.

But Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

Let’s start with the obvious: Saga is such a huge story and takes place in such outlandish and fantastical worlds that it would be prohibitively expensive to produce. And that’s before you get to the characters who could only be brought to life through visual effects. And the extreme violence. And the full-frontal nudity. And the harsh language. No TV network could afford to make this. No movie studio would invest $250 million into an R-rated space fantasy.

Plus, writer Brian K. Vaughan has had his fair share of bad experiences in Hollywood. While he wrote for Lost and served as showrunner on Under the Dome, he’s wary about his work being adapted. In an interview with Comics Alliance back when the first issue of Saga arrived, Vaughan noted that he and Staples have complete and total control over the comic, including “the right to never have our comic turned into a movie or television show.” Here’s the full quote:

I love all the other companies I’ve worked with, but I think Image might be the only publisher left that can still offer a contract I would consider “fully creator-owned.” Saga is a really important story to me, so I wanted a guarantee of no content restrictions or other creative interference, and I needed to maintain 100% control and ownership of all non-publishing rights with the artist, including the right to never have our comic turned into a movie or television show or whatever.

Vaughan’s tone softened a few years later when he noted that he simply didn’t think there was a feasible way to make Saga work as anything other than a comic (although he noted that he’d happily hand the rights over to Paul Thomas Anderson):

Fiona and I get option offers all the time, but I don’t think the technology or financial model exists yet to realistically make Saga work as either a television series or a feature. I’m certainly open to being proven wrong though, especially if Paul Thomas Anderson is looking to adapt a pervy space fantasy for his next project. For now, I like comics way more than film and TV, so I’m happy for Saga to remain nothing but a lowly funny book.

And earlier this year, Vaughan admitted that he and Staples have come around on the idea of a potential adaptation, but added that it would have to be after they’ve finished the comic and reached a definitive ending:

Maybe when the story is finished? I think Fiona and I are both open to Saga possibly being translated into another medium someday, and we’ve gotten a lot of very flattering offers, but for the moment, we’re just concentrating on trying to make the greatest comic book we can.

Since both writer and artist say that they plan to work on Saga for a long time yet, don’t count on a movie anytime soon. And that’s okay. Not everything needs a movie or TV adaptation. Saga is practically perfect in every way as it is.

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