One of the many projects that Ridley Scott has had in development is based on Joe Haldeman‘s novel The Forever War.
This one has been in the works for a while, with David Webb Peoples (Blade Runner, Unforgiven, 12 Monkeys) writing a few drafts. But now Peoples has been supplanted by Dante Harper. This might actually be a good thing. Why? Because the book revolves around a soldier who is fighting a war against a distant alien race . The enemies are so far away, that soldiers sent out to fight may spend a year in transit and battle, but, due to the mechanics of faster than light travel, return home to an Earth that has aged decades. The time-displaced soldier re-enlists, and ends up spending centuries of Earth time at war in space.
It’s a great concept, and here’s where Harper comes in: he wrote the prime draft of All You Need is Kill, in which a soldier relives the same day of battle many times, and gradually improves his skills as he does so, like a video game player going through the same level over and over. The similarity is pretty evident, I think, and is likely part of the reason Harper is now penning a new draft. Read More »
Ridley Scott is planning to return to the science fiction genre for the first time since Blade Runner and Alien. Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to Joe Haldeman‘s 1974 novel The Forever War, which won both the 1975 Nebula Award and the 1976 Hugo Award.
The book tells the story of an interstellar war between humanity and the mysterious Tauran species, and deals with themes of the inhumanity of war and the results of time dilation space travel. The novel is also widely perceived to be based on the author’s military service during the Vietnam War. The plot description from the books cover follows:
“Private William Mandella is a hero in spite of himself — a reluctant conscript drafted into an elite military unit, and propelled through space and time to fight in a distant thousand-year conflict. He never wanted to go to war, but the leaders on Earth have drawn a line in the interstellar sand — despite the fact that their fierce alien enemy is unknowable, unconquerable, and very far away. So Mandella will perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through the military’s ranks . . . if he survives. But the true test of his mettle will come when he returns to Earth. Because of the time dilation caused by space travel the loyal soldier is aging months, while his home planet is aging centuries — and the difference will prove the saying: you never can go home. . .”
The war lasts about seven centuries while he only ages about 10 years. So imagine Flight of the Navigator to the 70th degree. The novel spawned two and a half sequels, Forever Free, Forever Peace and the novella A Seperate War (which is set parallel to Forever War). It is not known if Scott has intentions of creating a franchise, I would guess probably not.
It is also unclear when Scott will find time to tackle Forever War. I would assume that Scott will get Nottingham into production before a screenplay is completed. The concept of the book feels like a ig idea sci-fi film that would have been produced in the 1970’s. According to Variety, Scott has wanted to direct a big screen adaptation of Forever War for the last 25 years, but complications with rights holders delayed that from happening until now.
“I first pursued ‘Forever War’ 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since,” Scott told the trade. “It’s a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise.”