In 2011, before shooting his new movie Flight, which is playing film festivals now, Robert Zemeckis started considering a new film with Tom Hanks. Major Matt Mason is co-written by Hanks and Graham Yost, and is called “a live-action family film about space adventure.”

We haven’t heard much about the project since then, but now with Zemeckis bringing Flight into theaters, Hanks is talking about the space-bound movie once again. Looks like the project may actually go ahead, with independent financing as the financial fuel.

In a way, this sounds like the family companion to Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Hanks, who says he started “tinkering” with the idea of a story inspired by the 1966 astronaut toy after doing Larry Crowne, explained that the film is set on the moon, with a group of characters inhabiting a space station there. He detailed,

There’s no bad guys. There are no aliens. Nothing like that. It’s just, can you survive?

The Wrap says the film — once called a $100m+ project and possibly still in that range — is now set to go forward with independent financing. But Universal has domestic distribution rights, as other distribution is being shopped to different buyers as the American Film Market approaches.

An old web archive of Matt Mason material provides a lot of info on the character, which was created prior to actual moon landings. All of Matt Mason’s gear was originally based on NASA concepts, but eventually other more “sci-fi” stuff started to creep in, such as exotic weapons and even an alien friend for Mason. The image above shows Mason’s core crew, which was part of the big wave of toy line expansion after Mason’s solo debut. Those characters may be the basis for some of Hanks and Yost’s script.

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