Rawson Marshall Thurber To Direct Movie Adaptation Of Sci-Fi Board Game 'Dust'

Lionsgate has acquired the big screen rights to Fantasy Flight Games' popular sci-fi strategy board and miniature game series Dust and announced that Rawson Marshall Thurber will be directing the movie adaptation for producer Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Sherlock Holmes).

I almost included this game in my list of board game movies that Hollywood should make next, but did not know enough about the game itself. I've never played it, but the art has always stood out to me. The story is set in an alternate history steampunk-themed version of the 1940s where World War II never ended and the world is divided into three sides: the Allies (the US, the Commonwealth, and the French colonies); the Axis (not led by Hitler); and the SSU, a union of the USSR and China. In this landscape the discovery of a new alien resource allows our scientists to create cool-looking combat mechs for this new battle.

Find out more about the Dust game movie adaptation after the jump.

dust tactics

The Dust game movie adaptation is currently seeking writers. Thurber seems like an odd choice for this property as he's mainly known as a director of broad comedy films like Dodgeball and We're The Millers. This seems more like a serious science fiction war story. The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story, notes:

Thurber is more fanboy than folks realize. For years he has been taking on assignments that have comic roots, such as an adaptation of comic book fantasy Elfquest for Warners and an adaptation of Gerard Way's superhero comic The Umbrella Academy for Universal and Dark Horse. Thurber came across Dust as a graphic novel when visiting Hollywood's Meltdown Comics, subsequently discovering the game and its world. He sought out Parente, optioned the game himself and began developing his own take on it.

Thurber says that the "World War Two mash-up" is all of his "nine year-old fantasies wrapped in one thing."

dust game minis

Italian fantasy illustrator Paolo Parente created the game, as well as a graphic novel in the same universe. The board game has spawned an entire franchise of different miniature games. It even has its own convention, Dust World Expo, held in Arizona.

If you want more information on the story behind the board game, here is the story primer from the tabletop game:

The Schwabenland ExpeditionIn the year 1938, the scientific ship Schwabenland, its German flag flapping in the fierce, cold wind, approached the remote Antarctic Circle on a secret mission. Even today, no one knows exactly what its original assignment was, but what it discovered dazed the entire world.And the World Was Not the Same...Returning to its homeland, the Schwabenland brought back the relics of an alien starship and a member of its crew... still alive! While the world continued to fall down its chasm of global conflict, a select team of scientists covertly studied the potential military applications of the Antarctic discovery. But their secret would not last long.Nuclear Stop, Alien TechAn underground war, parallel to the war in the open, was soon underway. Spies launched undercover operations, fighting to steal control and understanding of the alien technology. The brightest minds in the world pursued the new science, setting aside the research that might have led toatomic weapons.Before long, occultists and experts in ancient religions joined the scientists in their inquiries. These fringe thinkers came to believe that the new discoveries were somehow linked to the ancient tale of the "Vrill Kultur." But this mythic, supposedly advanced civilization had disappeared into the ancient past as nimbly as a deer in the woods.The VK MinesThe alien traveler soon shed more light on the theorists' studies. Vrill Kultur, they came to understand, was not a civilization, but a massively powerful energy source. "VK," which could be mined only at certain locations around the globe, was so rare and precious that the alien had braved interstellar travel to claim it.The New Weapons and the End of the CoalitionsBy the time the locations of the VK deposits were discovered, and mining had begun, scientists had devised a multitude of ways to put it to use on the battlefield. But the geographical distribution of the VK mines turned existing alliances and coalitions on their heads. The geopolitical balance of the entire planet stood on a knife edge.The Dawn of DustHistory has been re-written. Now, it's the dawn for a new era, with new strategies, new weapons, new armies. It's the dawn of Dust