'Taken 3' Director Olivier Megaton To Helm "Sci-Fi Spartacus" Film 'The Champion'

Whether you've seen the Stanley Kubrick classic or Starz's (shockingly good) television series, or have just cracked a history book or two in your day, you're probably familiar with the basics of the Spartacus story: gladiator defies Roman empire, leads a massive rebellion, etc. The details always get fudged around, but the basic beats tend to remain consistent.

And it's easy to imagine the basic shape of this story remaining intact as it makes a transition to science fiction, because Taken 2 and Taken 3 director Olivier Megaton is making that movie. In space, no one can hear you scream "I am Spartacus!"

Unfortunately, this film isn't titled Space Spartacus or Spartacus in Space! or anything that gloriously stupid. In fact, it's not even clear if this movie is actually set in space or just the future. It's called The Champion and The Hollywood Reporter has this description of the film's plot:

Champion tells of a man falsely imprisoned for an act of terrorism who must battle through the prison's gladiator program to regain his freedom.

Although Spartacus is the obvious touchstone here, there's also a little bit of Death Race and The Running Man sprinkled in there. After all, "Sci-Fi Dystopian Prison That Hosts Fights to the Death Amongst Prisoners Hoping For a Chance at Redemption" could have its own shelf at your local video store, if local video stores still existed.

The Champion was written by Hal Ozsan, who is best known for his work as an actor, appearing on television shows like Dawson's Creek, Blacklist, and Graceland. Megaton is best known for making slick European-flavored action movies with high counts. In addition to the Taken sequels, he was also responsible for The Transporter 2 and Colombiana. No studio is attached yet, but Endurance Media and producer Steve Richards are currently pushing the project forward.

Sure, The Champion sounds silly, but it also sounds like it could be the right kind of silly. Science fiction re-skins of already proven concepts and storylines have been around for decades, so it's hard to imagine anyone actually having a serious problem with someone placing the "wrongfully imprisoned gladiator fights for his freedom" movie into the future. Go nuts. Make it big, loud, and silly. Make it at least a little smart, if you can. I've yet to truly love any of Megaton's movies, but a preposterous future prison battle royale sounds exactly like the kind of movie that would play to his strengths.

The Champion is eyeing an early 2017 start date.