New 'Flash Gordon' Movie Coming From 'Overlord' Director

Say it with me now: Flash! A-ahhhhh! Savior of the universe!

You can't keep a science fiction icon down for too long and it's about time for Flash Gordon to return to theaters. Director Julius Avery, whose World War II-flavored horror movie Overlord hits theaters shortly, has signed on to direct a new big screen take on the pulp sci-fi hero.

Deadline reports that Avery pitched his take on the character to Paramount, who warmed to his idea and put him in charge. The Australian filmmaker steps in for Kick-Ass and Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn, who was going to helm this new version once upon a time (he is still on board as a producer).

This move suggests that Paramount wants to stay in the Julius Avery business, even as Overlord continues to look like something of a wild card at the box office. I caught the film at Fantastic Fest and dug it as a goofy, gooey B-movie made with a great deal of panache (others lauded it with enthusiastic raves), but I can't imagine mainstream audiences transforming it into a massive financial success. Let's call this Flash Gordon gig job security for the genuinely talented Avery.

Anyway, Flash Gordon began as a comic strip in 1934, following a young college athlete who journeys into space, encounters a strange cast of allies and enemies, and goes about saving the Earth on a regular basis. It has expanded over the decades into novels, comics, movies, television shows and more, even if the name "Flash Gordon" is probably more famous than the details of his actual adventures at this point.

Most recently, Flash Gordon was the subject of a short-lived Syfy television series, which ran for a single ill-fated season in 2007 and 2008. The show attempted to update the character for modern sensibilities, trading in charm and color and humor for a bunch of dire, tired plotting. I'm a much bigger fan of Mike Hodges' 1980 film, which is a cornball hoot powered by a genuinely fantastic Queen soundtrack.

I have no idea what Julius Avery told the head honchos at Paramount to land this job, but I hope it involved words like "swashbuckling" and "derring-do." The last thing the world needs is a bleak Flash Gordon movie. Embrace the character's inherent retro silliness and go big and wacky or go home! Overlord is just cheeky enough to suggest Avery has a movie like that in him.

Overlord hits theaters on November 9, 2018.