Paramount Has A Top Secret H.G. Wells Adaptation In The Works

No Mount Rushmore of legendary sci-fi writers would ever be complete with H.G. Wells somewhere on there, likely head and shoulders with Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and Mary Shelley. (Note: this is not a reflection of their moral attributes given that, much like the actual members of Mount Rushmore, not all of these historical figures were without some glaring flaws!) So when a studio has access to such a prolific author's works, well, they'd better have plans to come up with some really ingenious and exciting adaptations to match the original stories themselves. That hasn't always turned out to be the case, unfortunately, as misfires like 1996's "The Island of Doctor Moreau" or "The Time Machine" in 2002 emphatically prove. But for as many botched adaptations as there have been over the years, we can readily point to examples when incredibly capable directors took Wells' classic stories, modernized them in unexpected ways, and delivered powerful adaptations that are every bit as worthy as the author's own works — that's right, I'm looking at you, 2005's "War of the Worlds" and 2020's "The Invisible Man."

In any case, it certainly seems like we're in for yet another story based on H.G. Wells' writing. That's the news according to Deadline, which reports that Paramount Pictures is currently in the earliest stages of development on an apparently secret H.G. Wells production. It's so secret, in fact, that the actual name of the novel the project revolves around is being kept close to the chest. No director has yet been attached, but the script will be written by screenwriter Laura Gillis, having taken over a previous draft by T.S. Nowlin ("Pacific Rim: Uprising," "The Adam Project"). Since there's nothing quite like recklessly speculating over news with very few concrete details revealed at this point, please join me as I do exactly that below!

Guessing games

Intriguingly, one detail we do know about this mystery H.G. Wells project thus far is that it will be "a very loose adaptation stemming from the 'mythology' that surrounds one of the writer's most iconic titles." With the idea of a direct and completely faithful adaptation seemingly thrown out the window, this certainly opens up the door to a wide-ranging selection of any of the author's works. We can likely rule out another incarnation of "The Invisible Man" due to how recently we received the latest version of the story, even if director Leigh Whannell showed exactly why the horror story still remains perfectly relevant to this day — just from a slightly different perspective. Similarly, Steven Spielberg would seem to have delivered the definitive modern take on "War of the Worlds," taking the alien invasion story and filtering it through the lens of a post-9/11 worldview. /Film's Chris Evangelista has written extensively about the power of Spielberg's messy, but hard-hitting adaptation of the material continues to be ... but, at the same time, we've also just received another recent adaptation of the story, as well.

So which H.G. Wells story does that leave us? By process of elimination and based on the telltale hint of a rich "mythology" to work from, we'd have to guess it has something to do with "The Time Machine" — perhaps 20 years is long enough to wash away the stink of the previous adaptation. Fascinatingly enough, a different take on the harrowing story (which, fun fact, actually coined the term "time machine" in the first place, the more you know!) was reported to be in the works as recently as a few years ago, though we've heard little else about it since. The premise and world-building could surely support a more off-the-wall approach to the material, so perhaps this could have found a way to live on in another form with Paramount years later. After all, the very idea of a time traveler encountering a vastly different society hundreds of thousands of years in the future is absolutely teeming with potential.

We'll keep an eye on this story as it develops.