A King Kong Series Is In The Works At Disney+, From James Wan's Atomic Monster And Disney Branded Television

A new spin on an old classic is in the works at Disney+. According to Variety, the streamer is in the process of developing a live-action King Kong series. While differing rights to "King Kong" stories have resulted in several on-screen versions over the years, including the Legendary-Warner Bros. MonsterVerse saga, the latest iteration is going back to the source material. It will reportedly be based on the original story by Merian C. Cooper, plus more modern "King Kong" novelizations by Joe DeVito, which were made in conjunction with Cooper's estate.

Most interestingly, the new project already has some great talent on board behind the camera. Horror director James Wan ("Insidious," "The Conjuring") will executive produce through his company Atomic Monster, with Michael Clear and Rob Hackett also on board as EPs. The show will be written and executive produced by Stephany Folsom, who recently developed the '80s teen sci-fi comics "Paper Girls" for Prime Video. Folsom is also a producer on "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," and co-wrote "Toy Story 4." Disney Branded Television will produce as well.

Disney's doing the Kong origin story

Don't expect much swinging from skyscrapers in this version of the Kong story, as Variety reports that the serialized drama will be more focused on the giant ape's origins on Skull Island. DeVito, whose works will be adapted for the show, created and illustrated a novel called "Kong: King of Skull Island" for Dark Horse Comics in 2005, with Brad Strickland also credited as a writer. Though Variety doesn't explicitly state which of DeVito's novelizations will guide the new series, Dark Horse's official synopsis for "Kong: King of Skull Island" is as follows:

In 1933, American showman Carl Denham returned from a mysterious, hidden island with a priceless treasure. A treasure not gold or jewels, but the island's barbaric god, a monstrous anthropoid called "Kong." The savage giant escaped and wreaked havoc among the man-made canyons of Manhattan, but within hours of the giant ape's death his body — and Carl Denham — disappeared. Twenty-five years later, the son of Carl Denham makes a shocking discovery that leads him back to the site of his father's greatest adventure and to the answers that will unlock the century's greatest mystery and history's greatest miracle.

The rights to "King Kong" have long since been notoriously complicated. As of the most recent reporting by ComicBook.com, the rights to the 1933 movie still belong to Warner Bros., which is producer Wan's typical studio of choice. The Merian C. Cooper Estate, meanwhile, owns the rights to the book and publishing rights for the story, and DeVito's works have been created with official authorization from the Cooper estate. The new Disney+ version of "King Kong" does not yet have a release date.