Development Deal: Rogue Trooper
If there’s one thing that a quick look at the current state of television and movies will tell you, it’s that there’s not much need for original ideas when there’s so much out there ready and waiting to be adapted, updated or just outright ripped off. That’s why we’ve decided to help in that process with a series which offers up some of the things we’d like to see being brought to big screen or small. This week’s suggestion? Rogue Trooper.
What Is It?
A long running strip – It first appeared in 1981 – from the British anthology comic 2000AD, Rogue Trooper was created by British comic veteran Gerry Finley-Day and future Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons as a sci-fi twist on familiar war story tropes. The eponymous lead character, who remains nameless (but often referred to as “Rogue” by other characters), is a blue-skinned soldier “manufactured” for war who turns his back on the seemingly endless fighting between the Norts and the Southers, to search for the “Traitor General” responsible for killing his fellow genetic infantrymen in the “Quartz Zone Massacre.” He’s accompanied by three former comrades, who live on in talking “biochips,” technology that allow them to control Rogue’s equipment and assist him in his search.
What Could It Be?
Just imagine for a second that this September’s Dredd movie is enough of a hit that movie studios turn to 2000AD as the latest source of intellectual property. What they’ll find when they look is a treasure trove of material that’s almost ready-made for translation into mainstream audience-friendly blockbusters, with Rogue Trooper leading the charge. A large part of the reason that 2000AD material is so ideally placed to be brought into other media is that a lot of it started in other media; at least for the earliest strips in the 1970s comic, there was a more than healthy portion of just lifting the high concept of whatever seemed popular at the time and then essentially sticking either “in space” or “in the future” on there and hoping no-one would care (They didn’t). Rogue is firmly in this camp, stealing shamelessly from the American Civil War (The Norts versus the Southers? I mean, come on) and gleefully running with the archetype of the lone soldier rejecting war and launching himself on a more important mission… Not to mention a man haunted by the ghosts of dead friends, even if, in this case, they’re virtual ghosts who possess his luggage.
Imagine a Rogue Trooper movie with a director who understands the appeal of the classic war movies of the past as well as they do the special effects logic of today’s mainstream movies; something that doesn’t pride itself on its visual slickness or number of quote-ready quips, but plays the concept straight and suitably grim. Maybe grab Neill Blomkamp, once Elysium is done, in fact. The idea of “future war” is one familiar to most, thanks to video games like Halo, but marry that to a strong narrative and the kind of visual stylings that Prometheus displayed, and I suspect that there’s a winner of a movie in there. Here’s hoping that Dredd makes some people go hunting for other characters from the House of Tharg.