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DUNCAN JONES GOES ROGUE!

by Gavin Johnston on July 18, 2018



Last weekend saw "Moon" and "Source Code" director Duncan Jones end weeks of speculation, tweeting a video teaser of his next project. As the camera drifts through the director’s workspace, he sits at his desk, dreaming of making a comic book movie. He mentions his love of British comic 2000AD and its wide cast of characters, and the great potential they hold...then he removes his hat to reveal an iconic mohawk. The name is left unspoken, but to fans it was clear.

 

Rogue Trooper.

 

First appearing in the pages of 2000AD in 1981, Rogue Trooper was originally written by Gerry Findlay-Day and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. ‘ the tale of Genetically engineered Infantrymen, “GIs”, fighting an unending war. Super-soldiers whose minds and memories are held digitally on transferable “biochips”, and whose blue-skinned bodies have been created with the sole purpose of surviving the brutal planet of Nu-Earth, tainted by chemical and biological weapons, where the war between the Norts and Southers never ends.

 

When the treachery of a senior officer kills his brothers in arms, sole survivor “Rogu sets off on a mission of revenge, uploading the biochips of his three lost friends into his battlefield equipment, to help him along the way.

 

It’s a war story, where soldiers are bred only for battle, and where even death is no release.

 

Rogue Trooper has been a fan favourite since its first appearance, and a movie has long since been a possibility. Grant Morrison, himself a former 2000AD writer, produced a script several years ago for Full Clip Productions, but production never came to pass. Rebellion have announced that Duncan Jones will be writing and directing the planned movie

 

 

Jones’ Rogue Trooper will have several resources to draw from. Although the original story was brutally simple, it has seen several reboots and developments along the way. An unwelcomed reboot in the ‘90s replaced the original Rogue with a different GI named Friday. More recently, 2000AD has seen the story retold from the villain’s point of view in Hunted, by Gordon Rennie and with art from PJ Holden. The politics and culture of the Norts was examined in the ongoing Jaegir series. We’ve also had Venus Bluegenes, a female GI who fronted her own stories for a brief period, as well as Tor Cyan and the 86ers, which looked at the same war through different characters.

When the movie Dredd was released in 2012, it was into a world where comic book movies still meant family friendly all-American superheroes. Dredd’s financial backers were cautious, unsure of how to market a comic book movie for adults, whilst battling against the memory of the earier Stallone-debacle.

 

Post-Deadpool, it became clear that the market exists, and 2000AD publishers Rebellion are eager to exploit it. They’re not just a comic book publisher. Originally a video game developer, they moved into comics and book publishing in 2000. They’ve produced Dredd and Rogue Trooper themed video games, and are currently working on a Dredd spin-off television drama. Only a few months ago, they publicly announced that they were willing to offer third parties to rights to use 2000AD characters, if they were approached with interesting ideas.

 

2000AD has forty years and 2090 issues of unique worlds and characters to exploit. Jones’ initial teaser might have been aimed at fans, but having a respected director front a project like Rogue Trooper can only encourage others to dip into the 2000AD toy box.

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