Ridley Scott has been trying to adapt Joe Haldeman’s stone-cold classic science fiction novel The Forever War for so long now (more than 25 years at this point) that the title is beginning to feel apt. But Scott is not giving up, and has hired writer DW Harper to take a crack at a fresh draft.
Harper has some science fiction form, since his most recent job was All You Need Is Kill, the new Tom Cruise pic currently shooting in London which, with its time-loop conceit, shares at least a tiny bit of DNA with Forever War's story. Harper was also on script duty for Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters, which arrives next year. Scott has had several writers attached to Forever War, but it appears Harper has been brought in as a new broom.
Haldeman’s book follows William Mandella, who is conscripted into the military following an attack on humanity’s colonies by the alien Taurans. He and his fellow recruits undergo a gruelling training regime on Earth and are then shipped off to fight via wormhole-like phenomena. When they eventually return to Earth, the time distortion means that decades or even centuries have passed at home and society has undergone massive changes, even though our heroes have experienced only a few months away - and each time they return, the world has changed beyond recognition from the Earth they signed up to fight.
It’s a compelling narrative with the potential to make an amazing movie and, as mentioned, a passion project for Scott. But given his ever-laden development plate, it’s anyone’s guess as to when we’ll see it. Still, Harper’s presence makes us hopeful that the director is finally putting this one into gear…