Update: Well, we promised to keep you up to date with developments and here's the first... 20th Century Fox has now made a deal for the rights to make the new Flash, with Payne and McKay indeed on board to write the script.
What do you mean, "Flash Gordon approaching?" Well, after some years of varying development hells, and a short-lived Sci-Fi Channel TV series in 2008, it looks as if the pulp space hero is in the initial stages of a journey back to the big screen. Their source is unclear, but the impetuous boys (and girl) at Film Divider believe that JD Payne and Patrick McKay, currently at work on the third modern Star Trek film, are also writing an ambitious new Flash Gordon adventure.
Flash Gordon made his debut in newspaper comic strips drawn by Alex Raymond in the 1930s, and was initially conceived explicitly as competition for the then very popular Buck Rogers. Gordon was a polo-playing Yale graduate who, with companions Dale Arden and Dr Hans Zarkov, initially headed into space to find the source of some meteors bombarding Earth. Their first encounter with Ming The Merciless - the alien gitface behind the meteors - would not be their last, and their continuing adventures on the planet Mongo would see them also encountering hawk-man Prince Vultan and the rulers of various jungle, ice and undersea kingdoms.
Gordon was immediately picked up for three Saturday morning film serials starring Buster Crabbe (also briefly Buck Rogers and Tarzan) between 1936 and 1940. Slightly more recently and perhaps most famously, of course, there was the 1980 movie camp-fest with the mad Queen soundtrack, starring Sam J. Jones as Gordon, Max Von Sydow as Ming, and a particularly mental Brian Blessed as Vultan.
Payne and McKay's connection to JJ Abrams' Bad Robot includes adapting the novel Boilerplate as well as their work on the Star Trek threequel, but whether Flash has a home there, or elsewhere, or is merely a spec script the pair have developed on their own is unclear at the moment. They also have action scripts Goliath and Deadliest Warrior floating in development at, respectively, Temple Hill and Paramount.
Their take on Flash Gordon is apparently (predictably) to rescue him from his current reputation as something stupid but much loved (see Sam Jones' recent turn in Ted), and restore his reputation as a more serious adventurer. He is, after all, the metallist man alive, come to save us all, with his constant thrash. Oh no, wait, that's Thrash Gordon. That's someone else.
The world didn't seem quite ready for John Carter. Are we up for a new Flash Gordon? Give us your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll let you know when and if this story develops further.