Buck Rogers: Two Competing Projects In Development

Buck Rogers

by James White |
Published on

And then there were two. Hot on heels of news that Legendary and George Clooney's Smokehouse company are developing a new TV take on the Buck Rogers character, Skydance has announced a deal with the estate of Rogers' creator, Philip Francis Nowlan, to work on a film.

And there is a legal clash brewing between the family and Legendary, which is also working with producer Don Murphy to develop its take.

You see, the character of Anthony Rogers first appeared in Nowlan's 1929 novella, Armageddon 2419 A.D. The copyright on that particular work wasn’t renewed in the 1950s. As a result, anyone is free to adapt that story, most famously brought to life in the 1970s/80s TV series. The Nowlans, however, claim to hold the rights to the later comic book stories, which they claim is where the character became known as "Buck" Rogers and therefore their property. They've sent a cease and desist order to Legendary, citing their Skydance deal and ownership of the rights.

Legendary is, naturally, fighting back. "We have secured the rights we need to proceed with our project and the company will not comment any further on these baseless claims," a spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter. "This same party has been claiming for years that they have rights which they do not have and have been trying to inhibit projects based on rights they do not legally control." Legendary has Brian K. Vaughan on to write its show, while Skydance has not attached any creative people yet. How long before Twiki steps out of Buck's shadow and demands his own movie?

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