Ridley Scott's Return to Sci-Fi is Actually The Forever War
by Alex Billington
October 13, 2008
This news definitely came out of nowhere! The legendary Ridley Scott, known for saying "sci-fi films are as dead as westerns", is apparently back with not one, but two sci-fi projects. Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to Joe Haldeman's 1974 novel "The Forever War" and has Ridley Scott attached to direct. Scott's future has become one hell of a mess with this announcement and even I'm left scratching my head in confusion. Variety claims that this adaptation of "The Forever War" was meant to be Ridley's follow-up to Alien (in 1979) and Blade Runner (in 1982). For the last few months we've been reporting that an adaptation of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World would be his sci-fi return, but apparently we were wrong!
In a previous interview in June, Ridley revealed that he was planning to return to sci-fi. "I am going to do one. I waited for a book for 20 years and I have got the book." A few days later, the news hit about Huxley's Brave New World, and we put two-and-two together and thought Brave New World was the book he was talking about. But Variety now says "rights complications delayed his plans for more than two decades" surrounding "The Forever War." Which would make this the film he was talking about at that time. Does all that make any sense? This just goes to show how information can get quite convoluted, but according to Variety, Scott plans to direct "The Forever War" before he gets to "Brave New World."
"I first pursued 'Forever War' 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since," Scott told Variety. "It's a science-fiction epic, a bit of The Odyssey by way of Blade Runner, built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise." That premise that he speaks of revolves around a soldier who battles an enemy in deep space for only a few months, only to return home to a planet he doesn’t recognize some 20 years later. "Haldeman originally wrote this novel as an allegory of the Vietnam war, told through the eyes of a reluctant soldier caught up in a battle that never seemed to end, while the world he left behind changed drastically," says a reviewer on Amazon. Apparently the war he is fighting in lasts 700 years, while he only ages 10. Very interesting concept. No screenwriter for this adaptation has been announced yet.
Variety's listing of Ridley Scott's other upcoming projects includes a confirmation that Nottingham is still his next big directing gig. But they never mention Brave New World at all, which really makes me wonder whether or not that project will ever see the light of day (at least for quite a few years). We just wrote a recent update on it last week with some current quotes from Scott, which is why this is all a bit confusing. But if "The Forever War" is indeed his next sci-fi project, then I'm not concerned at all, because as beloved as Huxley's "Brave New World" is, I love the concept for "The Forever War" just a bit more. And no matter he chooses, I'm excited for Ridley Scott's return to science fiction anyway.