George Clooney is gearing up to head to the 25th century for Legendary’s Buck Rogers TV series reboot. It was announced last December that Brian K. Vaughan. The writer of comic books like Y: The Last Man and Saga, was handling the script. And now Clooney is on board to executive produce and likely star in the series. Legendary is hoping to launch an entire media franchise built around Buck Rogers, a character who first appeared in the 1928 novella Armageddon 2419 A.D. and then went on to feature in a radio show, a film serial, a television series, and more.
Back in October 2020, it was reported that Legendary Pictures and producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford were hoping to revive classic pulp hero Buck Rogers via a film, “a prestige television series as well as an anime series, giving audiences a 360-look at heroics sets in the 25th century.” In December of that year, word came that Brian K. Vaughn had been tapped to write the script for the TV series. Now, that TV series has some major star power, as The Wrap is reporting that George Clooney will executive produce and star.
There’s no indication of where the show might end up, at least not yet. Legendary used to have a TV deal with Warner Bros. So there’s always a chance something like this could end up somewhere like HBO Max. Or it could go to streaming, like Netflix – which recently released Clooney’s film The Midnight Sky. In any case, Clooney will executive producer alongside frequent collaborator Grant Heslov via their Smokehouse banner.
Buck Rogers was created by Philip Francis Nowlan in a novella that first appeared in the Amazing Stories pulp magazine in 1928. In the original story, Buck Rogers was a U.S. Air Force pilot who awoke from a 500-year sleep, Rip Van Winkle-style, to find a very changed world. After the pulp story came a comic strip, a radio show, a film serial, and a TV series. The TV series came about after the pilot for the show was released into theaters in 1979 and became a box office hit.
Since then there have been various attempts to bring Buck Rogers back to the big screen. At one point, comic book writer and artist Frank Miller was attached to helm. But after Miller’s first solo directorial effort, The Spirit, flopped hard, his Buck Rogers movie quietly went away. By 2015, Don Murphy got involved and announced plans to produce a feature, but legal battles over copyright claims kept things tied up in litigation. But by 2020, things looked clear, and Murphy was still on board as a producer along with Susan Montford, Flint Dille, and Legendary Entertainment.
Clooney is obviously no stranger to TV – he got his start in the medium. And it was the series ER that truly launched him to fame. That said, it’s interesting to see him return to TV at this stage of his career. Clooney certainly has that square-jawed pulp hero charisma about him, so he’s bound to have some fun with this role.