Hollywood has already dipped into its sci-fi vault for 21st century remakes of "The War of the Worlds," "Planet of the Apes" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still," so what's next on the revival list? Plenty. Here's an alphabetical list of a dozen projects at various stages in the studio pipeline:
Breck Eisner, the director of "Sahara" and son of former Disney chief Michael Eisner, will direct a screenplay -- retelling the story of an Amazon River expedition that crosses paths with a prehistoric amphibian humanoid -- written by filmmaker Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit"). The presence of Ross gives the 2009 release a link to the original 1954 film -- that Universal classic was written by his father, Arthur A. Ross. Bill Paxton's name has come up as one of the rumored cast members.
Actor and director Peter Berg ("Hancock," "The Kingdom") has stepped up to wrestle with an adaptation of the late Frank Herbert's grand intergalactic novel "Dune." The plan is to have it in theaters in 2010, the 45th anniversary of the novel that became the bestselling science-fiction novel title ever. David Lynch famously attempted to bring the story of cosmic spice wars to the screen in 1984 (with a huge cast that included Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Max von Sydow and Virgina Madsen), but the final product left most viewers cold and confused, and the "Blue Velvet" autuer himself later said he regretted the project.
'The Creature From the Black Lagoon'
It's been 55 years since the publication of Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel about Guy Montag, a "fireman," a term for state-employed book burners of the future. Francois Truffaut brought the story to the silver screen in 1966, and there have been numerous efforts over the past decade to cook up a remake, with Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt among the stars who have flirted with the Montag role at different points. Writer-director Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile," "The Shawshank Redemption") is on the job now with a planned 2010 release even though his announced star, Tom Hanks, dropped out of the project in March.
After the "Black Lagoon" remake, director Eisner is planning to revive Flash Gordon for Columbia. Alex Raymond's classic space hero, originally created as a comic strip rival to Buck Rogers, celebrates his 75th anniversary in pop culture next month, but it's not clear his retro appeal holds. Earlier this year, SciFi canceled its "Flash Gordon" series, which had ratings that proved that Ming isn't the only one who is merciless.
Producer Joel Silver ("The Matrix" films) is behind a planned revival of this 1956 classic that gave a sci-fi twist to Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and starred Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen (long before his career tilted toward comedy). It also introduced the world to Robbie the Robot, a machine man who would show up in film and television for decades. At one point James Cameron ("Titanic," "Aliens") had flirted with a "Forbidden" remake, but right now it's not clear who will be directing. In October, it was announced that screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski ("Changeling") is on board.
Mary Shelley's classic tale of science gone awry has given Hollywood shambling visions of cemetery horror for decades, among them Boris Karloff's iconic 1930s performances and Robert De Niro's very different take in the 1994 Kenneth Branagh remake. Next up? Guillermo del Toro says that after he finishes the two-film version of "The Hobbit" he will turn his attention to the gothic morality tale and that actor Doug Jones (Abe Sapien in "Hellboy") might play the patchwork man. This one is still a long way off; "The Hobbit" films are due to theaters in 2010 and 2011. Del Toro has also talked about making a "Slaughterhouse-Five" remake.
There's talk of making a third installment in the hugely successful sci-fi comedy franchise and bringing back the original crew -- Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson -- as well as some new-blood, second-generation busters. Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, writers for "The Office," are at work on the script for Columbia Pictures and Murray, in the past the most reluctant to return to the franchise, has said publicly that he's open to the idea. There was talk of Seth Rogen being a likely cast addition, but don't bother calling him: "It sounds," he said in October, "like the worst idea ever."
'The Illustrated Man'