Sylvester Stallone is no stranger to comic book adaptations, having played the titular Judge Dredd and now joining the MCU with a cameo in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. (Demolition Man, however, was the reverse. Its limited comic run was based on the movie.) Now Splash Report says Stallone is Fox’s “top pick in mind to play the aging intergalactic hero Duke McQueen” in the adaptation of Mark Millar‘s Starlight.
The story follows a retired Buck Rogers-style space hero, who is now a widower whose children have long since left the nest. Forty years before, he saved the universe, but when he returns to Earth expecting a hero’s welcome, people don’t know who he is or realize he’s accomplished anything. He becomes a mechanic, gets married, has kids, lives a quiet life, and doesn’t talk about his universe-saving past (because, as Mark Millar told IGN, he’s “embarrassed because nobody believes him”). Then, after forty years of obscurity, a spaceship lands in his yard, and the aliens inside beg him to save them again.
Fox beat several studios in a bidding war for the rights back in 2013, with the X-Men franchise’s Simon Kinberg producing, and the project added Rogue One co-writer Gary Whitta as screenwriter the following year. Whitta told /film last year that the story is “about the importance of family, about what it means to grow old, and it has at the heart of it a protagonist that is so much more human and vulnerable than the typical two-dimensional space adventure hero.”
Millar has described the story as “Unforgiven meets Flash Gordon“, and when asked by IGN if Arnold Schwarzenegger was a candidate for the role, his answer does make it sound like Stallone would be an obvious choice:
The idea is that it’s someone who was a sci-fi hero a generation ago, and Arnie was the sci-fi hero a generation ago. But I think it needs to be someone more all-American. I think there’s got to be a Buzz Lightyear vibe to him — somebody who feels almost like an astronaut. […] I don’t know if there’s a guy who represents the best of America a generation-and-a-half ago.
Are you trying to get Rocky? Because that’s how you get Rocky.