Warner Bros. has announced its plans to remake Outland, the space western that starred Sean Connery as a federal marshal investigating the mysterious deaths of miners on Io. But this so-called remake plans to change most elements of the original.
The announcement from Warner is upfront about the changes between the original film and the planned remake, which will be scripted by Chad St. John and directed by Shoot 'Em Up director Michael Davis:
The new take expands the concept, making it tentpole-sized, while keeping the original's theme. The story takes place in an orbiting city around the moon, where a cop uncovers a murderous conspiracy endangering the entire city. With a week before his retirement back to Earth, our hero has to choose between walking away with his wife, or taking on a private army with his overachieving ex-partner and wife's former boyfriend.
So the bottom line seems to be that the new film will take the original Outland's base concept of a law enforcement agent investigating deaths in a space frontier city that are being caused by a private interest, while stripping it of the elements that made Outland unique. Since this takes place in an orbital city rather than on a moon or planet, it's unlikely we'll see miners and their performance-enhancing drugs as a plot element. And moving the action from Io to the moon lessens the sense of isolation that gave the original a Western feel. It sounds more like the new Outland will be less a remake than an Outland-inspired film that is using the Outland brand as a way to either attract audiences or ease the fears of film executives who fear new stories don't have selling power.