One of space opera's greatest rogues is getting his own movie at last

Alexandre Aja's Piranha 3-D comes out today, but he's already planning his next project: the roguish Space Pirate Cobra. A precursor of Han Solo and Mal Reynolds, the anime character became huge in Europe, but now he's coming for us.

I hadn't heard of Space Pirate Cobra (also translated as Cobra the Space Pirate) until the other day, coincidentally, when I was working on our list of science fiction's craftiest smugglers and Cobra's name came up. As with a lot of manga/anime characters, Cobra seems to have a lot of different storylines, including one where he gets his mind erased so he'll forget he's a space pirate, and tries to live a normal life. The main thing about Cobra seems to be, he's got shaggy sideburns, his mouth never lacks for an unlit cigar, and scantily clad women throw themselves at him constantly. In other words, he's old school.

According to Deadline's report the other day, Aja wants to turn Cobra into a huge tentpole action film, and he's co-writing the script with Gregory Levasseur. The duo will also produce the film, along with Marc Sessego and Alexandra Milchan. Aja has a solid track record as a horror director, but wants to branch into big science fiction/fantasy action-adventure. He's been trying to get the blessing of creator Buichi Terasawa for years to make a big live-action adaptation, and has finally snagged it.

Here's the synopsis of Aja's film, according to Deadline:

In a future where merchant spaceships and ruthless brigands sail across space, Cobra is a notorious rogue pirate whose refusal to align with the United Galaxies Federation or the Pirates Guild puts him on the business end of a huge bounty. As he tries to keep his identity secret and avoid capture, Cobra teams up with a sexy bounty hunter named Jane, who is out to locate her sisters and decode a treasure map tattooed on their backs. Their goal: to liberate a lost treasure on Mars.

And Aja wants to hire creature designers who've worked on Star Trek and Avatar (presumably referring to Neville Page, Wayne Barlowe, Yuri Bartoli, et al.) to work on Cobra.

Considering how little fun, exciting space opera there is nowadays, if this movie lives up to even half of its potential, it could be pretty amazing. Let's hope Aja gets the funding he's looking for. [Deadline]