Is Ridley Scott a born again science fiction fan?

Ridley Scott returns to science fictionWhat's going on with Ridley Scott and science fiction? The director of the genre classics Alien and Blade Runner is now working on not one, but two new science fiction movies. First we reported Scott was set to adapt Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, staring Leonardo DiCaprio, and now it seems he's also going to adapt Joe Haldeman's science fiction novel The Forever War.

First reported Scott's comments on a science fiction project in June:

"I waited for a book for 20 years and I have got the book. I am not going to tell you what the book is but that film is going to probably be written within the next month. That will definitely be what I do next after Nottingham, the Robin Hood film that I am doing now in England."

It was assumed that he was talking about Brave New World. However, Variety now reports that Scott's next science fiction movie, the first since Blade Runner in 1982, will be The Forever War.

Brave New World hasn't been abandoned though, it will just be made later.

"I first pursued The Forever War 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since," Scott told Variety. "It's a science-fiction epic, a bit of The Odyssey by way of Blade Runner, built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise."

Joe Haldeman's The Forever WarThe Forever War tells the story of a soldier who, after a two month battle in space with an alien species called the "Taurans", returns to Earth 20 years later. Because of the time dilation effect while travelling through space he has aged only a few months, while Earth has moved 20 years into the future. He must adjust to a society and culture altered beyond recognition. The combination of an interstellar war, time travel, and social dislocation sounds like a fascinating mix.

The Forever War won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards and there are two sequels, Forever Free and Forever Peace. Apparently Scott intended to follow Alien and Blade Runner with The Forever War, but acquiring the rights proved more difficult than expected, delaying his plans for more than 20 years. Now that he has the rights, he's looking for a writer.

This sudden jump back into the SF genre is odd considering Scott famously commented at the Venice Film Festival in 2007 that science fiction movies were as dead as westerns: “There’s nothing original," he said. "We’ve seen it all before. Been there. Done it".

So why this sudden change of heart? It seemed as though he was happy with the military and historical dramas that have become his stock and trade. If he had been unsuccessful with his non science fiction works like Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Black Hawk Down, I could understand his desire to go back to where he started, but you could hardly call these movies critical or commercial failures, quite the opposite.

Has Ridley simply become a born again science fiction fan? Perhaps the time he spent reworking Blade Runner,Blade Runner: The Final Cut, has reignited his enthusiasm for the genre. The rerelease certainly generated a lot of media attention, a startling amount considering the original movie came out in 1982.

Whatever the reason, whatever the circumstances for his change of heart, it's excellent to hear that he's working with science fiction once more. Could we be about to experience another two movies with the depth and impact of Blade Runner and Alien? If the novels he has selected are anything to go by, the signs are positive.

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