Give George Clooney some space, and he’ll take it. Clooney is about to add Buck Rogers to a list of sci-fi credits that includes Solaris, Gravity, Tomorrowland, and The Midnight Sky. It’s all still in the development stage, but The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Clooney, Grant Heslov, and their production company, Smokehouse, are collaborating with Legendary on “a prestige limited series that is being written by Brian K. Vaughan with the goal of launching a film and an anime off-shoot if the initial series is a success.” Also involved is Flint Dille, grandson of John F. Dille, publisher of the original Buck Rogers comic strip.
We like that connection! But before Buck Rogers was a comic strip hero, he was created as Anthony “Buck” Rogers in the 1928 novel by Philip Francis Nowlan, Armageddon–2419 A.D. And without the invention of Buck Rogers, the idea of a swashbuckling space hero — a la Star Wars — probably would have never happened. (In fact, George Lucas explored the option of adapting both Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon before doing his own thing.)
Clooney, according to Hollywood Reporter, is on board so far only as an executive producer, but given both his penchant for starring in and directing many of his projects, as well as his obvious appreciation for stories set away from planet Earth, there’s every reason to think – or hope – that he’ll assume an acting role in the proposed project.
If he does, the question becomes who will he play? A lot of that depends on whether the new production embraces the original comic strip and radio characters, among them Rogers, Dr. Huer, and Wilma Deering (that’d be some casting if Clooney played Col. Deering!); the 1939 movie serial, which featured a villain named Killer Kane; ABC’s 1950-1951 iteration; or NBC’s late-1970s series and related 1979 feature film, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which included not just Rogers, Deering, Huer and Kane, but also such new characters as the sidekick robot, Twiki, and the talking computer, Dr. Theopolis. If your memory is fuzzy, Twiki was the robot who said “beede-beede-beede” all the time and was voiced (in Season 1) by Looney Tunes legend, Mel Blanc. And in the metallic costume was Felix Silla, best know for playing Cousin Itt on the classic family series, The Addams Family.
While it’d be exciting to see Clooney play Rogers, and we’d welcome cameos by Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, and Felix Silla, we’ll still be tuning in even if Clooney just voiced Twiki!
You can stream the 1979 Buck Rogers FOR FREE on the NBC App.