Another one-time Marvel character is making his way to the big screen, but chances are you haven’t heard of this one before. Per Variety, producer Ryan Heppe has acquired the movie rights to the obscure 1984 four-part comic mini-series Crash Ryan.
Created by Ron Harris and originally published by Marvel Comics under its now-defunct, creator-owned Epic Comics banner, Crash Ryan is set in an alternate version of 1935, in a world of super-powered airplanes and giant flying airports. The eponymous character is a pilot who ends up caught in the middle of a battle between the heroic United Airman and evil forces led by a masked world supervillian known as “The Doom.”
According to Harris, the series was inspired by a “mishmash of influences: my childhood spent on Navy airbases; the old flying movies and Masked Villain serials I loved on late night TV, and especially my fascination with predictions of future life made in the 1930s.” In addition to the first 1984 comic, the character was later brought back in another four-part story published through Dark Horse Presents in 1990. Now, Crash Ryan is set to make another return — this time, to screen.
As Variety reports, David Cowper (Road Dawgs) has been tapped to co-write the adaptation with Heppe. Meanwhile, Harris will also play a big role in the upcoming film version of his original comic. Though the project is still relatively early in development, he and Heppe have reportedly already created a 50-page outline for the movie, entitled Crash Ryan and the Eyes of Lemuria.
So what exactly can moviegoers expect from a Crash Ryan film? Tonally, the project sounds more like an inventive action adventure than your typical comic book flick — which makes sense, as the plotline is more reminiscent of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow than it is of The Avengers.
Not to mention, the film likely won’t be part of Marvel Cinematic Universe or any other shared superhero world. Instead, it’ll take inspiration from two other major franchises. Harris and Heppe’s outline “reinvents the story as an earthbound, steampunk-inspired fusion of Indiana Jones and Star Wars,” Variety describes.
It’s a bold comparison for a comic that few are familiar with, but whether its genre-blending elements will help or hurt Crash Ryan remains to be seen. On the one hand, the entire project kind of begs the question: Do we really need another comic book movie, especially one based on a title no one’s heard of? Still, given that the craze is not dying down anytime soon, it might be refreshing to see a comic book flick go in a different and much more unexpected direction.
“It’s an incredible canvas, but what attracted me was the redemption story: a man who can’t save himself being tasked with saving the world,” Heppe said of the developing adaptation.
So far, there’s no word on a premiere date for Crash Ryan and the Eyes of Lemuria. Given that Heppe is currently also producing a remake of Short Circuit and a movie adaptation of T.J. Hooker, it might be a while before audiences can see the character make his feature film debut.