5 Things We Learned About the ‘Starship Troopers’ Reboot

Starship Troopers working as a team

Starship Troopers | Sony Pictures

History has certainly proven that Hollywood is reliably cyclical. When it comes to aging franchises, the industry is always eager to dust off some past property for a brand-new interpretation. The recent social phenomenon — in which nostalgia has become more integral than ever to the millennial generation — only serves to support this inclination to repackage a popular hit rather than craft something new to appeal to audiences. In keeping with this trend, we took a look back at some popular films from the 1990s that may be ripe for a reboot of their own. One such release, Starship Troopers, appears to be closer than ever to getting a new lease on life.

For those unfamiliar with the cult classic, Starship Troopers is director Paul Verhoeven’s satirical adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s novel about a military effort to defeat a conquering alien race known as “the Bugs.” In recent years, two of Verhoeven’s previous brushes with science fiction — Total Recall and Robocop — were remade in 2012 and 2014, respectively, to a decent box office and mixed at best reviews. It remains to be seen exactly how Starship Troopers will fare, but let’s take a quick look at what we do know about the upcoming reboot so far.

1. No one from the original 1997 film is onboard

Neither Verhoeven nor anyone else involved in the original film version is set to return for the new movie. The 1997 edition featured Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, and Neil Patrick Harris, but while some recent “reboots” like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Creed have opted to acknowledge the existing legacy, it seems like the new Starship Troopers will truly mark a fresh start. Perhaps there’s a chance that someone like Van Dien — who reprised his original role in the 2008 release Starship Troopers 3: Marauder — could cameo as a new character.

2. It will remain truer to the Robert Heinlein novel

The cover of the Starship Troopers book

Starship Troopers book | G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Of course, there’s nothing new about a film adaptation that shows little regard for its printed source material. However, in the case of the new Starship Troopers, the creative team is taking the opposite approach. The first film was criticized by fans of the novel for betraying the distinctive philosophy that Heinlein was trying to create, instead opting for a B-movie propaganda feel with its own social commentary. Word is that the upcoming film will actually hew much closer to the text this time around, a solid way to differentiate it from the 1997 film and give longtime fans of the book the adaptation they want.

3. The Fast and the Furious producer is shepherding

Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious

Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious | Universal Pictures

In today’s cinematic landscape, spectacle appears to reign supreme. So any new Starship Troopers is sure to be brimming with exciting action sequences. Who better to help push the film through development than Neal H. Moritz, longtime producer of The Fast and the Furious series. Sure, the franchise may not feature any aliens or interstellar combat, but it makes sense that the studio would want to infuse the new film with the same kinetic energy that keeps audiences coming back for more Vin Diesel and his “family.”

4. The new film could kick off a franchise

Casper Van Dien in Starship Troopers

Casper Van Dien in Starship Troopers | Sony Pictures

Likewise, anyone thinking that this new Starship Troopers will be a one-off clearly hasn’t been following the industry very closely. Franchises and shared universes are all the rage, and Starship Troopers is a prime candidate for a long-running series. And why shouldn’t it be? The world it creates has tons of potential for compelling stories that could play out over multiple films, as the Mobile Infantry struggles to defeat the Bugs once and for all. Even the 1997 film led to three direct-to-video sequels, after all.

5. The writers of Freddy vs. Jason will pen the film

As we mentioned earlier, the new Starship Troopers won’t boast the involvement of Verhoeven or any of his creative team (at least not so far). That includes original screenwriter Edward Neumeier, who made his screenwriting debut with Verhoeven’s Robocop.

For the new Starship Troopers, Mark Swift and Damian Shannon — the screenwriting duo best known for the 2003 release, Freddy vs. Jason — are tackling script duties. The pair are also behind the upcoming film, Baywatch, the tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the 1990s TV series that will star Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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