Things to Come

Starburst always has the latest Sci-Fi news
Here's a quick burst of this month's stories

selected from Starburst #250

Lines of the Force
By the time you read the next Things to Come, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace will have débuted in the US. This is a unique film phenomenon in many ways, not least because of director George Lucas’s total control over the project. Distributors Fox will reportedly not see the film until a few days before release and neither has there been any of the test screenings with random audience members selected from the street. Young Indiana Jones. Oops! Wrong Lucas hero there...

Eleven North American cities get to see The Phantom Menace first in a series of charity premières, though tickets cost $500 each. The UK première, on July 14 at the Odeon Leicester Square, is also a charity affair and will be attended by Prince Charles.

Fans wishing to avoid plot ‘spoilers’ altogether will have a much harder time from now onwards. The 352-page Phantom Menace novelization by Terry Brooks went on sale from May 3 and even the CD of John Williams’s eagerly-anticipated new score (on sale from May 3 in the UK and a day later in the US) contains a pretty big spoiler in the track listings!

Computer Bugs!

A computer-animated TV series of Starship Troopers is in development by Sony for America’s WB network, with Foundation Imaging (Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Voyager) producing the CGI. The 40-part series unfolds a story arc that will run through to the final episode. It shares elements with both the original book by Robert Heinlein and Paul Verhoeven’s film (though it will presumably be less gory). Elements from the book made possible in this all-CGI version include the fabled Power Armour. At least one of the movie actors is expected to provide their voice – Clancy Brown (Sgt Zim).

Raider’s Rapid Load

The long-mooted movie version of Tomb Raider is finally going ahead at Paramount. The start order was given in April after Die Hard and Street Fighter writer Steven de Souza submitted a draft that execs considered ready for filming (various other writers had been taking a shot at adapting the hit video game). Despite much speculation , there’s still no cast yet, including the all-important Lara Croft (my money's on current Hollywood darling Catherine Zeta Jones – Web Ed), but a director has been assigned: he’s Stephen Herek of Critters and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Making Myths
The Matrix has generated massive earnings in the US – over $37m in its first five days and the biggest hit of the year to date. There’s already talk of sequels, which is lucky as its writer-directors – Andy and Larry Wachowski – envisioned their complex, alternate-reality premise as spanning three movies.

The hit has also put the sibling directors (whose previous film was the excellent Bound) in great demand. One of their earlier scripts, Carnivore, has already been dusted off for director George Romero to rush before the cameras in the autumn – before, it seems, his much-heralded Resident Evil. Carnivore is a gothic Horror allegory set in a boarding house where the rich residents disappear under mysterious circumstances and, as the title implies, the food tastes rather odd.

The Wachowski brothers are also being linked to a movie version of the comic book V for Vendetta, which they were developing prior to producing The Matrix.

and there's much more news in Starburst #250
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