WonderCon: Spotlight on Straczynski

Sun, February 24th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Erik Amaya, Staff Writer

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J. Michael Straczynski
At WonderCon in San Francisco Saturday, it was revealed during the DC Comics panel that long time "Amazing Spider-Man" writer J. Michael Straczynski would be working on projects at DC Comics in the near future and elaborated on those plans and others during his Spotlight panel Saturday evening.

In addition, he revealed he's signed a deal with Image Comics for two creator owned projects called "Justice" and "Ten Grand." Straczynski called the past year "extraordinary." In an attempt to be "more flexible" and "broaden yourself out," he added these projects to his on-going commitments with "Thor" and "The Twelve" for Marvel Comics.

Speaking on "Thor," Straczynski said he will continue to write the title for sometime. In regards to the DC projects, he said he cannot comment on them yet as the deal is still fresh. Of the Image projects, he said he is banking scripts and hoping to have issues out in the fall.

On the film front, his first major film just wrapped. "The Changeling" is directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Ron Howard, starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich. Straczynski said, "they shot the first draft; no changes." It is due out in November.

JMS will continue to write "Thor" for the foreseeable future
Straczynski has also been tapped to adapt "World War Z" for Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B. In regards to the adaptation, he says the film will follow the interviewer of the book as he complies the stories of the Zombie War. In addition, he also wrote an adaptation of the book, "They Marched into Sunlight," with "The Bourne Ultimatum's" Paul Greengrass attached to direct. He also adapted "Silver Surfer" for Fox, a project, he says, that will cover the character's origin and reveal Galactus in his true form. "They held back on Galactus in the [second Fantastic Four film] to have him in this film and make that reveal the big reveal," he said.

Now that the Writer's Strike has ended, Straczynski said he has seven scripts in front of him, which he cannot talk about, but, he says, "If you're genre science fiction fans … there are two projects … I wish I could tell you." When prompted by the audience, he followed with, "It did leak out that Ron Howard has acquired the rights to 'Lensman,'" the story by writer E.E. Doc Smith. In regards to his film work, he says, "There are times I think I've woken up in someone else's life."

In regards to older projects, he said "The Book of Lost Souls" is now in limbo as the Marvel Icon line is an outlet for Marvel's exclusive talent. Production companies are looking at "Rising Stars" and "Dream Police." He also revealed he is writing a spec script based on the "Midnight Nation" series. The "Babylon 5" comic should also be happening soon. When asked about "Squadron Supreme," he said the loss of focus on the character Hyperion made him lose his way creatively, or as he bluntly says, "I began to suck." When asked if there would be any more "Jeremiah," Straczynski said "No."

Cover art to "The Twelve" #5
When asked about more live action "Babylon 5," Straczynski said Warner Bros has finally noticed the franchise makes money and is interested in doing more in that universe. The recent Writer's strike prevented more work from happening, as the studio did not commission a script before the strike action began. When asked what legacy the series left in the television medium, he replied, "The biggest gift we gave was to take the shackles off" in regards to developing character and plot arcs in science fiction television. He also said the spin-off series "Crusade" would not be revived in any format or medium. Of a feature film based on "Babylon 5," he said "eventually." Adding, "If they did a 'Starsky and Hutch' movie, they'll get to 'Babylon 5.'"

Straczynski also revealed he has started his own production company, hopes to begin making films in the next few years and has named this venture "And the Horse You Road In On Productions."

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