Shane Black and writing partner Fred Dekker have scripted a TV pilot reboot for cult 1960s spy show The Avengers. Black first made a name for himself with his script for Lethal Weapon in 1987, which combined snappy, quotable dialogue with slick action. He followed up with scripts for The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight, before moving into directing later in his career with The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3.
Black also co-wrote 1987’s The Monster Squad with Dekker, who directed the film. Dekker also helmed Night Of The Creeps and RoboCop 3, and after a long break pursuing separate projects he and Black renewed their creative partnership to pen the script for The Predator, which Black is directing. They also co-wrote the pilot for Western series Edge in 2015.
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Now in a new career retrospective with The Dark Side Magazine, Dekker reveals he and Black have penned a script for a TV reboot of 1960s spy series The Avengers for Warner Bros. The show followed dapper secret agent John Steed and his various partners, including Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel, as they foiled various evil schemes. When asked about the project, Dekker had this to say:
It’s The Avengers, with John Steed and Emma Peel. We’re setting it in Britain in the 60’s, and our approach is The Ipcress File meets Doctor Who. At this moment, it’s my favorite thing we’re working on.
An ill-fated movie reboot of The Avengers was released in 1998, with Ralph Fiennes as Steed, Uma Thurman playing Emma Peel, and Sean Connery hamming up a storm as the villain. The movie was a disaster for Warner Bros., who drastically cut the runtime following poor test screenings, leading to numerous confusing plot holes and sloppy editing in the released cut. The non-existent chemistry between Fiennes and Thurman was also cited as a problem.
If the pilot for The Avengers goes ahead, it will be interesting to see what Black and Dekker do with it. They’re both known for writing witty dialogue, and the chance to do a period spy show should be fertile creative ground. Their next project is The Predator, which aims to re-energize the series. The script has already been praised for its new take on the Predator character, and Black himself has an interesting link to the franchise, having played the first on-screen victim of the title hunter in the 1987 original.
If the show does go ahead, it will probably also have to deal with the title confusion at some stage. Marvel’s original Avengers movie was actually redubbed Marvel Avengers Assemble during its UK cinema release to avoid any confusion with the 1960s series. Now however, the Marvel superteam is so famous across the globe, it’s hard to imagine Warner Bros. TV reboot will simply call itself The Avengers – unless they REALLY want to create confusion.
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There’s currently no air date set for The Avengers, but we’ll update the story as more information arrives.
Source: The Dark Side Magazine