I can honestly admit that while I read an absolutely enormous amount of Greek mythology as a lad– courtesy of taking Latin as a language through middle school and high school– I never wondered what Homer’s Odyssey would look like as a space opera. Fortunately, there are dreamers in the world with grander imaginations than my own, because it sounds like Warner Bros. wants to push the Greek poet’s vision out of Ithaca and Scheria (and countless other locations) into the final frontier with the aid of screenwriter James DiLapo, author of the screenplay for the blacklisted period thriller Devils At Play.
Is this good news or bad news? I still have a bad taste in my mouth over 2004’s Troy despite there being nearly a decade between me and that bloated mess of a film, so I’m not sure how keen I am on seeing WB take another stab at appropriating ancient Greek literature for the big screen. On the other hand, DiLapo’s already quite accomplished considering that he only graduated from NYU this past summer, and he’ll be taking on adaptation of an established work that’s filled with amazing characters. So between WB’s history with Homer’s texts and DiLapo’s apparent noteworthiness (whose pitch to the studio got the entire ball rolling on the movie), I come out as being somewhere in the “neutral” zone here.
Except for the double-edged sword that is franchising. Yes, WB sees an Odyssey riff set in space as a possible franchise, which could either be really good for the series or really bad. It’s not hard to suspect that their interest in the project has something to do with Disney reigniting the spark in Star Wars, so I have a sense that Warner will end up franchising this thing for all the wrong reasons– which seems silly, because the story is humongous and therefore brimming with right reasons. If you think The Hobbit should only be one or two films, then you may be more inclined to agree that The Odyssey is worth being split up, but the prospect of multiple WB-backed Homer films set in outer space strikes me as being a shaky one at best.
At least for now. Who knows? DiLapo could really have some great ideas for making this fresh and interesting, and maybe when we learn more about the film as WB starts stitching the rest of the production together, we’ll see how seriously they’re really taking it.