Jim Starlin’s space epic comic Dreadstar heading to the big screen

jim starlins space epic comic dreadstar heading big screen

Comic book legend Jim Starlin’s 1980s space odyssey Dreadstar is coming to the big screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s too early to consider things like cast and release date yet, but the project is being spearheaded by Benderspink and Illuminati Entertainment.

Starlin has been writing comics since the 1970s and is credited with the introduction of several well-known characters, especially on the Marvel Comics side of things. Perhaps most notably, Starlin is responsible for the creation of the villain Thanos, and he wrote the Infinity Gauntlet story in 1991. A live-action Thanos was introduced in the Marvel Studios film The Avengersand the Infinity Gems, the powerful artifacts that fuel the reality-bending gauntlet, have been teased in multiple films, most prominently in Thor: The Dark World. It’s still unknown how much of Starlin’s original story will impact the Marvel film universe, but the films have definitely hinted that there is more coming. Starlin also created the characters Drax the Destroyer and Gamora, both of which feature prominently in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie due out on August 1, 2014.

By comparison, Dreadstar probably isn’t a name that a lot of non-diehard comics fans are familiar with, but it has potential to spawn a franchise. The story began in 1980 in issue three of the Epic Illustrated magazine, introducing readers to the character of Vanth Dreadstar through the cult classic story, Metamorphosis Odyssey.

The story has a distinctly “space opera” flair, and spans two galaxies. The super-powered Dreadstar and a small group of champions chosen by the immortal Aknaton, a member of the first race in the Milky Way, help to destroy our galaxy in an effort to end the suffering caused by a race known as the Zygoteans. Dreadstar survives and finds himself in a new galaxy, but he is soon caught in the middle of a war between two powerful and vicious factions, the Monarchy and the Church. So he forms a crew to fight back, teaming up with a cybernetic warlock known as Syzygy Darlock, a blind telepath named Willow, a feline humanoid named Oedi, and con-man named Skeevo.

Benderspink producer J.C. Spink, pursued the rights to the property as soon as he discovered they were available, and compared the series to another space epic of the time with a wee bit more name recognition. “Apart from Star Wars, this was my favorite science fiction story growing up,” he said. Spink recently served as producer to We’re the Millers and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

During the comic book run of Dreadstar, Epic Publications was a creator-owned imprint of Marvel Comics, but the Dreadstar film will have no connection to the Marvel Studios movies. As a creator-owned publishing house, Starlin retained the rights to Dreadstar throughout the years, and has guarded them despite several attempts to adapt the property.

Dreadstar is one of the most important comics on the 1980s, paving the way for creators to control their own creations,” Ford Lytle Gilmore of Illuminati Entertainment said. “After decades of Jim exercising that control and turning away countless Hollywood suitors, I’m excited he’s trusting me and J.C. to do it right.”

The next step is for the producers to hire a screenwriter to develop a script.