Tarzan is not exactly what you would call a popular character in the current cultural landscape. While people 24 and older may fondly remember the 1999 Disney film, the latest take on the character is Warner Bros. 2016 movie The Legend of Tarzan starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie, which didn’t exactly have audiences clamoring for more. But since we make movies for just about anything, it’s time to grab a wine and see if luck will swing twice.
About The Hollywood Reporter, Sony now has screen control of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic pulp hero. Also, First on the docket is a new film said to be a “total reinvention” of the character and property, whatever it means in this context. (Maybe they’ll take him into space?) There’s no creative team attached yet, but that news will come in time. Sony often does its damn thing to get certain films into production and into theaters, and it feels like one they would work hard to make happen.
Where The Story Should Go Next
The first film took a number of bits and pieces from Tarzan lore to create its story and added a healthy dose of reality for good measure. While Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan books get progressively more bizarre as they go on (the number of “lost cities” one can find in Africa is truly staggering), there are still some pieces that could be used to build a sequel to this classic adventure story.
The Son of Tarzan
The Legend of Tarzan ends with the birth of a son for Tarzan and Jane. In the books, the pair also has a son, Jack Clayton, who, as a boy, finds himself lost in the same jungle that his father did. While the story was a bit of a retread in the original novels, the fact that Legend of Tarzan had no proper origin story means that they could use the young son to tell the story they skipped the first time around. Perhaps Legend of Tarzan starts so late in John Clayton’s life because it’s only meant to be a prequel for the story of the son. Either way, we’d fully expect the child of Tarzan and Jane to become a regular part of any sequel.
Does Tarzan receive a new film from Sony?
Tarzans had a long history of being adapted into films, television, and even audio dramas. For the former, it all began with Elmo Lincoln as the grown-up version of Ape Man in the 1918 silent film Tarzan of the Apes. Lincoln would portray the character in two sequels, then the role would go to actors Gene Pollar and Frank Merrill in 1920 and 1928 respectively. But the most popular live-action Tarzan would undoubtedly be Johnny Weissmuller beginning in the 1932s Tarzan of the Apes. Weissmuller played Tarzan in a dozen films and is the longest-running Tarzan on screen.
But the most important question surrounding Sony’s Tarzan is: Will they find a composer to score the film who can outclass Phil Collins, or will they try to bring Collins back to do this? Is Disney working on a Tarzan replay that they are with Hercules, Little Mermaid, and every other ’90s childhood movie that helped make it famous?