Agents of SHIELD producer Rafe Judkins has taken the helm of the Uncharted movie to rewrite the script in the latest development update in the decade-long progress of bringing Naughty Dog’s game series to the big screen. The film has had many updates and changes throughout its complex development history, including actor changes and even premise changes. But – with no date yet set – could the Stranger Things and Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy’s vision finally hit the silver screen?
In 2017, it was reported that Joe Carnahan had completed the script for the original Uncharted film, which was set to have Mark Wahlberg or Nathan Fillion star as Nathan Drake. But its 2017 release date was lost, and, following the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tom Holland, who plays Spider-Man, suggested a prequel starring a younger actor. He then found himself in the spotlight to take on the part, which called for a script rewrite to allow for an origin story about Nathan Drake’s pre-Uncharted days.
The original film idea was announced in 2009, and development had already been over a year in the making. The Uncharted film has had a multitude of writers attached, including David O’ Russell, husband and wife team Marianne and Cormac Wibberley, and writing duo Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. The project was even offered to comedians Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who declined. Having had so many incarnations, could that be telling us that the fantasy series is taking longer to bring into the film world because the story might not be a fit for the big screen?
Origin stories are extremely popular and a way for audiences to connect with a franchise in a fresh way: from superhero origin stories rewriting histories to prequels filling in gaps in story mythology. The benefits of the prequel will be the scope of creating a story that is outside the realm of Uncharted, filling in gaps that fans of the game won’t have seen. The cross-platform approach, linking together the game and the prequel film shows the resounding popularity of the series, which itself has even spawned off into other platforms. The iGaming industry has been touched by the Uncharted franchise’s popularity, with fans able to play Book of Ra online, which takes a similar adventuring theme as the PlayStation series and features ancient treasure iconography.
Despite the film being years in the making, excitement for the franchise still remains with fans across social media, in spite of Carnahan’s script being possibly completely retooled. While there is no release date currently set for the film, studios are hoping to get the idea right in order to spawn an entire series. The breadth of material available throughout the games and even around the game universe could prove as lucrative as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or James Bond. Howsoever the Uncharted story is brought to life, the standing of the franchise, and the critical and commercial success will no doubt lead to a healthy series of films.