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Alas, Poor Yorick! The Y: The Last Man Adaptation Somehow Survives

By Rob Payne | Industry | March 16, 2012 |

By Rob Payne | Industry | March 16, 2012 |

Back around the the beginning of January, I planned on writing an SRL that listed 10 projects I hoped I could report on in the new year. I thought it was a pretty decent list full of books, comics, video games, and plays that might make halfway decent movies or television series. But I never had took the time to actually do the write-ups for each entry and, like entering the “friend zone” with somebody you’re attracted to, eventually too much time had passed. Legend of Zelda was one of the ideas, and King Lear as a space opera starring David Bowie as the title character, with Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett as Regan and Goneril, and Mila Jovovich as an ass kicking Cordelia. So, things that are likely to never happen.

Or, so I thought.

Another pitch I would have described was a TV adaptation of the Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerrera comic book, Y: The Last Man, which was just announced has having writers hired by New Line Cinema to translate to the big screen. At one point in time, Disturbia and Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso was trying to make a trilogy of films with Shia LaBeouf in the lead role of Yorick Brown, the apparent last man on Earth in a world now dominated solely by women. The new scribes, Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, having written for “Human Target,” “Jericho,” and “Warehouse 13” have a fairly decent pedigree, but as SlashFilm points out, Caruso left the project because he refused to make a single picture instead of a complete trilogy.

That makes it pretty easy to infer that this new take also won’t likely be the Lord of the Rings of the post-apocalypse genre. While I appreciated Caruso’s love of, and dedication to, the source material, I don’t think movies are the right way to go with adapting this subject matter. Besides that, the graphic novel needs television’s season-long arcs for room to breathe and contemplate. The concept that the main character is, literally, the very last male on the planet takes more than a half-hour first act of exposition to really explore all the ramifications. We’re not talking about the last known human male, but the last known male primate. Well, Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand. That said, a single movie that hits the comic’s major plot points, and reaches the unexpected but curiously satisfying ending, would be infinitely preferable to one chapter of three.

I still think a “Y:The Last Man” TV serial would be preferable to a single film, especially since Brian K. Vaughan also wrote for the best seasons of “LOST”, 3-5 if you’re keeping score. If he were to follow the lead of Robert Kirkman as comic creator-turned-executive producer on “The Walking Dead” for AMC, he might be able to craft one of the most compelling shows in the history of the medium. But I’ll settle for one movie if it’s done with a modicum level of competency if that’s the way it has to be. Like, nothing less than the quality of Frank Darabont’s The Mist.

But I’ll settle for nothing less than a four hour sci-fi epic version of King Lear, like Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. In space. You can’t tell me that’s not a great idea. I even mocked up a one-sheet:

If anybody out there knows Mr. Jones, have his people call my people.

Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). For Legend of Zelda, he might actually prefer a modestly budgeted feature length version of Legend of Neil.

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