[Go to 14 September 2018 Update]
23 March 2018: Signs point to the imminent arrival of the Farscape film. We are talking the film industry’s concept of imminent mind you, which means one to two years from now. Regardless, there IS more Farscape coming.
Yeah, yeah, we heard the comments back in 2014. It’s been nearly four years now!
Indeed. I know, it sucks. I finished my PhD in four years for frell’s sake. In 2014, Farscape fans were thrilled to hear Rockne O’Bannon confirm that he was working on a script for the next Farscape film and that Brian Henson would direct, and also on board was Justin Monjo, who wrote 14 Farscape episodes including, I feel, some of the best, and produced 36 others.
A few months later, Gigi Edgley, said that when she was working with Brian Henson on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge Henson showed her an envelope telling her it was the working Farscape film script. Ben Browder, Claudia Black, and Wayne Pygram all weighed in that they would love to do more Farscape. It was all exciting news.
Yes, we were excited; so what happened?
Life. In 2014, O’Bannon was busy with Defiance, an underrated TV gem that ran for another year. Then he got wrapped up in other non-film projects. Brian Henson, who inherited his father’s work ethic, was busy with Dinosaur Train, The Star, The Happytime Murders (an interesting re-envisioning of Greg the Bunny), and his longtime dream to do a Dark Crystal follow-up film. Then there’s the rumored Labyrinth remake…. Yes, Henson is the big hold up. He owns the Farscape sets, and Pilot and Rygel. You can’t do anything Farscape without him.
Well, unless you have kidnapped Brian Henson, why do you think now the Farscape film is about to happen?
The signs. After nearly four years of silence about Farscape, there appear to be some strong hints being laid out.
In January 2018, Boom! Comics released, under their Archaia label, the Farscape Omnibus, Volume 1, which combines the first four Farscape books and the D’Argo books. Volume 2 is scheduled for a December 2018 release (even though the original single-issue and compendiums have been out for years). Boom!-Archaia also published several Dark Crystal books and will in 2018, alongside the Farscape releases is launching a new Dark Crystal book series (to coincide with Brian Henson’s upcoming Dark Crystal TV series) and a new Labyrinth books series (to coincide with Brian Henson’s upcoming new Labyrinth film) which makes one wonder about an upcoming Farscape film.
In February 2018, fangrrrl site The Mary Sue, suddenly posted an eloquent argument that of all the shows that actually deserves a reboot, it is Farscape. It is easy to dismiss a one-off article, but The Mary Sue is an OMG hype machine for coming releases with some interestingly thoughtful articles. Did someone there know something? The site hadn’t even mentioned Farscape since July 2014.
Then out of nowhere on 8th of March 2018 an interview with Rockne O’Bannon appeared: “Farscape 15 Years Later.” Despite it appearing on the Medium platform, it was from The Paley Center for Media, so this wasn’t a fan site but a respectable and connected expert on media. O’Bannon confirms the Farscape film project is is still alive and he and Brian Henson are still working on the script. He says Henson is busy directing a movie (which I take to be The Happytime Murders mentioned earlier and finally completing post-production recently, confirming that Henson has been the hold up), but that they hope to get up and running sometime “next year.” The timing of things caught my eye. The article mentions the interview took place “late 2017,” which means the Paley Center held it back from publication for as much as six months. Timing is everything and publicity is calculated. More on that in a bit.
The big news from O’Bannon was this:
The intention is to certainly bring back the original cast members.
Then, on the 21st of March, 2018, SYFY television network posted another interview with O’Bannon, blended with interviews with Anthony Prose (producer and director of numerous Farscape episodes), Ben Browder, and Gigi Edgley. “The Bad Timing of ‘Bad Timing'” could be seen as just a fluff piece to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the last episode. I suspect there may be more to it. There is little specifics given about the future of Farscape in the article other than Edgley saying, “I have this funny feeling in my heart and soul that there’s something more to come. Brian will call me up…” and Browder’s smile-inducing:
The eternal question is where are they now? What are they doing now? Still flying around with a spaceship with a gaggle of kids? Imagine raising kids on a spaceship with that crew. That would be pretty awesome. It’s a little more like Lost in Space, but only twisted.
Beyond nostalgia-fueled wishful thinking, the article frames the future return of Farscape. The interviews focus first on the sadness of the series cancellation. It also, finally resolves who was to blame for it: O’Bannon and Browder are too diplomatic to name the “German company” who broke the contract for Season 5, but I’m not, it was EM.TV & Merchandising AG. Frelling drannits. SYFY is also telling us “see, it wasn’t us.” Anyway, then the article focuses on the efforts of the fans and Brian Henson to get some kind of continuation of the show, which became The Peacekeeper Wars. The article leads the reader from setback to return and then “…hopes for the future.”
Look, we’re a cynical bunch, this is all nice, but it is conjecture.
Sure, and it is up to you to decide if the conjecture makes sense or not. But I mentioned timing…
SYFYWIRE’s recent article comes two weeks after the Paley Center published its held back interview with O’Bannon. Also, you can see there has been a noticeable uptick on stories on SYFYWIRE about Farscape. That’s six stories dedicated to Farscape (and mentioned in two others) in the past eight months–three in the past month–after zero dedicated stories and five mentions in four years. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I think they are deliberately building a buzz for the coming Farscape film. The SYFYWIRE connection is significant because they published “Why Farscape Still Matters” a month before O’Bannon announced the script was in development in 2014. Both events came around the 15th anniversary of the beginning of Farscape’s regular run, just as we are now seeing events around 15th anniversary of its end. A cynic will say we will still be here another four or five years from now still talking about maybe there being a Farscape film. Or, maybe in a month we will be talking about a major announcement.
Are you making a call? A Farscape film confirmed next month?
No, but I am making this call: There will be a Farscape film. It will feature the original cast plus new characters to be sure. And, I am saying the film will continue as a “next generation” continuation of the grand story arc that continued after The Peacekeeper Wars in the comic books.
Might be better to just kidnap Brian Henson.
P.S. – Speaking of timing: there was this surprising homage to Farscape from, of all people, Arby’s. People are paying attention, Brian Henson.
Update: No real new information in this 24 August 2018 article (a site with twice more ads than content so I will summarize) but a confirmation that more Farscape is coming in “Brian Henson on What’s Holding up the Return of Farscape.” Henson says, in comments at a fan convention, that the hold up is entirely the fault of the creators not yet able to get it “quite right still.” That would mean that Henson, O’Bannon, and whoever else is involved at this point are either having creative differences or having difficulty with how the revival will actually work. So we could be talking difficulties with plot, personnel, format, filming logistics, who knows. The article leaves out some more of Henson’s most interesting comments in which he explains more of what is “not right.” The problem appears to be the format of the return.
“The fan interest has been huge, but it’s a little harder to sell. BUT- I’ve been trying to make it as a movie for a long time, and everybody is tired–okay, I’m tired–of hearing me say that I really want to make a feature film of Farscape. I’m just coming off of making this movie [The Happytime Murders], and it really took all of my attention for 16 months. I’m reconsidering that, and it may be that the movie length is too short to tell the story. So that might mean, I may consider doing something on TV instead. Sort of exactly like what we’re doing in London right now with Dark Crystal. So there is the potential of doing something like that with Farscape. Honestly? I’m still very enthusiastic about Farscape, and I have been trying to make it into a movie, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to succeed.”
The Power of the Dark Crystal is in some stage of production and rumored to be slated as a miniseries on Netflix. So, Henson maybe hinting at a miniseries being the destination for Farscape. I’ve always thought that a new series on TV was what would happen and I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the talk of a one-off film. Perhaps therein lies the “not quite right still” difference between the creators: Henson thinks in terms of films and O’Bannon thinks in terms of series. What is most puzzling about Henson’s comment above is he speaks as though he, not O’Bannon, is the creator and lead of Farscape. We have not heard from O’Bannon in a few months; not sine his interview with the Paley Center mentioned above. Well, let’s hope they can put their minds together on this. With The Happytime Murders finally behind us, maybe things can get moving.
But more proof that Henson is ramping up for the return of Farscape is that his company launched a Farscape YouTube channel 23 August 2018. Not a fan site, a studio site marketing the Farscape franchise. They’re gettin’ the band back together!