We reported just last week that Legendary Entertainment, George Clooney and Grant Heslov were potentially teaming on a multi-platform reboot of Buck Rogers. Brian K. Vaughn was on script duties and Don Murphy was producing with Susan Montford.
However not so fast Buck! The Nowlan Family Trust oversee the estate of Philip Francis Nowlan who created Buck Rogers and their lawyers have sent a cease and desist to Legendary Entertainment.
According to Heat Vision the letter claims that they own the rights to Buck Rogers and they have already signed an agreement with Skydance Productions for use of some of those rights, so Legendary would be cutting across this.
Straightforward, right? Back off Legendary? Well, not so fast. It seems the Buck Rogers story is complicated. Anthony Rogers, as a character, first appeared in the 1929 novella Armageddon 2419 A.D and is considered to be in the public domain. Just like Dracula, anyone can take a run at the story.
The Nowlans claim to hold rights to later comic book stories which gave the character the name Buck. There are trademarks in-force on this. Skydance have those rights, according to the Nowlan Trust. They also say:
“Buck is not in Armageddon, Anthony is a different character.”
Legendary fired back, taking no crap:
“We have secured the rights we need to proceed with our project and the company will not comment any further on these baseless claims. This same party has been claiming for years that they have rights which they do not have and have been trying to inhibit projects based on rights they do not legally control.”
Handbags! Get the popcorn, Outposters. Some Hollywood lawyered-up bitch slapping is about to begin.