From the depths of multi-year… multi-decade Development Hell comes news that Legendary Entertainment, the production house behind Dune, has snagged the movie rights to the Duke Nukem videogame franchise from Gearbox Software.

Reports in The Hollywood Reporter say that Cobra Kai creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg are already on board as producers, with Jean Julien Baronnet (Assassin’s Creed) rounding out the executive crew.

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The famous game series was launched in 1991 by Apogee Software as a platform game before evolving across first person and third person version. , the billion-dollar game franchise started out as 2D platformers which became a mix of first-person and third-person shooters.

The games followed Duke, an amalgam of Arnie, Sly and just about every other 80s action hero, as he fights an alien invasion in Los Angeles via strip clubs and other seedy locations.

The path to the screen has been famously convoluted. During the late 1990s, it was announced that film producer Lawrence Kasanoff was working on a Duke Nukem movie with the plot was to feature aliens invading Duke’s favorite strip club. Kasanoff’s project was killed by funding problems.

A restart was announced in 2001 that came to nothing.

In 2008, Max Payne producer Scott Faye revealed to IGN.com that he was planning to produce Duke Nukem as a movie, saying he hoped:

“…a Duke movie scenario that will compel a studio to finance a feature version… Certainly, there’s a large audience that knows and loves this character. We’re expanding Duke’s ‘storyverse’ in a very significant major way without abandoning or negating any element that’s being used to introduce Duke to the next-gen platforms.”

Again, nothing happened. During an interview with Game Slice in 2017, Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford said work was again underway on a movie adaption. Then in March 2018, it was announced that John Cena would star as Duke Nukem for Paramount Pictures & Platinum Dunes but once again nothing happened.

So we will just wait and see if anything comes of this latest restart. A search for a writer is underway with no director yet attached.

Meanwhile Cobra Kai season 5 will be released on Netflix on September 9, 2022

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