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SYFY WIRE science fiction

John Carpenter may return to the director's chair, but it won't be for a 'Dead Space' adaptation

"We might see something, but they are shrouded in total mystery, like Skull Island in King Kong."

By Josh Weiss
John Carpenter

"John Carpenter has nothing left to prove," Variety declares at the very top of its profile on the celebrated filmmaker ahead of his 75th birthday in just a few days' time. It's a proclamation with more than a healthy dose of validity. Throughout the 1970s and '80s, Carpenter delivered stone cold classic-after-classic — even if some of them (*cough* The Thing *cough*) were not fully appreciated at the time. His impact on horror, sci-fi, and action filmmaking cannot be understated. His legacy is more than secure!

Nevertheless, many fans have wondered if Carpenter would ever return to the director's chair following his last effort over a decade ago with 2010's The Ward. Since then, he's been content to rest on his laurels — writing music (like the film scores for the recent Halloween trilogy), playing video games, taking in basketball games, writing the occasional comic book — and why not? 

Carpenter has more than earned a relaxing existence, particularly after a rather tumultuous career infamously defined by misunderstood masterpieces and rescinded opportunities.

With that said, it could be time for him to get back in the cinematic saddle. When asked by Variety if the world might see a Carpenter-directed movie "in the near future," the filmmaker provided a cryptic answer. "We might see something, but they are shrouded in total mystery, like Skull Island in King Kong," he teased. "But, yeah, I’m open to it, given that it’s honestly budgeted and there’s plenty of time to do it — and that people allow for the basketball season and the playoffs."

Carpenter projected that same aura of mystery during a phone call with SYFY WIRE last summer when we attempted to get him to talk about what he'd like to see out of Universal and Blumhouse's reboot of The Thing. "I'm not gonna tell you that," he asserted. "That would be something I would figure out and do and then you would discover it in the movie theater."

If another project is in the cards, however, don't expect it to be a big screen translation of one of Carpenter's favorite video games, Dead Space, whose mixture of science fiction, cosmic horror, and survival thriller feels right up the alley of the man who introduced a shape-shifting alien parasite to Outpost 31. Back in October, Carpenter off-handedly mentioned to The A.V. Club that a potential adaption of the property would be high on his directorial bucket list, with his quotes spawning headlines all across the internet. It wasn't a confirmation of anything and he ended up setting the record straight during his chat with Variety:

"I can’t believe how that spread. I’m a big video game fan, so I played all the games. I was down looking at the new digital cameras, the RED, and happened to mention to them that I would love to do a Dead Space film. That just went around, and everybody said, 'Oh, when are you gonna do it?' I’m not gonna do it. I think they already have another director involved. And they haven’t asked me to do it. So until someone asks me, I wouldn’t do it. But there’s a new version of the Dead Space video game coming out in January, and I’m there."

Immerse yourself in the CarpenterVerse with Halloween Ends — now streaming on Peacock.