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SYFY WIRE Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg's long-developing DC Comics project 'Blackhawk' is still in the works

Steven Spielberg and David Koepp still hope to get 'Blackhawk' made...eventually. 

By Matthew Jackson
Steven Spielberg speaks onstage during the 33rd Annual Producers Guild Awards.

At the age of 75, Steven Spielberg is as busy as he's ever been. The legendary filmmaker just wrapped up his time on the awards season circuit for West Side Story, is at work directing his semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans, and as a producer and executive producer has his hands in everything from Indiana Jones 5 (directed by James Mangold) to Jurassic World: Dominion to Halo. But that doesn't mean Spielberg's ready to let older ideas fall by the wayside. 

Back in 2018, Spielberg was attached to Blackhawk, a big-screen adaption of the DC Comics property of the same name about a squadron of World War II fighting aces battling the Nazis through a series of pulp adventures. The project was set to re-team Spielberg with Jurassic Park writer David Koepp, and return the filmmaker to the World War II setting he embraced with everything from Saving Private Ryan to Empire of the Sun to 1941. It was an exciting idea, but then both Spielberg and Koepp got busy with other projects, and Blackhawk seemed to fade from public consciousness just a bit. 

That doesn't mean the film is dead, though. In a new interview with Collider, Koepp made it clear that Blackhawk is still very much alive, even if it is in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. 

"We have a script that’s very good and we all think it's very good. There were a lot of management changes at Warner Bros, so I think we’ve just been kind of waiting for that to settle down and for them to decide what they want to do with their DC Universe," Koepp said. "Obviously I hope [Spielberg] does it or if he doesn’t direct it, I hope he produces it, someone great directs. Because it would be a great deal of fun. I’m very fond of the script and I hope it comes together. But again, that’s one of those movies that’s gonna need $200 million so, trying to get those whales off the beach is a big process."

Even since 2018, the DC Universe as it stands on the film side of things has shifted rather dramatically. When Blackhawk was announced, Warner Bros. was still trying to find a way forward after the disappointment of Justice League, and what they eventually arrived at was a somewhat less cohesive approach to things that's basically given numerous characters their own standalone adventures apart from the greater DCEU, including everything from follow-ups like The Suicide Squad to standalone stories like The Batman. It's hard to tell where Blackhawk would fit into the scheme of things at the moment, but Koepp also pointed that, because of its World War II setting, the film doesn't necessarily need to fit in next to anything. And even if it did, there are always very comic book ways of merging stories and characters. 

"No, and it would be hard because it’s 1941 or 1940, actually," Koepp said when asked if the film would be set in the same world as Wonder Woman and Aquaman. "So it would be a little tricky. As we were developing the script, we said 'Hey, let’s make one great movie. It’s 1940, that’s the way it is.' And if it works out and in the future they decide they want to unite anybody, I’m sure time travel will not be a problem. Because comic books have a great way of figuring that stuff out. 'We need Wonder Woman to be there!' Fine. Well, then she can, because of the ‘Prometheus Portal’. I’m like 'what’s the Prometheus Portal.' 'You don’t know about the Prometheus Portal?'"

It might seem like a no-brainer to give Spielberg as much money as he needs to make a World War II adventure about pulp flying aces and just turn him loose on the DC Universe, but even he has to contend with the current limitations of the feature film market. Spielberg's West Side Story, despite its all-star pedigree and great reviews, failed to make much of a dent in the box office landscape, and depending on the approach (it's a comic book film, but not necessarily a superhero film) Blackhawk could also struggle. Then again, it could also be one of the biggest movies of his career, so maybe Warner Bros. will push forward soon, before the legendary director moves on to still more projects.