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Ancient Aliens: Cobra Kai creators strike on 'globe-spanning adventure' film adaptation

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Apr 12, 2021, 4:50 PM EDT (Updated)

The creators of Cobra Kai are waxing on to their next project: a feature film adaptation of History Channel's long-running docuseries, Ancient Aliens. SYFY WIRE has confirmed that Josh Heald has been hired to direct the project, which is currently being autopsied... er, we mean developed at Legendary Entertainment.

Heald co-created the aforementioned Karate Kid sequel series (now streaming on Netflix) alongside Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. All three will produce the feature under their Counterbalance Entertainment banner.  Luke Ryan is penning the script and is set to executive-produce. Legendary executive Jon Jashni (Lost in Space, Godzilla vs. Kong) is also producing.

While specific plot details are being held under lock and key at Area 51, Legendary teases that the film "will be a two-handed, globe-spanning adventure featuring ancient sites and artifacts, confronting the theories and questions raised by the popular docuseries."

“Helming my first feature with this same dream team who believed in me very early in my career is incredibly special. My partners and I are fired up to produce this epic story with Mary [Parent, Legendary's Vice Chairman of Worldwide Production], Cale [Boyter, Legendary's EVP of Production], and Luke. It’s a homecoming for me personally — and another bold step for Counterbalance Entertainment,” Heald said in a statement.

Ancient Aliens, which has been on the air since 2009, explores the "ancient astronauts" theory, which asserts that early civilizations were visited by technologically-superior races from outer space. These cosmic peoples allegedly showed humanity how to build certain complex structures that are now considered "Wonders of the World" (e.g., Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza, etc.).

Swiss writer Erich von Däniken helped popularize the theory in his 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past, and the concept has been explored numerous times throughout pop culture — most notably in Alien vs. Predator, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Prometheus.

Now in its 16th season and on the verge of hitting 200 episodes, Ancient Aliens is iconic for Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. Part conspiracy theorist, part consulting producer, part UFO expert, and part talking head, Tsoukalos is one of the show's more notable hosts and even became a famous internet meme in the early 2010s. He recently made a cameo appearance as himself on SYFY's Residen Alien, where she shared a memorable scene with Alan Tudyk's Harry Vanderspeigle.

"The way that it happened was that [creator/showrunner] Chris Sheridan is, to this day, a huge fan of Ancient Aliens. He reached out to promote this to [producer] Kim Sheerin, and asked, 'Would Giorgio be interested?'," Tsoukalos recalled during an exclusive interview with SYFY WIRE. "We asked for the pilot, which — in any way, shape, or form — was nowhere near finished. But from what I saw, I liked the style. I liked the whole production of it, but especially the writing and the actors like Alan Tudyk and Sara Tomko, and Cory [Reynolds] and Elizabeth [Bowen]. I mean, what better duo can you imagine in both cases? And above all, it seemed dark and funny. And I like this combination. I agreed to do it. And I'm very happy to be part of it because I am now watching the show with my wife every Wednesday night, and I look forward to it. It's wonderful."