Robert Zemeckis

Development round-up: Cobra Kai renewed, Zemeckis series green-lit, evil elf movie picked up

Contributed by
May 10, 2018

A new series with strong Lost vibes and executive produced by Robert Zemeckis leads today's development round-up.

The show is called Manifest and Deadline reports that NBC has ordered the series into production after the pilot apparently got a strong response from execs at the network. The premise follows Montego Air Flight 828, which lands safely after a turbulent flight only for the crew and passengers to discover that five years have passed and that their friends, families and co-workers have all mourned them and moved on with their lives.

Of course there's a bigger mystery behind it all as the people of Flight 828 begin to realize that they may have been brought back to the world to serve a greater purpose.

The pilot was directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) and the cast includes Melissa Roxburgh (Star Trek Beyond), Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time), Athena Karkanis (The Expanse), J.R. Ramirez (Jessica Jones) and others. By the way, this isn't the only series Zemeckis (Back to the Future) is shepherding to the screen; he's also behind Blue Book, an upcoming History show about the U.S. Air Force's secret investigation of UFOs in the 1950s and 1960s.


Cobra Kai

Credit: YouTube Red

Meanwhile, YouTube Red's highly successful sequel to The Karate Kid, Cobra Kai, has been renewed by the streaming service for a second season.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of the renewal just days after the show debuted in early May and earned more than 20 million views — according to YouTube, which, like other streaming services, does not release the actual figures.

The half-hour series features Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles from the original movie and is set 30 years later, with Zabka's Johnny reopening the title dojo and relaunching his rivalry with Macchio's Daniel, who has had success in life but is not exactly doing that well with himself.

Season 2 will consist of another 10 episodes and will start shooting in the fall, with a 2019 premiere on YouTube Red in sight.


Last but certainly not least, the Filmula production company has picked up a script called Escape from the North Pole. Sadly, it's not a follow-up to John Carpenter's Escape from New York and Escape from L.A.

Instead, it's the tale of a young girl who is abducted by an evil elf named Bucklebee just after being informed that Santa Claus isn't real. But the girl escapes and teams up with a good elf, a reindeer and a Russian explorer to rescue Santa and save the North Pole from Bucklebee and his legion of bad elves. Maybe Carpenter could write Snake Plissken onto the team somehow and direct the thing after all?

According to Deadline, the script by Paul Laudiero and Ben Baker made Hollywood's Black List of the best unproduced screenplays. Filmula will finance and produce the movie, but will likely seek out a major studio for distribution.

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