While the announced movie reboot of Starship Troopers won’t be reassembling the team involved in making director Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 cult classic, a new TV refresh could pick up the franchise with Casper Van Dien and other members of the first film’s cast, according to a new report.
HN|Entertainment recently featured an interview with original Starship Troopers screenwriter Ed Neumeier, which includes his tentative remarks about the possibility of a television revival. Asked whether Van Dien could revisit the role of Johnny Rico for the small screen alongside other cast members, Neumeier reportedly sounded cautiously optimistic.
“I don’t want to jinx anything, but we are talking about trying to do a television show that is based on that idea,” Neumeier reportedly said, adding later that a newer, CGI-heavy movie treatment may have a hard time living up to expectations without the talents of Van Dien, Jake Busey (Ace Levy), Dina Meyer (Dizzy Flores), and Denise Richards (Carmen Ibanez).
“Well, I have mixed feelings about it [the reboot] because I think that what we did with the first Starship is almost not repeatable in a way…The spectacle of the giant creatures and the ridiculous bloodshed, all that stuff, I don’t know if in this world of CG where you can do all that stuff pretty easily seeing a bunch of creatures fighting might not be interesting enough right now, for me. But other people might like it.”
The first film’s heady mix of a character-defining cast, Verhoeven’s political and social satire, and Neumeier’s sharp writing makes Starship Troopers the kind of sci-fi franchise that’s at its best when all the pieces that made it work in the first place can fall back into place. Verhoeven and Neumeier made exactly that point with RoboCop, a landmark 1987 film that eventually spawned a 2014 reboot — one that received mixed reviews.
Neumeier reportedly touched on the power of sticking with what works, reviewing his collaboration with Van Dien on the original movie, as well as follow-ups like Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008) and the more recent animated feature Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars (2017).
“I’ve written all sorts of things with Casper now as Johnny Rico and it’s a gas to write him because he gives you that character, he gives you more than you think, as soon as he shows up, the tone comes with him a little bit,” Neumeier reportedly said. “I think it’s because he’s ridiculously handsome, he’s got this boyish can-do attitude, which is what Johnny Rico is, and a lot of the brand comes with him. It’s been to easy to dismiss these things in the past. Sometimes you can reboot something, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right.”
SYFY WIRE has reached out to Neumeier for comment.