X-Men director may reboot pulp sci-fi hero Flash Gordon

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Apr 15, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT (Updated)

One of the more stylish directors working today might take a crack at resurrecting a pulp sci-fi legend.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, director Matthew Vaughn is in talks to direct a reboot of Flash Gordon that is being developed by 20th Century Fox. Vaughn is the filmmaker behind two of the better comics-based movies of the past five years -- X-Men: First Class and Kingsman: The Secret Service -- and has also directed Kick-Ass, the Neil Gaiman fantasy Stardust and the crime drama Layer Cake.

Flash Gordon got his start in a 1934 comic strip that was created by Alex Raymond as a direct response to a similar sci-fi adventurer, Buck Rogers. Star athlete Flash, his girlfriend Dale Arden and the scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov travel to the planet Mongo and other star systems, meeting exotic alien races and tussling with villains such as Mongo's tyrannical ruler, Ming the Merciless.

Flash blasted onto movie screens in three serials starring Buster Crabbe -- Flash Gordon (1936), Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938) and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) -- as well as a 1980 feature film (see trailer below) starring Sam J. Jones as Flash and Max von Sydow as Ming. The movie was a failure with audiences and critics but has since become a cheesy cult classic (while also featuring the iconic "Flash's Theme" by the rock band Queen). 

There were also five short-lived TV series based on the character: a live-action one in 1954; three animated versions in 1980, 1986 and 1996; and a second live-action attempt that aired on Syfy in 2007 and 2008. There have also been Flash novels, comic books and radio serials throughout the years. Perhaps most significantly, those early comics and serials influenced several generations of sci-fi writers and filmmakers. One of those was George Lucas, who was initially inspired to make Star Wars as a tribute to Flash Gordon.

Word came in 2010 and again in 2014 that a new Flash Gordon film was being planned, but there has been little heard about it until now. Fox probably hopes that Vaughn can bring new life to the venerable character in the same way that he reignited the X-Men franchise and made Kingsman into a surprise hit earlier this year.

Would you like to see Flash Gordon rocket back onto the big screen with Vaughn at the helm?