Call me a cynic, but I find this whole story highly suspect. Kenneth Johnson created, among other vintage hits like "The Bionic Woman", "The Incredible Hulk" and "Alien Nation", the original 1983 "V" mini-series about visitors from beyond the stars who integrate themselves into our world. Despite being the show's parent, Johnson did not retain the television rights to his series, which is why he has absolutely nothing to do with the ABC remake that will be making its debut on November 3rd, save for a "created by" credit.
However, Johnson does own the film rights to the "V" story, and according to Variety he is actively trying to create a theatrical version to compete against ABC's new offering. Now here is where my cynicism kicks in. Johnson tells Variety that, "If the show succeeds, it gives us an opportunity to go out with a one sheet that says, 'You like the show, now see the original classic reborn.' And if the show doesn't do well, we can always say, 'Here is the "V" you've been waiting for.' "
I admire his optimism, but both of those scenarios are hugely hypothetical to me. First off, sci-fi on TV has a woefully high infant mortality rate, so I'll be amazed if "V" is not only popular, but popular enough to entertain the grandiose fantasy of turning it into a summer blockbuster. And if it doesn't, I find it an even harder stretch to imagine that anyone would want to watch yet another attempt at the already-familiar material in a year's time; particularly so considering the amount of money and interest Johnson claims Hollywood already has for the in-theory film project:
"When I discovered that I controlled the motion picture rights to 'V,' I suddenly had a lot of new best friends. All the major studios, Fox, Paramount, MGM, Warners, wanted to buy the rights with a whole lot of money. They see it as a $200 million tentpole picture, and want to bring someone else to direct. I took a deep breath and said no."
Now with sci-fi suddenly hot again in theaters, I have no doubt that studios would be happy to have an arsenal of stock piled script ideas, but I do find it hard to believe that any of the studios he mentioned are dying to throw down $200 million on a property that is A) relevant only to a small group of loyalists and fans of VH1's "I Love the '80s" specials, and B) still a wild card as far as ABC's version is concerned. Sure, I can see Johnson being approached for those rights in a few months time if ABC has another "Lost" on their hands, but I find it a stretch to think studios are not only offering him "a whole lot of money", but that he turned them all down.
Most likely - and again, this is me being a self-confessed cynic - these claims are just Johnson's way to drum up buzz where there was none (the American Film Market is starting this week? What a strange coincidence..). It's noble that he'd turn down the prospect of "V" as a Transformers-budgeted summer blockbuster in favor of making a $50 million passion project, but I'll be bamboozled if it ends up happening anytime soon. Sure, Universal wants to make a new Battlestar Galactica film, but that's only after a reboot of the show spent 5 years clawing its way back into the hearts and minds of fans and critics.
After seeing the first eight minutes of ABC's "V", does anyone who isn't Kenneth Johnson honestly believe it's going to be the next BSG?