Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, the writing team behind Iron Man, are working on a re-imagining of the 1988 film (that also spawned a one-season TV series and several TV movies) Alien Nation for Fox.
The original film dealt with the integration of the alien “Newcomers” (if you were being nice – “slags” if you weren’t) into American society, several years after their enormous spaceship became stranded on Earth with its cargo of slaves, and the abusive “Overlords” – Newcomers who kept the slaves in line for an unknown authority. Detective Sykes (James Caan), a bigoted veteran of the force who just lost his partner in a shootout with Newcomers, is forced to take on the newly promoted Sam Francisco (Mandy Patinkin) – who he immediately re-dubs “George” (Newcomers were often assigned human names by bored government workers…) The two then investigate a similar crime, and find a much bigger conspiracy to exploit the aliens. Aside from the twist of the aliens, it was basically a reluctant buddy cop story.
I personally found the TV series to be a bit better than the film. As much as I like Patinkin, and Caan is perfect as a cantankerous cop, the interaction in the series, where Sykes was played by Gary Graham and Francisco by Eric Pierpoint, seemed more natural and playful. Graham’s Sykes is younger and has to address his growing affection for Newcomer neighbor Cathy (Terri Treas). It also deals a lot more with the problems of integration, Newcomer family life, and the origins of the Newcomers.
While plot details for the new version are not yet being released, it is expected that this movie will deal with the aliens’ arrival on Earth, which wasn’t really addressed in the film.
Marcum and Holloway are no strangers to re-imagining films…they were behind last year’s Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, and a remake of Highlander for Summit that is still in development.