Duncan Jones to direct Rogue Trooper comic adaptation

The Warcraft and Moon director set to take on much-loved 2000AD character

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 05:  Director Duncan Jones attends a photocall for 'Codigo Fuente' ('Source Code') at Santo Mauro Hotel on April 5, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
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Warcraft director, and son of David Bowie, Duncan Jones has confirmed that his next movie will be an adaptation of the much-loved 2000AD comic book character Rogue Trooper.

Speculation about the subject of Jones’ next movie had been rife since he teased on Twitter on July 12: “A little nervous about this, but hell, nervous is where the fun is! I’m going to be making a comic book movie next! A pretty special one. That’s the initial tease… Second tease to come in a few days!”

That tease came on Sunday, in the form of a video. Shot from behind, Jones repeats some advice given to him by his father: "One for them, and one for me," referring to the idea that to keep sane as a successful artist you should make one personal small project for every big money spinner. It's seemingly sound advice – the disappointing, big budget Warcraft was probably Jones' weakest film as a director, when compared to projects such as Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011).

Jones continues to go through his options in the clip, debating "studio or wee indie?" He then decides on a comic book film, debating the options of Marvel and DC, before deciding to head back to the UK for inspiration, and specifically to the pages of 2000AD.

The director considers some of the comic's best-loved characters – Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Slaine and the ABC Warriors, before a dramatic closing shot in which he says the words "who, oh who should it be," simultaneously removing his hat to reveal Rogue Trooper's trademark blue Mohican. The clip closes with the subtitle "If that's not enough of a clue…"

That didn’t leave much doubt, but Jones put paid to any lingering uncertainty today when he tweeted: “I'm working on an adaption of Gerry Finley-Day & Dave Gibbons’ 2000AD comic ROGUE TROOPER!”

Who is Rogue Trooper?

Rogue Trooper, for the uninitiated, is a blue-skinned, genetically created super-soldier who stalks the scorched battle fields of “Nu Earth” with his companions Gunnar, Bagman and Helm – biochips containing the personalities of his fallen comrades which are stored in his gun, helmet and backpack respectively.

Nu Earth has been host to a war of attrition between the Norts and the Southers for many years. The associated nuclear and chemical attacks have rendered the surface of the planet uninhabitable, except to Rogue Trooper and his fellow Genetic Infantrymen, who have been engineered to be immune to chemicals and poisons, and can even survive in a vacuum.

Unfortunately, on the GI unit’s first deployment, it was betrayed, and sole survivor Rogue now wanders Nu Earth in search of the traitor responsible for his friends’ deaths.

Rogue Trooper was created in 1981 by Gerry Finley-Day and frequent Alan Moore collaborator Dave Gibbons. So far, no details have been released regarding release date, casting or storyline, although Jones did note on Twitter on Tuesday morning that he's a big fan of the War Machine storyline.

That storyline is from 1989, and sees Gibbons transplant the action to a different war, on a different planet, with a different Rogue Trooper, which would certainly be a novel way to introduce a long-running comic character to cinema audiences. Jones does, however, include the addendum “assume nothing,” so we’ll have to wait for more.


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