Steven Spielberg is jumping straight into the world of DC Comics. The iconic filmmaker is tackling the World War II action-adventure hero Blackhawk! Spielberg, along with Amblin Entertainment, will produce Blackhawk for Warner Bros. This move reteams him with the same studio behind Ready Player One.
David Koepp, who’s worked with Spielberg for years, is penning the script. Koepp wrote blockbusters Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Blackhawk debuted in 1941’s Military Comics #1. Blackhawk was not originally part of DC, in fact, it was published originally by Quality Comics until DC acquired the property in 1956. The comic was co-created by legend Will Eisner, along with Bob Powell and Chuck Cuidera. It was one of the biggest sellers in the ’40s. The series seems tailor-made for the filmmaker behind the Indiana Jones movies. The series itself told of an international squadron of heroic pilots led by Blackhawk who fought the Nazis and their ilk in WWII.
Blackhawk has seen a multitude of changes over the years, including a lull in publication during the ’70s. The Blackhawk Squadron were a group of pilots from across teh globe who used German planes to strike attacks against Nazi and Nazi-allied forces during World War II. The characters began rather, ah, politically incorrect with names like “Olaf”, “André”, and most terribly, “Chop-Chop”. These names were supposed to denote their countries of origins, and they were changed later on to reverse the latent xenophobia of the characters’ early appearances. The names would change along with the character traits. Chop-Chop became Weng Chan, and Olaf went from being nothing but a muscle man to Olaf Friedriksen the radio operator.
In 1959, a new character was announced in Lady Blackhawk who changed multiple times during the revisionist takes of the team. She was not a full member for quite some time, and she instead sat on the sidelines. She thrown to the present day in a 1990s story from the 1940s, and she later became a member of the Birds of Prey team which is actually being developed as its own movie as well.
The original Blackhawk comic continued through 1984 with two breaks in publication and very few shifts in focus during the initial 40 year run. During the 1967-68 Batmania phase, the team abandoned the aviator angle to become superheroes. Another change entered when in 1976, the team was moved to a contemporary setting where they became mercenaries-for-hire in a six issue set before the title hit a second hiatus due to a fall in sales.
The rumors of a potential film adaption by Spielberg were what got Blackhawk revived in 1982 with a revamp of the characters back in WWII with their original Axis-fighting purpose. The Blackhawk squadron survived through the ever shifting comic market that was moving towards a superhero dominance, and saw many new series launches throughout the years. Including a mini-series in 1988 by writer/artist Howard Chaykin, then saw a run in the short-lived anthology Action Comics Weekly, and a 1989 monthly series called Blackhawk.
Spielberg is to produce the film with Kristie Macosko Krieger under the Amblin Entertainment banner, while Sue Kroll will be an executive producer under her Kroll & Co. Entertainment shingle.
“We are so proud to be the studio behind Steven Spielberg’s latest hit, and are thrilled to be working with him again on this new action adventure,” said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “We can’t wait to see what new ground he will break in introducing ‘Blackhawk’ to movie audiences worldwide.”
Spielberg is still on track to make Indiana Jones 5 his next film. Ready Player One has made over $476 million worldwide since its March 29 opening.