Samus Aran's adventures could appear on the big screen by the end of next year, following John Woo's decision to option the rights to the Metroid franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Woo plans to co-produce the movie and also has the option to direct. "This type of story has a proven track record of success with film audiences," he said, the scent of a franchise prancing around his nostrils.
Last January, Warren Zide and Craig Perry first optioned the Metroid movie, but, having allowed the rights to expire six months later, Samus' hopes of a big screen confrontation with the Mother Brain seemed to be dwindling. By the sound of it though, Woo and his team are very serious about going the whole way.
"Everyone involved is looking at this as a big-budget picture," Brad Foxhoven, who shares production duties with Terence Chang, told the Reporter. "We see a tremendous opportunity to launch a film franchise with Nintendo as a partner."
Judging by Woo's comments, this is no mere cash-in either, and although it will doubtless draw inspiration from Metroid Prime (and this year's sequel), that's by no means the extent of the movie's reach. "We are very fortunate that there is such an extensive amount of material to draw upon for the film due to there being so many iterations of the game over the years," Woo told the Reporter. The movie will apparently focus on the origins of Samus Aran, and her adventures battling Metroids and the Mother Brain.
Foxhoven said the plan is to have the movie out before 2006, which, in gaming terms, is roughly when we expect N5 hype to go into overdrive. Whether Nintendo will be aiming to get a Metroid title ready for the same time period is difficult to say, but we do know that Metroid Prime 2 will be unveiled at E3 next month, and should be out in the States by the end of the year according to a recent Nintendo of America release schedule. Closer to home, sort-of-remake title Metroid: Zero Mission is due out on the GBA in Europe this Friday, April 9th.