Hollywood is once again on the starting blocks to make a Duke Nukem film. This time, the makers of The Karate Kid-based television series Cobra Kai have been asked to take the helm. There is no release date yet.
The makers of Cobra Kai are Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. The production house behind the film is Legendary Entertainment, which produces many successful, big-budget films has to his name† Assassin’s Creed film producer Jean Julien Baronnet of the game film production house Marla Studios is also associated with the project† There isn’t a writer and director yet, nor an actor to play Duke Nukem.
It’s not the first time Hollywood plans to make a Duke Nukem movie. In 2018, Paramount Pictures wanted to make a Duke Nukem movie starring wrestler John Cena in the title role and Michael Bay as director. It seems to have stranded somewhere in 2019, according to a tweet from Duke voice actor John St. Johnexcavated by The Verge† Another find from that site: a interview from 2018 with the producers of the Duke movie that Cena would star in. In it they discuss the challenges of making a film today with Duke’s attitude towards women and political correctness. Then they looked to the hit Deadpool movie for inspiration.
Part of what made Duke Nukem a hard-to-make movie was that the rights belonged to different parties. They were partly at Gearbox Software and partly at 3D Realms. Those parties are respectively responsible for Duke Nukem Forever and Duke Nukem 3D. Back and forth there have also been lawsuits to determine who now is the rightful owner of Duke. However, both parties have become victims of the merger and acquisition craze that the gaming industry is currently experiencing: the two have been bought by the Embracer Group. This seems to end the discussion about who the rightful owner is.
Duke Nukem began its existence as a platform game in 1991. There Duke fought against the robot armies of Dr. Proton, who wanted to destroy the world. Duke Nukem II was also a platformer, but here the aliens came into the picture as the villains. Duke Nukem 3D came out in 1996 and picks up where part 2 left off. Aliens have invaded Los Angeles and it’s up to Duke to stop them. The third part was much loved and is known for its interactive game world, fluid gameplay, references to pop culture and coarse tone. The sequel Duke Nukem Forever came from another studio, Gearbox Software, and was not a success.