CBMB: Y: The Last Man Film Rights Revert to Creators | FanboysInc

CBMB: Y: The Last Man Film Rights Revert to Creators

By Muuka Muyumba

Sort of quietly, the rights to Y: The Last Man, the film version of Pia Guerra and Brian K. Vaughn‘s Talmudic graphic novel about the last man on the earth reverted back to the creator after a lack of progressive development on the film front.

Y: The Last Man is the story of Yorick Brown who is a lay-about and an amateur escape artist who is believed to the last human male on Earth after a “plague” hits. Y remains a touchstone for many in the comics/fanboy community as it was an epic saga, artfully drawn with a compelling drama about the last man on earth, his monkey, and the women chasing him down.

The series ran from September 2002 to March 2008 under the Vertigo imprint, and would go on to receive 5 Eisner Awards.

New Line Cinema owned the film rights and an adaptation has been proposed several times and has come close to production on a few occasions. In July of 2007, actor Shia LaBeouf, screenwriter Carl Ellsworth and director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) were attached to the film with David S. Goyer as a producer. LaBeouf was at the height of his popularity and seemed to have the juice to get it made, but it never happened.

Zachary Levi (Tangled, Thor: The Dark World) had also been a very vocal champion for the role and a filmed adaptation of the book, even slipping in Easter eggs about the book into his NBC show Chuck.

Caruso continued to be attached the project for years, but was adamant that this story could not be told simply in 2 hours. The epic nature of the story has been a major part of the problem with the initial development.

So, the pitch became one for television with names like director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk, Now You See Me) and Jericho writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia throwing their hats into the ring.

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If the movie (or serialized TV adaptation) had taken off director Dan Trachtenberg was attached to helm the project. However, Trachtenberg recently confirmed the reversion of the property to the creators, bringing an end to the long-developing adaptation.

“I’m not sure Brian will ever want to do anything more with it,” Trachtenberg told Slashfilm, “and I’m not sure that he needs to.” He also revealed “Y” would have been an adventure movie that “essentially” adapted the first two comics collections: “Taking inspiration from the original Star Wars (Episode 4) — we wanted to tell a complete story … but not the whole story. Hoping that, in success, we could get tell the rest of our serialized adventure. Raiders of the Lost Ark was referenced a lot. Midnight Run and Big Trouble in Little China were referenced a lot.”

Vaughan signaled in January to CBR News that a rights reversion was imminent, explaining, “It’s my understanding that the rights to Y: The Last Man will revert back to co-creator Pia Guerra and me for the first time in a decade if the planned New Line adaptation doesn’t start shooting in the next few months, so I expect there will be some ‘Y’ news in 2014 either way.”

So now, where does that leave the project? Time will tell, but executives and creatives go into it knowing that the more time the wait, the more Y fades from public consciousness. One major positive note for the project is the success of The Walking Dead on AMC.

AMC has parlayed the graphic novel into a mega-TV-hit before, and could be looking for something that could fill its shoes when the zombies finally amble off. If not AMC, then there are more outlets producing original content than when The Walking Dead began. Outlets like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Sony Playstation offer opportunities in digital on-demand content. Traditional cablers like Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz have also expanded their market share by investing in compelling dramatic television like Penny Dreadful, Homeland, Banshee, Outlander, and The Knick.

And, there’s always the old standby in HBO which could suit the truest version of Y in cost and quality.

The focus of much of the content production of late has been investing in the filmmakers and the subject matter and worrying about the audience later. now that Guerra and Vaughn have the rights again, they can now walk into those places with the vision for the filmic adaptation and know that suits are more likely to grant them weight, rather than popcorn movie makers like Caruso or Leterrier.

Where do you see this project going? Do you believe that Y needs a film? Would you rather see Y as a TV series?