One of the more interesting big-studio stories developing in the film world over the past few years is Sony’s ongoing struggle to find the sure-thing franchise capable of carrying them into the new era of mega-properties. To be sure, every studio is now in the business of trying to approach what Disney has built with Marvel/Star Wars/Disney in and of itself, but Sony’s film division has struggled more publicly than most. Its biggest hit of 2016, Ghostbusters was mired in endless controversy, Spider-Man is undergoing its second reset in less than a decade this summer, Men in Black and the Jump Street movies are both in limbo after that rumored mash-up project fell by the wayside, and even the lucrative distribution rights to the James Bond series are still up for grabs as of this writing.
In attempting to find a way forward, the studio has frequently looked to its past successes, and so news has emerged that TriStar (a Sony company) will revisit the ’80s cult classic Labyrinth, with Don’t Breathe‘s Fede Alvarez slated to co-write and direct. As Deadline reports, Alvarez will start work on the film after finishing production on the second Lisbeth Salander movie The Girl in the Spider’s Web; his co-writer on that film, Jay Basu, will also team with him on the new Labyrinth project.
Now, before the panic of another remake sets in, Deadline mentions that the project appears to be going the route of an in-universe continuation like Jurassic World, rather than rebooting the film outright or following it directly: “Insiders stress that what they will do with Labyrinth…is create a new story within the universe created in the original movie and that it is not a remake; indeed it sounds more like a spinoff than a sequel.”
It’s a spinoff without the possibility of David Bowie reprising his iconic role as Jareth the Goblin King, so it’s already a dicey proposition from the jump, but Alvarez has emerged as a filmmaker to watch between Don’t Breathe and his deliriously bloody Evil Dead remake, so it’s entirely possible that he could make something equally unique in the Jim Henson-created world. The announcement also quotes Alvarez on the project: “Labyrinth is one of the seminal movies from my childhood that made me fall in love with filmmaking. I couldn’t be more thrilled to expand on Jim Henson’s mesmerizing universe, and take a new generation of moviegoers back into the Labyrinth.”
Considering that production won’t begin until after The Girl in the Spider’s Web, it’ll likely be a while before more details emerge about what the new film will be and how closely it’ll resemble the original. But in the meantime, we’ll always have the Magic Dance: