It’s been more than a decade, but the movie based on classic ‘80s action/comedy TV show The A-Team finally looks like it’ll happen.
We’ve seemingly been through more script drafts than episodes of the original show and a wide variety of dream and (occasionally solid) casting choices have come and gone.
So with more casting rumours swirling, we thought we’d take a look back at the long, tough road through development hell these soldiers of fortune have taken so far…
1. “In 1972…”
While the actual A-Team’s story starts during the Vietnam War – where the titular group of Special Forces soldiers were framed for a robbery in Hanoi that was carried out under orders and thrown in a military slammer – the show itself launched in January 1983.
The brain-spawn of writer/producers Stephen J Cannell and Frank Lupo, the killer concept for the show was the group of former soldiers who, having escaped from a maximum-security prison, were mercenaries.
But these were no ordinary, gun-running/body guarding/deadly deed-doing mercenaries, oh, no: this lot were on the side of the good guys.
Yes, the eclectic group – leader Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith (George Peppard), strong man Sergeant BA “Bad Attitude” Baracus (Mr T), smooth talking fixer Lieutenant Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Dirk Benedict) and pilot/crazed loon Captain HM “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock (Dwight Schultz) – travelled together in their iconic van helping people out.
The episodes usually ran to a pattern – someone would track down the team, ask for assistance (against, say a crooked landowner looking to throw them off their property) and Hannibal & co would cook up schemes to stop the baddies.
They’d inevitably get captured and were usually locked in some sort of garage or shed, where they’d construct a tank/cannons/some other sort of weapon out of spare parts.
Then, they’d burst out, shoot everything in site (but not really kill anyone) and save the day. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Admittedly, it wasn’t always quite that simple, but that’s the basic concept for the show. There were also secondary characters, such as Colonel Decker (Lance Gault), who hunted the team during the third and fourth seasons, intending to return them to jail.
Despite network concerns that it wouldn’t be popular, the show became a huge hit and lasted for five seasons between 1983 and 1987, pumping out 98 episodes along the way.
Naturally, since Hollywood loves turning recognizable old properties into movies, a film version was somehow inevitable. But it would take a while…
Next: Universal Soldiers