Futurama will return.
After a successful set of straight-to-DVD movies revived the once-cancelled series, Comedy Central in the US has commissioned 26 fresh episodes.
This is indeed good news because Futurama, the tale of a bunch of loons working for an intergalactic deliver service, is funnier than creator Matt Groening’s Simpsons.
Maybe not. But we love it. But what would happen if it went live action and famous directors put their stamp on it?
The director: Michael Bay
The cast: Essentially porting over some of his Transformers team, Bay hires Shia LaBeouf as slacker delivery boy Fry, pokes one of Megan Fox’s eyes out to play Leela and recruits The Rock’s Sean Connery as mad scientist Professor Farnsworth.
The plot: Bay decides that, despite one of the recent releases offering “a battle raged everywhere forever, with everything at stake”, Futurama simply hasn’t gone big enough.
When he’s with the prof’s new “embiggening” ray, Bender (voiced by original ‘toon performer John Di Maggio after fans protested Hugo Weaving taking the role over and created with 50 million moving parts by ILM) grows to the size of the Empire State Building and begins to destroy New New York.
The Planet Express crew must track down Godzilla to fight him. But Godzilla’s retired, he'sout of the game.
Can Fry convince him to come back for one more smackdown?
It’s Michael Bay. What do you think?
Next: Woody Allen...
The director: Woody Allen
The cast: Allen makes his triumphant, latex-lavished return to acting by playing Dr Zoidberg, the carrion-eating Planet Express surgeon from the Crab Nebula.
Ewan McGregor is Fry, Penelope Cruz is one-eyed sexpot Leela and Larry David is Professor Farnsworth.
The plot: It’s an Allen-flavoured tale of Zoidberg’s sexual inadequacy and craving to return to the ocean.
Loitering in clubs and bars with Farnsworth as his grouchy, elderly wingman (one of the few creatures on the planet who can make him look good), Zoidberg attempts to pick ladies, but ends up sexing some cold sushi.
Jaunty jazz theme tune remix performed by the director himself.
Next: Quentin Tarantino...
The director: Quentin Tarantino
The cast: Steve Buscemi is Fry, Uma Thurman is Leela, Lucy Liu plays Amy Wong, the sexy fellow employee.
Oh, and Samuel L Jackson as the prof.
The plot: Split into chapters, which will surprise no one.
Part One: Once Upon A Time In The Future
In which our hero tries to keep a date while still working his pizza delivery boy job for the Twiki Slice Company. He’s accidentally locked in a cryogenic chamber and awakens 3,000 years later.
Part Two: Fry’s TrekkIsh Delight
Fry meets sexy mutant lady Leela and instantly falls in love. But there’s a problem – she’s haughty and unavailable. So he “settles” for the beautiful, rich Amy. Oh, and he meets the entire classic Trek cast. Who are played by lookalikes.
Part Three: You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But It Helps
Fry’s got himself a new job – delivery boy, but this time on a spaceship.
His immediate boss is Professor Hubert J Farnsworth, who's given to bouts of temper and dodgy experiments, including putting Hitler’s brain into the body of a shark.
Part Four: Robot Blues And Greys
Fry meets alcoholic robot Bender (Brad Pitt), who takes him under his wing and invites him to join the robot mafia on a heist. It doesn’t end well.
Next: Tim Burton...
The director: Tim Burton
The cast: Johnny Depp plays Fry, Leela, Farnsworth and, thanks to some well-placed tinfoil – Bender the kleptomaniac, drunken ‘bot.
No, they don’t use performance capture. It’s Depp’s next big physical-transformation Oscar shot.
The plot: After falling on his face at the box office with the likes of Mars Attacks and Planet Of The Apes, Burton was understandably wary about returning to sci-fi.
But he was tempted back by adapting the DVD movie The Beast With A Billion Backs, in which a tentacled nasty from another dimension attempts to mate with every person on Earth simultaneously.
There is a lot of goo. It doesn’t set the box office alight.
Next: Oliver Stone...
The director: Oliver Stone
The cast: Chris Pine is Captain Zapp Brannigan, preening, posturing space pilot hero. Colin Farrell is Fry, our lazy, couch-potato hero.
Stephen Hawking plays himself.
The plot: Zapp and Fry discover a terrible conspiracy – Dr Stephen Hawking has been replaced by an evil imposter attempting to destroy the universe by convincing people that up is down, black is white and cats and dogs can peacefully co-habit.
Can the two old rivals join forces to stop him in time? And why does the film stock keep jittering and changing?
And what's with the confused, liberal-minded but oddly reactionary undertone of patriotism?
Next: Chris Nolan...
The director: Christopher Nolan
The cast: Guy Pearce takes on the role of Fry, while Katie Holmes plays Leela in the first half of the film, until Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces her. No-one comments on this.
Bender is created practically, designed in Nolan’s garage, and makes his FX team cry when they try to figure out how to make it work practically.
Oh, and Michael Caine as Farnsworth – because Nolan needs him in every film from now on.
The plot: Not content with re-creating the Batman mythology, Nolan brings his realistic style to Futurama’s fanciful world.
In this story, the futuristic society is all part of a fever dream experienced by regular delivery boy Phil Fry when he hits his head on a box of spanners.
Next: The Coens...
The director: The Coen Brothers
The cast: William H Macy is Phil Fry, delivery boy.
Frances McDormand plays Mom, the outwardly benevolent owner of Mom’s Old Fashioned Robot Oil, who turns out to be a fascistic freak lady with three goofy henchmen/sons.
The plot: Quirk and quick-fire repartee is the name of the game as the Coens go SF.
Most of the characters remain the same as in the cartoon, since they’re pretty much perfect fits for Coen types anyway.
We follow Fry on a typical mission where everything seems to go wrong for him – he loses the cargo, gets told off by the professor (JK Simmons) and loses the love of Leela when she’s swept off her feet by the sleazy Zapp Brannigan (George Clooney).
Like This? Then try...
- Why Neil Marshall Is Perfect for Predators
- 7 Blockbusters Rewritten By Charlie Kaufman
- 6 Original Casting Ideas For The A-Team
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter for the latest news, features and reviews delivered straight to your inbox.