By Darren Franich
December 11, 2016 at 12:30 PM EST
King Features Syndicate Inc/
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Eighty years ago, polo-playing Yalie Flash Gordon first appeared in his own comic strip in newspapers throughout the country. No one under the age of 20 understands half the words in that sentence, yet Flash Gordon endures. Originally created by Alex Raymond as a ’30s-era pulp hero, the character inspired the retroactively beloved 1980 film and, more recently, a shortlived sci-fi series. The strip itself ran through the mid-’00s (you can get a closer look at it here) — and he could be staging a return trip to the big screen: EW has confirmed the news, originally uncovered by The Hollywood Reporter, that Fox has made a deal with producer John Davis for the screen rights to Flash Gordon, with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay currently working on the script.

It’s hard to know what a Flash Gordon movie would look like in modern-day Hollywood. The original Raymond strips were hugely influential in defining the aesthetic of midcentury science-fiction — spires! so many spires! — but, much like the ill-fated John Carter of Mars adaptation, it’s also an extremely stylized take on the genre, freely mixing science-fiction and fantasy elements with capes and skiing interludes. (Edgar Wright is a big fan.)

Since J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are currently working on the next Star Trek sequel, it seems more likely that Fox is conceiving of Flash Gordon as a potential competitor in Hollywood’s new space race, what with Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars VII, and Star Trek 11/3. Or maybe this is all just a cover for Prometheus 2? Anyhow, one thing’s for sure: Wahlberg’s excited.

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