Way back in the mists of time, January 2013 to be precise, it was announced that Dan Trachtenberg had been tapped by New Line Cinema to direct the adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s critically acclaimed “Y: The Last Man” dystopian sci-fi comic book series. For those unfamiliar with the project, briefly as per Wikipedia:
On July 17, 2002, something (referred to as a plague) simultaneously kills every living mammal possessing a Y chromosome — including embryos, fertilized eggs, and even sperm. The only exceptions appear to be a young amateur escape artist named Yorick Brown and his Capuchin monkey, Ampersand. Many women are killed from disasters caused by the men’s deaths.
Society is plunged into chaos as infrastructures collapse, and the surviving women everywhere try to cope with the loss of the men, and the belief that, barring a rapid, major scientific breakthrough or other extraordinary happening, humanity is doomed to extinction.
However since that announcement very little was heard of the adaption or how far along it was in the development process. Until now, and it’s not good news. This is how the movie ends, not with a bang, but with a tweet…
Well colour me disappointed. Following that tweet, Slashfilm reached out to Trachtenberg to get a bit more information on the cancellation and he gave a fairly lengthy response.
“The rights reverted back to Brian quite a few months ago. I had such a great time working on that project and am truly sad the things we were cooking up can no longer happen.
Like everyone else who’s a fan of the series I had always wished it either remain in its comic book form. Or, if it must be made, a TV series would be the only thing that would suffice.
However, the “big screen” and the “small screen” has changed drastically since Y came out and I think so much of the great TV in our current “golden age” has been directly or indirectly inspired by Y the Last Man. I started getting excited about bringing to the BIG screen what we’ve been getting in TV so readily now— great characters, RELATIONSHIPS, world building and genre re-combination.
Truly- I was excited to make an ADVENTURE movie, with swashbuckle, that was fun and funny but had something to say. Which is something that is distinctly BKV. Having real, true, honest ,people stuff amidst the big, fun, action stuff. We were in many ways quite faithful to the comic, though some characters were combined and some events re-arranged and some brief moments of action we dug into to create bigger action/adventure sequences.
The script was essentially the first two trades. 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. Willow and Ladyhawke I may have referenced a little too often…
In the end, working with all the producers and the writers was a great experience. And getting to meet Brian, who has been such an inspiration to me over the years was incredible. He’s as great a person as he is a writer. And now Y the Last Man is back where it should be, with its creator.
I’m not sure Brian will ever want to do anything more with it and I’m not sure that he needs to. His latest comics SAGA and THE PRIVATE EYE are great and we should be reading them. His “never-been-made” screenplays are some of my favorite reads ever (Roundtable, specifically). I hope we can convince him to write us some more awesome original movies and TV— but I think comics is where his heart lies.
Alas…we will always have that thing we fell in love with— that’s not going anywhere…
While Trachtenberg wouldn’t be drawn on specifics why the movie was cancelled, he did imply that it wasn’t because of script issues, budgeting or casting.
This is the second failed attempt to develop a movie based on the property, with director DJ Caruso bowing out of the project in late 2010. He’d previously echoed Trachtenberg’s comments that it may just be too big to do properly as a movie and might be better suited for television.
Feminists everywhere must be devastated that their utopia won’t see the light of day (joke!). How do you feel about this cancellation? Do you agree that it would be better off as a TV series as both directors have suggested?
Last Updated: September 26, 2014