Could Eve Survive the Cinema?

EVE: Blood of the Empires Promotional Poster
Tom Hardy is the Pirate
Over the years I've had some fun imagining Eve as a television series (like above) or as a film. I've made fake movie posters, teased Ridley Scott pictures on Twitter, and created funny one-offs from time to time. I do this because, like I suspect most of you do, I think the idea sounds amazing. Who wouldn't want to see Eve on the big screen in the theater or the big screen at home? And we know the idea has merit because we continue to hear that such an idea is "in development". I heard it myself at Fanfest again this year from Torfi himself. And he would know.

Last I heard Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions had the rights and that Icelandic Director (who most recently directed 2015's Everest) Baltasar Kormákur was involved somehow. The word from Fanfest hasn't changed much in the intervening years. "These things take time", "Rome wasn't built in a day", etc. Which is all true. Some properties can take decades and decades to be produced. I was just reading a story about Cowboy Bebop's decades long development. There are hundreds of examples like that.

So what is the problem? What is taking so long? I have zero inside information. Other than a life-long interest in film production, thousands of television commercials, three failed television pilots, one almost (so close) greenlit film script, and a brief movie review career - I know nothing. But I can make a few educated guesses. A thought experiment. Why not? 

The biggest hurdle in my mind right now is that Eve is a video game. And video game based films and television productions have a nasty history of failure. Every time one comes along you'll hear the same things being said, "This is the one!" Most recently that happened in the run-up to the release of Assassins Creed last year. And despite Michael Fassbender's obvious passion, that film didn't exactly light the world on fire. I haven't even seen it myself yet, and that should tell you everything you need to know. (I will eventually!) I have my own theories on why video game films tend to do poorly, but let's just go with the accepted reality that they have pretty much failed to live up to expectations in the past.

Ok so combine that with the other obvious issue - cost. Science fiction is expensive. Even for television. So even a modestly budgeted Eve film would land in the $120-175 million dollar range, a TV show maybe in the Game of Thrones range of 7-10 million per episode. An Eve based production could be made for less, or made for much more, the point is that it is going to cost something. Plus marketing and publicity. It is after all, an investment.

So combine an unproven genre with expensive production and you get major roadblocks. All of which brings us to another issue that I think needs to be addressed - the Pod. One of the things that the new Frigates of Eve book settles once and for all is the long-gestating argument amongst Eve nerds regarding the "space captain" idea. One I've written about extensively here in the past. For those not aware, the argument raged between different camps for years. Did your space captain walk around in the ship? Did they have a crew? Are you trapped inside your Pod all the time? Or a million other variations. The lore strongly leaned one way or the other, often contradicting itself depending on when it was written. But I think the FoE book has finally settled it. You are in your Pod the whole time.

And while that is a cool science-fiction based futuristic whatnot for us, looking at the outside of our ships 24/7 - it doesn't make for a very cinematic answer. Tom Hardy is not going to spend 45 minutes of a movie floating naked in green goo doing voice over work while his body twitches every so often. Ain't gonna happen.

And obviously that would have to be changed for any potential story.

None of which means anything really. The fact is that Eve has all the potential in the world to be the basis of tremendous stories set in an exciting and different science-fiction universe. It would be, and could be, incredible. We all know this. But will it ever be given the chance?

I hope so. My fingers have been crossed for so long they are turning black.


PS: If I had my way it'd be a 10 episode limited series on HBO or another premium network.


16 comments:

  1. The scary thing is, Nick Cage would be available (and cheap!) for Angry Concord Man

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    1. That is sad when you say it like that.

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  2. Well I think an eve movie would be amazing! you could also ask ccp to do a fan based version and and make a group. This is being done at the moment with warhammer 40,000 http://preview.thelordinquisitor.com

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    1. I tried this already, they were not interested.

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  3. You mean "Clear Skies" 1-3 weren't the Eve movies you wanted?!?!?!?!?! ;-)

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  4. Tell a good story and that will work in ANY setting. Yet the more it could work in ANY setting it would be LESS of a EVE story.

    EVE is a videogame. It's about spaceships behaving like videogame players. Nobody wants to watch someone playing a videogame, let alone someone who's a spaceship. Interesting stories usually involve human beings (or humanized beings). The moment all you see in EVE the videogame it's s spaceship, either you put eyes and a mouth on them and make the spaceship play the role of their comamnders as humanized beings, or it will not be a EVE story.

    Your story involves being outside of a pod within a spaceship? That's not EVE (thanks, Incarna). Your story involves anything else than gratuitous griefing? Sorry, that's not EVE.

    Because EVE is a videogame. You play it, you aren't told it.

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    1. That is pretty much the beginning of my theory on why video game movies haven't done well in theaters, they are a participatory medium.

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  5. If anything would be shot I think you'd see like an EVE-Gate like film similar to what we saw with WoW. Origin stories sell - plus it is more digestable for normies?

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    1. It isn't a bad story to base a movie around, the only problem is it isn't really Eve as it exists now.

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  6. The Expanse is a great EVE-like SciFi series with a self-contained plot. Production cost seem pretty small, yes it has CGI but much is filmed in-doors with cheesy BB5-style props. Still a great show and please dont get me started on Firefly.

    Point is, a SciFi show doesnt have to be expensive at all (a feature film does, sure).

    The point where I do strongly disagree with you is where you compare EVE with Assasin's creed or other Game->Movie ventures. EVE doesn't have a linear game narrative. EVE isn't a book you read, its a book you write. Thus, EVE is the screen onto which to project the story, not the story itself. Take any ordinary SciFi story, it can be set in New Eden.

    My big question however is "why". CCP can't even get behind the concept that a fanstore provides money _and_ marketing. What makes anyone think they could use a movie to drive sustaining revenue (=subscriptions)?

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    1. A big part of my "game/movie" theory revolves around the idea that people keep trying to replicate a participatory experience onto a non-participatory experience. Instead of setting one inside the world of the other and telling a compelling story. So yes, I agree that great stories set inside of New Eden can or could work very well.

      Your last point has perplexed me for nearly a decade, so I don't have an answer.

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  7. I think a better way to do an EVE TV series would be to have the main character be a regular pilot and the capsuleer be either a faceless antagonist who runs the opposing forces from behind the scenes or just a random force of nature that turns up on occasion doing their own thing and has to be dealt with or avoided.

    For the second option I'm thinking more in terms of how Firefly used the Reavers, they were never an active force one way or the other just s group whos actions occasionally crossed over with the main crew.

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  8. As much as I would love to watch an EVE movie or series, one of CCP's big problems in the past is when they let their egos get in the way of good fiscal sense. I think such a project would skate close that. The chances of EVE being able to compete for advertising dollars with properties like, say The Expanse, are kinda slim in my opinion.

    But that said, they could get around the pilots being in pods all the time the same way some of the RP'ers do it in game: they could be presented by holo-drones as lifelike advanced moving projections with sophisticated two way comms to support talking with others.

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  9. I would even like to see it in the style of the good trailers (like this is eve) mixed with Roughnecks: Starship troopers - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190198/ that would cost less than the "proper" film

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    1. OR... run it is the style of the trailers, but more like the Carl Sagen series Cosmos where you fly through the galaxy and witness massive battles, small fights, citadels, moon mining, POS, in fact all the elements that make up eve as a documentary almost.

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