Hey it’s been at least three hours since we’ve heard about a film franchise being dragged out of the mothballs and beaten like the dead horse it is, so here’s this: The Wrap is reporting that New Line and producer John Davis have acquired the rights to Shaft with an eye on (all together now) a “reboot.”
It’s not like John Shaft hasn’t been through the recycling ringer before. The original 1971 film, directed by Gordon Parks and starring Richard Roundtree, was a certifiable classic of the era, winning an Oscar (for Isaac Hayes’ iconic theme), helping jumpstart the “blaxpoitation” movement, and inspiring a generation of cool. It inspired two sequels, 1972’s Shaft’s Big Score and 1973’s Shaft in Africa, and a 1973-1974 television series which all but defanged the character (and lasted a mere seven episodes). The series came back to life in 2000, when John Singleton directed a sequel/reboot starring Samuel L. Jackson as Shaft’s nephew (Roundtree briefly appeared, reprising his original role); it was a modest critical and commercial success, but the follow-ups that its ending seemed to promise never came to pass.
Until now, apparently–though The Wrap notes that we’re not yet sure whether the new film will continue the previous series or start over. But hey, never fear; producer Davis’s credits include the Predator reboot Predators, the Dr. Doolittle movies, Fat Albert, and the upcoming Victor Frankenstein and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In other words, he’s never heard a good story he wouldn’t like to tell you again.