I wouldn’t be surprised if you have no idea who Duke Nukem even is is — that’s how hard the classic video game franchise collapsed a decade ago. Today, the character is best known as a punch line to jokes about vaporware in video games, about how Duke Nukem Forever Spent 14 years in development hell to become a huge flop.
And yet Duke’s business owners have been whispering for years that a movie is coming, culminating in The Hollywood ReporterToday’s Story: Legendary Entertainment Tapped Cobra Kai creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg to actually make a feature film.
I don’t really know how to respond! As a gamer who actually quite liked Duke Nukem† Duke Nukem II and Duke Nukem 3D, I absolutely agree that this movie should never be made because Duke Nukem has no depth and no story and was always designed to be a caricature. (Side note: The famous quote about chewing gum and running out of gum at all? Like most of Duke’s other quotes, it comes from the movies they based it on.)
But did you? seen Cobra Kaithe karate kid spin-off that reunites the original actors for a TV series that’s been over for four seasons and perhaps deserves a sequel? We were skeptical at first, but after a handful of episodes I had to admit they found something worth watching.
if everybody can redeem an old, embarrassingly machismo and often callous franchise that has become totally irrelevant to the modern era, it’s these people. They have a whole script.
Previous producers who were attached to a Duke Nukem movie, when John Cena was set to star, also understood that it would be a tough sell – in 2018 they told CinemaBlend that they should pull Deadpool to get the tone right, admitting that they “struggled” with how to make the misogynistic character “cute and sweet” and “an unbelievably badass” at the same time. (There were also previous attempts at a Duke Nukem movie in the late ’90s, 2001 and 2008, according to Wikipedia.)
Since 2018 there are plans for a movie been out and again, possibly due to the status of Duke Nukem’s intellectual property rights. Embracer Group, which this week saw Saudi Arabia buy a $1 billion stake in the company, bought Gearbox Software in February last year, and it also bought the owner of 3D Realms last August. Before that, Gearbox and 3D Realms had fought for the better part of a decade over who actually owned which parts of Duke Nukem in a series of lawsuits, but now they all fall under the same umbrella – which, like Rock Paper Shotgun points, paving the way for a Duke Nukem revival.
But my question is: which Duke will return? Here’s the hope that the Cobra Kai creators remember there was a time before the ugliness of Duke Nukem 3D. Remember when men were pixelated, enemies robots and food consisted of a turkey leg that turned into a whole turkey when you shot at it with a laser gun? Those were the days.