Tarzan may be hitting the screens once more. Sony has acquired film rights to the character from Edgar Rice Burrough’s estate and seeks to do a “total reinvention” of the character and breathe new life into the intellectual property.
Currently, no writer, director or producer is attached to what would be a full reinvention of the character.
Tarzan was created in 1912 and for decades, made his mark in pop culture via movies, serials, radio shows, TV shows and comic strips. The first time the character appeared on the big screen was in Tarzan of the Apes in 1918. Tarzan then made TV appearances from 1930s to 1970s before Disney’s 1999 animated hit movie. The Disney movie was later adapted into a Broadway musical.
The most recent big-screen version of the character was Warners’ The Legend of Tarzan in 2016 with Alexander Skarsgård starring. It grossed about US$350 million worldwide and expanded its scope to touch on the colonialist aspects of the original IP.
Tarzan was the son of English nobility who was raised by apes in the African jungle after his parents were marooned there and died. He had no contact with Western culture until he was grown.
So far, Sony hasn’t outlined a plan for a modern update as plans are still in the early stages. It’ll be interesting to see how Sony will take on this challenge and make a version of the tale that meets modern standards and capture modern audiences.