James Wan Signs On to Develop and Produce the Knight Rider Reboot

James Wan Signs On to Develop and Produce the Knight Rider Reboot

August 25, 2020 0 By Stephen Callahan

The classic 1980s television series Knight Rider has its detractors. Now, the material has a new producer for a planned reboot. James Wan will helm the cinematic reimagining, and he’s the perfect creative mind for the project.

Will Wan direct the reboot, though? So far, he’s announced as “developing” the project, which indicates a producer role. No word exists on whether he’ll be in the director’s chair. Hopefully, he will take on the role of director, as well.

Knight Rider was both a superhero and a car chase program. In the 1960s and 1970s, many superhero oriented television programs appeared on the small screen, to varying degrees of success. Car chase and road movies also saw popularity from the 1960s and into the 1960s. Serious films such as Bullitt (1968) and The French Connection (1971) captivated audiences with car chase drama. Burt Reynolds did his part to draw audiences to comedic car, truck, and road excursions with Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Cannonball Run (1981).

Knight Rider presented the story of a man, Michael Knight, with a mysterious past who drives a “talking” car named Kitt. Kitt can do a lot more than talk, as he can think for himself. Often, Kitt provides Michael with the right advice to beat the bad guys.

Yes, there are sci-fi elements to Knight Rider, as well. The series also has bits of then-popular TV detective programs. At its core, Knight Rider is a realistic superhero program that drew audiences captivated with good guys vs. bad buys and lots of car-centric action.

And James Wan is best-suited to handle the material. He previously directed Furious 7 and Aquaman. Wan can weave together all the elements necessary to craft the best possible film. Expect Wan to infuse his auteur sense of creativity to the mix. Wan won’t likely rehash the television series in terms of style and presentation. Wan’s creativity will likely shine through while still showing respect to the original series.

That said, if Wan only produces, a director would have say on the presentation. Expect Wan to hire someone who shares his approach and vision. And don’t rule out the chance of Wan directing the project himself, either.

Still, some changes are in order. Knight Rider was very “1980s” in style. By today’s standards, it is somewhat dated and silly. What worked for television action shows in the 1980s doesn’t necessarily translate to the modern-day silver screen. An experienced director/producer like Wan knows this, so expect the new version to be an upgraded one.

Reportedly, the reboot will maintain the “anti-establishment theme of the original.” Fans of the old series should consider that excellent news. Again, a modern update becomes necessary to ensure the reboot fits well into the current entertainment landscape. However, when the spirit of the original gets lost, a reboot often ends up disappointing. Wan wants to maintain what made the original series a cult favorite.

The following Knight Rider gained seems somewhat surprising. Initially, the series was not a big hit, although it did last four years before moving onto a successful run in syndication.

The Knight Rider movie will be a joint venture between Wan’s company Atomic Monster Productions and Spyglass Media Group. The original Knight Rider series was a product of Glen A. Larson Productions. Larson produced scores of popular TV series, and his resume lists Quincy, M.E., The Fall Guy, and Magnum, P.I., among his top successes.

A Knight Rider movie had been in development for several years. Many top Hollywood talents were previously attached to the project. The massive success of the Fast and Furious franchise likely stimulated interest in the project. Ironically, a director from the popular series now moves to make Knight Rider a movie theater reality.