As the endless quest to re-adapt every one of our childhood animated programs into some kind of feature film enterprise reaches its logical conclusion, we find ourselves with something of a dearth of remaining products. I mean really—who (besides the nerdiest of us) is clamoring for a live-action version of The Herculoids right now?
Jonny Quest, however—that brand might still have a little bit of cache. The Wrap is reporting that Chris McKay, director of The Lego Batman Movie, will be directing a live-action adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon for Warner Bros.
In case you don’t remember, the Jonny Quest cartoon began its life in the mid ‘60s as a primetime animated series, ‘ala The Flintstones, and drew heavy inspiration from the adventure serials of several decades earlier. The story revolves around classic “boy adventurer” Jonny Quest, who travels the world with his Doc Savage-esque scientist father, personal bodyguard/secret agent Race Bannon, and best friend/adopted Indian brother Hadji. The series was not exactly known for its subtlety or consideration—Hadji, being Indian, had the power to levitate ropes for some reason—but it stands as a classic example of children’s adventure programming, and one that survived in endless re-runs on Cartoon Network in the ‘90s. According to The Wrap, “a major movie star is being eyed to place Race Bannon.” What’s your dream casting for such a role? We’re thinking … Jason Statham? Dwayne Johnson? You could do worse, right?
Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention that Jonny Quest also served as an obvious inspiration to Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros. in more recent years, with “action Jonny” and Race Bannon actually appearing on that show as characters.
In anticipation of the film, the Warner Archives will release the entire Jonny Quest animated collection on Blu-ray for the first time in 2020.
McKay stepped in as director after previous pick Robert Rodriguez apparently stepped down from the job. McKay has a lot of big projects on the horizon—he’s also attached to direct the live-action version of Nightwing for Warner Bros., based on the grown-up version of former Robin Dick Grayson. Additionally, he’s also apparently directing a Dungeons & Dragons film for Paramount.
Will there be time for Jonny Quest, with such a full slate? Let’s hope so, Saturday morning cartoon fanatics.