Mark Millar's Starlight

The ‘Starlight’ Movie Will Explore the Softer Side of Mark Millar’s Storytelling

Joe Cornish is a special talent, but he’s picky with his projects. After winning all of the plaudits with 2010’s Attack the Block, he waited nine years to unleash his second feature in the form of The Kid Who Would Be King. Both films are delightful, proving that quality is much better than quantity at the end of the day. That said, who doesn’t want more Cornish movies? Well, the good news is that he’s more adamant to get some projects off the ground in the near future. In fact, he’s currently working on adaptations of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Mark Millar‘s Starlight. Let’s talk about the latter.

According to Deadline, Cornish will write and direct the film version of the space opera for 20th Century Studios. Mark Millar’s Starlight centres on Duke McQueen, an ageing space adventurer who saved the universe 35 years ago, only to return to Earth to discover that his efforts went unnoticed. He married, had a family and grew old. However, much like Bilbo Baggins before him, the hero longs for more adventures. When his old rocket ship suddenly appears, he decides to take one last trip into outer space.

Most of Millar’s work is full of over-the-top violence and gratuitous moments. Starlight is more wholesome, though. While the series does subvert familiar space opera tropes to great effect, Starlight is surprisingly earnest in its approach to the subject matter. It’s an ode to old-school science fiction that grapples with mature subjects such as ageing, loss, and family. The cynicism and sensationalism that made Miller a household name take a backseat to emotional storytelling with a heart.

Starlight was inspired by the Saturday morning serials and pulpy sci-fi stories that Millar grew up loving — John Carter, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, etc. Those tales depicted their own wholesome heroes embarking on quests across the galaxy, but the stories were more concerned with the outer space element. Starlight certainly embraces those qualities of the genre, but it’s different as Duke is a hero who came back to Earth and lived a life. And that meant dealing with experiences that don’t often come up in stories about galaxies far, far away.

Millar’s penchant for controversy and pushing the envelope is certainly appealing, but he’s a much more versatile writer than he’s given credit for sometimes. Starlight is proof of that. The story still contains some scenes of violence, especially when Duke overthrows a totalitarian regime. There are exploding heads and people being sliced by lasers. But Starlight is fairly inoffensive for the most part.

Cornish is also the ideal filmmaker to helm this adaptation as his movies contain plenty of heart in their own right. The Kid Who Would Be King is utterly delightful and heartfelt, while Attack the Block demonstrates his knack for delivering entertaining sci-fi yarns. He knows how to provide exciting thrills while tapping into human sentiment, and that’s the type of director that the Starlight movie needs.

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