Much like Duke Nukem Forever, a film based on the foul-mouthed first-person shooter legend has been long in the works in some form. Even before Gearbox took over the franchise from original creators 3D Realms, fans of the games have speculated about the character’s seemingly inevitable silver screen debut. We’ve gotten to 2022 without a Duke Nukem film so far, but that’s seemingly about to change. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Legendary Entertainment is teaming with the creators of Cobra Kai to finally fulfill the dreams of ’90s teenagers everywhere and develop a film based on the character.
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Cobra Kai creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg are all set to produce the film under their Counterbalance Entertainment banner along with Legendary Entertainment. Jean-Julien Baronnet will also be a producer and previously worked on the widely panned Assassin’s Creed film from 2016. The team is still searching for a writer and director, but The Hollywood Reporter claims that “the door is open” for any of the three from Counterbalance to direct.
Heald, Hurtwitz, and Schlossberg all helped turn Karate Kid bully Johnny Lawrence into a relatable hero heading a hit series. Modernizing a character like that seems like a natural fit for Duke Nukem, a character that reads like a parody of a parody in today’s climate.
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Gearbox Software currently has the rights to the franchise, using him sparingly in guest spots after Duke Nukem Forever‘s release in 2011. It sold the movie rights to Legendary after years of trying to get a Duke movie off the ground that starred John Cena. However, the publisher is still in the Hollywood mix thanks to the upcoming Borderlands film.
Duke Nukem 3D was one of the major early releases in the first-person shooter genre. He gained popularity not just for the highly interactable world he shot his way through, but also for his tendency to frequent strip clubs and quote action movies. While he has featured in several other games since like Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, none have risen to the importance of this initial shooter.