A New Tarzan Trilogy in Development

Edgar Rice Burrough's legendary character, Tarzan, has spawned hundreds of adaptations from the original book series including over a hundred movies, not to mention comic books, television shows, cartoons, and even stage musicals.  Now Warner Bros. is developing a possible new trilogy stemming from a pitch by director Craig Brewer.  The Commercial Appeal in Minnesota has a good summary of how the project, still in its early stages, came to be, including a quote from Brewer who promises a new take on the oft-imagined Ape Man, "without necessarily the usual tropes of loincloths and swinging from a vine."

Is the world ready for another Tarzan story?  Can Brewer successfully reimagine the character and make him relevant to mainstream audiences once again?  There have been so many renditions, from the still unsurpassed Johnny Weismuller films of the 1930s and 40s and the award-winning Christopher Lambert upgrade in 1984's Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, to the bombs such as 1981's Tarzan the Ape Man starring Bo Derek as Jane and the abysmal Tarzan and the Lost City starring Casper Van Dien.  Hits have come and gone along the way, like the cult classic 1960s TV series starring Ron Ely and the Disney animated movie in 1999 (with Tarzan voiced by Tony Goldwyn).

Since the Burroughs tales are in the public domain, there will be a billion new versions of Tarzan still to come.  Craig Brewer has shown great promise as a filmmaker, helming Hustle & Flow with Terrence Howard and Anthony Anderson, Black Snake Moan with Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, and Justin Timberlake, and the upcoming remake of Footloose

I hope he can indeed make Tarzan fresh again and present the character in a whole new light for the 21st century while still staying true to the positive elements of the roots of the story.  The original books had some occasional racist and colonialist overtones, but the character has still managed to survive over the decades and entertain audiences with thrilling adventures.  Hopefully, there is life still left in Burrough's saga.

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