There are four competing Robin Hood projects in development in Hollywood at the moment, but one of them now has a genuine head start. Per Deadline, Lionsgate has signed filmmaker Otto Bathurst to take the helm of its iteration of the classic tale, Robin Hood: Origins, marking the first developing project to have a director. Bathurst is best known for establishing the tone of the BBC Two crime drama series Peaky Blinders by helming the first three episodes, but he also directed the polarizing first episode of Black Mirror—you know, the one with the pig.
Robin Hood: Origins was penned by Joby Harold, who also wrote Guy Ritchie’s upcoming gritty take on King Arthur for Warner Bros. The similarly gritty Robin Hood: Origins has been likened to The Dark Knight, as it revolves around Robin Hood returning from fighting in the Crusades to find that Sherwood Forest is overrun with corruption and evil. He subsequently forms a band of outlaws as they take matters into their own hands.
Ridley Scott attempted his own “gritty” take on the tale with his Russell Crowe-fronted origin film Robin Hood in 2010, but that movie failed to take off at the box office and interest in the property waned. Someone in Hollywood apparently figured enough time has passed, and given that the property is in the public domain (ie. free), the various studios jumped on the opportunity to jump start new franchises.
Leonardo DiCaprio is onboard to produce Robin Hood: Origins through his Appian Way banner, and Lionsgate hopes to have this ready to start production in early 2016 for good reason. Disney, Warner Bros., and Sony all have Robin Hood projects in development, with Sony having ponied up a cool $1 million for an Avengers-style shared universe pitch. Prepare to see a lot of felt hats at the multiplexes starting in about two years—assuming the first film out of the gate isn’t a total disaster, that is.