In Robert A. Heinlein’s classic science fiction novel Starship Troopers, Johnny Rico’s name was actually “Juan” Rico, but the 1997 film turned him into a white guy. Now, a new reboot of Starship Troopers will stick closer to the novel, which probably means Rico will be Filipino again.
Though the Paul Verhoeven take on Starship Troopers is considered something of a kitsch classic among sci-fi movie fans, it’s tone and characters differ enough from the Heinlein text warrant a totally new film adaptation. According to the Hollywood Reporter producer Neal H. Moritz is gearing up to make a new Starship Troopers for Columbia Pictures. The continuity of this film will have nothing to do with the 1997 film nor any of the direct-to-video sequels. It “is said to be going back to the original Heinlein novel for an all-new take.” This means that even the intelligent alien insects — the Arachnids of Klendathu — might be completely reimagined, too.
The legacy of Starship Troopers goes way beyond the novel and the 1997 film, though. In 1959, the book arguably influenced the entire genre of military science fiction, for better or for worse. While some view Heinlein’s vision of the future in which only military personal are considered voting “citizens” to be frightening and bordering on fascist, others see the book in a more satirical light, one which critiques military organizations. Naturally, there’s a big conversation there — and Heinlein himself was a veteran — meaning the source material is rich enough to produce all sorts of contemporarily relevant adaptations. Back in 1986, James Cameron even had the entire cast of Aliens read the novel, as his space marines were modeled on the Mobile Infantry of Starship Troopers.
No release date for the reboot has been announced yet.