Joe Cornish’s Next Project Is Adapting Mark Millar’s Starlight

It’s been ten years since the US release of Joe Cornish’s virtually perfect film Attack the Block. In the past decade, the writer-director has only made one other movie, the sweet but slight The Kid Who Would Be King. Now, his next film is announced, and it feels a little out of left field: Deadline reports that Cornish is writing and directing the long-expected adaptation of Mark Millar and Goran Parlov’s comic Starlight.

Starlight is, in its creator’s words, Flash Gordon meets The Dark Knight. It tells the story of Duke McQueen, who saved the universe decades ago. Ever since, he’s lived a normal life on Earth, where no one believes his tales of space glory. But now someone out there needs his help again.

It seems an odd pairing, given that Millar’s adapted work tends to the hyper-violent, cynical, and sensationalist (Kick-AssWanted), and while Cornish can do violence, he’s got too much heart to be a cynic. But Starlight is a somewhat different Millar story. Millar has also described the comic as “Buzz Lightyear meets Unforgiven,” and reviewers noted that it’s a departure from the majority of his work in some ways. As a Comics Alliance review said, “Eschewing fake cynicism and the compulsion to sell comics by scandalizing his reader, he focuses on telling a good story about youth and age, second chances, and the great adventure of life.”

An adaptation of Starlight was first announced years ago, and at one point Gary Whitta was set to write the film. In 2017, Netflix bought Millarworld, Millar’s entire publishing company, but rights to Starlight were still with 20th Century Fox, which is the studio behind Cornish’s adaptation.

Deadline notes that Cornish is “always in high demand and very selective on the projects he chooses.” Other than The Kid Who Would Be King, since Attack the Block he’s only worked as a writer on The Adventures of Tintin and Ant-Man. Cornish is also attached to direct an HBO Max series adaptation of Snow Crash, but there’s been no news on that front since late 2019.

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