Netflix has bought the film rights to comic creator Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Universe comics in a massive, seven-figure deal according to a report from Deadline. The deal gives Netflix movie rights to six of Liefeld’s titles: Brigade, Bloodstrike, Cybrid, Re-Gex, Bloodwulf, and Kaboom.
Liefeld is best known as the original co-creator of the character Deadpool alongside Fabian Nicieza, but after a falling out with Marvel, Liefeld left the company to co-found Image Comics, where he would go on to write a variety of series featuring new, original characters including Kaboom, the undead assassination team Bloodstrike, and Battlestone under his Extreme Studios branding. Netflix will draw on that franchise for its movies, although some of the other more popular Extreme books, including Youngblood, Supreme, Glory, and Prophet aren’t mentioned as being part of Netflix’s buy, making it unclear if the streaming service will be able to adapt those characters as well.
Netflix buying the rights to the Extreme Universe comics is the latest superhero acquisition for the streaming company, which also bought Mark Millar’s comic book publishing house Millarworld last year as a source of new adaptation material. It’s a move that makes sense: even if Disney isn’t said to be moving its Marvel series over from Netflix to its own streaming service when it launches next year, it’s logical that Netflix is looking to build up its own stable of superheroes that aren’t under Disney’s thumb.
The films will be overseen by Akiva Goldsman, who’ll be setting up and running a writers room to adapt the comics, similar to what he’s done in the past for the Transformers franchise, the Hasbro cinematic universe, and the Ologies series of YA books. Goldsman also infamously wrote Batman & Robin, co-wrote Batman Forever, and made his directorial debut with The Winter’s Tale, which he also wrote and produced. Goldsman is also currently working on another collaboration with Liefeld to adapt the Avengelyne comics at Paramount, which Goldsman may direct. (In Goldsman’s defense, he also has an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for A Beautiful Mind.) The partnership of Liefeld — with his stuck-in-the-‘90s mentality and polarizing work — with Goldsman (the mind who brought us the Transformers movies and Mr. Freeze’s terrible Batman & Robin puns) could be a recipe for disaster, although things are still pretty early on in the process still.
This actually marks the second time someone is trying to turn the Extreme Universe comics into a series of movies. Last year, Liefeld and Goldsman were set to work with producer Graham King and Fundamental Films to bring the comics to the big screen, but the deal didn’t pan out.