Netflix’s ‘Gears of War’ Movie Taps ‘Dune’ and ‘Doctor Strange’ Writer Jon Spaihts (EXCLUSIVE)

Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the popular video game “Gears of War” moves one step closer as Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Jon Spaihts has boarded the project.

Best known for co-writing “Dune,” “Dune: Part Two” and “Doctor Strange,” Spaihts will now take on the challenge of adapting “Gears of War,” one of gaming’s richest and most acclaimed video game sagas, with over 40 million copies sold.

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“’Gears of War’ is one of the all-time great action games, with vivid characters, a beautifully designed world, and a combat system that drives home the lethality of war and the importance of standing by your squadmates,” Spaihts said in a statement to Variety. “It wants to be cinema, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to help that happen.”

In November 2022, Netflix announced a partnership with The Coalition to adapt the “Gears of War” universe. Together they plan to first adapt the game into a live-action feature film, followed by an adult animated series, with the potential for more stories to follow. The “Gears of War” games center on a society divided and on the brink of collapse, facing total extinction by the monstrous Locust alien race, a deadly, subterranean threat. A ragtag fireteam known as Delta Squad, led by disgraced sergeant Marcus Fenix, is now charged with leading humanity’s last stand.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Jon and the Netflix team to bring ‘Gears of War’ to life,” stated The Coalition. “Jon is a master storyteller with a talent for creating epic, science-fiction universes, and he truly loves ‘Gears of War.’ We couldn’t ask for a better partner to honor our franchise and deliver an authentic story to our fans.”

Netflix’s “Gears of War” movie marks the latest attempt to adapt the popular game, which is credited with redefining the tactical third-person and co-operative shooter genre. New Line Cinema briefly had the rights to a film adaptation in 2007, and then Scott Stuber, now head of original films at Netflix, came on as a producer in 2013 with Epic Games. Universal then hired F. Scott Frazier to write an adaptation in 2018, but no other moves were made on that project.

Now, with Netflix’s hiring of Spaihts, “Gears of War” fans — who are one of gaming’s most passionate fanbases — have much to look forward to, given the screenwriter’s wealth of experience adapting major genre IP.

Most recently, Spaihts was Oscar-nominated for best adapted screenplay alongside director Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth for “Dune,” which brought Frank Herbert’s epic, sci-fi novel to the big screen in blockbuster fashion. Spaihts and Villeneuve co-wrote the screenplay for the second installment, which is set to hit theaters on Nov. 3. He was also initially tapped as showrunner for HBO Max’s “Dune: The Sisterhood” series, but stepped down to focus on “Dune: Part Two.” His previous film credits include “The Darkest Hour,” “Prometheus,” “The Mummy” and “Passengers.”

Spaihts is represented by CAA and Circle of Confusion.

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