Sony Pictures Television optioned a show based on The Destroyer, the best-selling pulp novel series, with Better Caul Saul’s Gordon Smith producing.
After starring in over 150 novels, Remo Williams is making his way to the small screen Screen Rant can confirm. First published in 1971, The Destroyer was a pulp novel series conceived by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. When the first Destroyer book opens, cop protagonist Remo Williams is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and apparently sentenced to death. Such a bleak fate is thankfully overturned when he learns that the government has actually faked his death in order to recruit him into a top-secret agency known as CURE.
Using his detective skills and brutal martial arts training, Remo soon rises in the ranks and becomes critical to the protection of the country. The training in question was instilled in him by Master Chiun and is called Shinanju, which is a fictional Korean fighting style that takes shape over the course of the first several novels. It will also almost certainly factor into the forthcoming series, now that Sony Pictures Television has picked up the rights to the novels. What makes this news particularly exciting is that Emmy nominee Gordon Smith, who contributed to some of Better Call Saul’s most highly-acclaimed episodes, will be working on the latest iteration of the action hero. He is joined by Adrian Askarieh, who previously produced Hitman: Agent 47.
What A Fresh Take On The Destroyer Might Look Like
Intrigue and action have never been in short supply on Better Call Saul, so expectant audiences can rest assured that Smith knows how to deliver the intensity required. He even honed his skills in the hallowed halls of Breaking Bad as a writers’ assistant, so it will be particularly interesting to see him branch out into an entirely different IP. The remaining question, then, will be whether Sony takes a historical approach to The Destroyer’s material and sets it in the 70s or if it modernizes the setting and takes Remo Williams to the present. Either way offers up interesting avenues, but the biggest consideration may be whether Smith (and Askarieh of Prime Universe Films) choose to honor the previous onscreen iterations or break away from them.
The first film based on The Destroyer books, called Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins…, came out in 1985 and starred Fred Ward. Though it was meant to launch a cinematic universe, the box office and audience reactions were not quite up to par. There was an attempt at a television pilot a few years later, titled Remo Williams, but it too failed to get off the ground. While this suggests that following in the footsteps of past onscreen interpretations is not the way to go, the Dick Clark-produced project has gained a cult following over the years. Perhaps giving a tip of the hat to what came before is all that’s needed before jet-setting off for a new destination.
Askarieh had the following statement to make to Screen Rant, expressing his commitment to the series:
“I have been a fan of these books for a long time and to be able to help bring them to life with someone as talented as Gordon, and with the support of Sony television, is beyond exciting”
The Destroyer producers have made it clear that they intend to draw from the expansive universe that the book series has amassed and wish to maintain the novels’ unique brand of humor, regardless of the plot and setting choices they may make. After all, there are distinguishing traits that have made Remo Williams feel immortal, even as he changes hands and ghostwriters and attempts to infiltrate television screens by whatever means necessary. Given that some of the shows currently on Sony Pictures Television’s roster include The Boys and Slow Horses, there will be pulp and political intrigue to spare this time around.
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