Twentieth Century Fox is actively making The Omen prequel, a long overdue project. The news was reported by The Hollywood Reporter with very little information regarding the plot, except that the storyline will exclude Damien. This is to be expected and logic would dictate that the storyline somehow lead back to the nemesis of Christ. A backstory that gives us more insight on the evil that is orchestrating the Apocalypse would be a welcome addition to the franchise, but the question is, will audiences embrace a new antichrist and a less conventional storyline?
The prequel, titled The First Omen, is in the planning stages and 20th Century Fox is courting Antonio Campos, an indie director whose most recent work, Christine, was shown at Sundance. He also produced Martha Marcy May Marlene and directed Simon Killer.
The Omen series is inspired by David Seltzer’s books of the same name. The first movie was made 40-years ago and starred Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. Peck played Damien’s father, a U.S. Ambassador who eventually connects the rising body count back to his son, 5-year-old Damien, whom he slowly comes to realize is the antichrist. There was a 2006 remake with Julia Stiles and Liev Schreiber and there has been a succession of sequels and remakes in the franchise’s history. Surprisingly, this is the first time that anyone has thought to make a story that predates Damien’s birth.
The original film was directed by Richard Donner, who also directed all of the Lethal Weapon films, Ladyhawke, 16 Blocks, and The Goonies, and decades later, the supernatural thriller is still considered one of the best horror films ever made. Other titles in the series include Damien: Omen II, Omen III: The Final Conflict, Omen IV: The Awakening, and The Omen (2006). There were two television series; The Omen (1995) and Damien (2016) which is produced by Glen Mazzara of Walking Dead and The Shield fame.
The current Damien series on A&E went in a surprising direction; the expectation was that the antichrist would grow up evil and dropping bodies. This Damien (Bradley James), doesn’t remember all of the deaths that took place around him when he was a child, and he is horrified that there is so much death and violence surrounding him now. The 30-year-old photographer isn’t evil and doesn’t want to be. He isn’t completely buying that he is demon spawn, but the more the evidence points to that conclusion, the more terrified and angry he becomes. He has a conscience and he is compassionate and believes that he is either crazy or crazy people (Barbara Hershey) have latched on to him. James is best known for playing Prince Arthur on the television series Merlin.
The idea that a completely different story will be told without Damien as the central character is both terrifying and exciting. There are so many directions the storyline could go in that the possibilities are endless. Perhaps the decision to create a prequel comes from the failures of the 2006 remake and Damien series to mesmerize audiences.
There is no release date as of yet, because the project is still coming together, but with the assistance of writer Ben Jacoby, The Omen prequel might be what 20th Century Fox needs to reignite some interest in the story again. Check back for more news about when The First Omen will be coming to theaters.
[Image via A&E]