This past week, Disney bought the rights to develop Tony Cliff’s series of graphic novels that revolve around Delilah Dirk, a sword-wielding adventurer described by Deadline as a female counterpart to Indiana Jones, into live-action films.
The action-adventure series is set in the early 1800s and sees its female Greek-British explorer protagonist battling pirates, escaping from prisons, piloting a flying boat, and displaying a mastery of Indonesian acrobatics, all while blazing trails of adventure and mystery through city and countryside. If that doesn’t sound like the kind of fantastical, exotic, whimsical character that has made the Indiana Jones films so popular, we don’t know what does.
In particular, the first movie of the Delilah Dirk series will follow the first book of the female-led adventure, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. Delilah begins the first installment in a Turkish prison and manages to escape the country with the help of “a mild-mannered officer named Selim who becomes her sidekick,” along with her own Indiana Jones-like wit and resourcefulness.
Before fans of the original Indiana Jones movies cry foul, it should be said that a fifth Indie movie is still in development, according to AV Club. The Delilah Dirk movies are not taking over for the series, but supplementing it.
And what a great supplement they will make, especially in terms of Disney’s marketing. As the same AV Club article notes, Hollywood is “desperately” in need of a big-budget action franchise starring a female, and Delilah Dirk fits the bill.
The Inquisitr noted previously that female-led movies are rapidly becoming a growing trend in Hollywood, and DC Comics even looks to be tapping into this “female-led series” idea a bit with the announcement of at least two films starring Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but no attempts have been made to establish a female action hero who leads a series with the serial nature of the Indiana Jones films. Disney’s doing so could be a fantastic opportunity to draw in a huge audience – those who yearn for the independent and bad**s female action star that has not graced the silver screen in a long time, if ever.
Disney fans will definitely welcome the introduction of Delilah’s character, too. Movie Pilot notes that, although Disney’s princesses have been depicted as more independent and skilled in recent films, we are yet to see one that is a genuine bad**s on the level of Indiana Jones or a comparable action franchise star. Mulan may come close, the piece points out, but Delilah is a female that is trained to fight from the get-go and never hesitates to raise some hell in the name of justice (or self-preservation).
And this is not just speculation, either; this project is definitely happening. The first one has already been green-lighted and already has producers attached to it, although the credits backing up the chosen producers is not what you’d expect.
Namely, the production team is made up of Roy Lee, Mark Mower, and Justin Giritlian, who, collectively, have given rise to movies such as 2006’s The Departed, 2010’s off-the-wall Jack Black dark comedy Bernie, and 2002’s horror classic The Ring. The film history the trio has racked up definitely does not indicate that they would join forces for a female Indiana Jones-type flick, but that fresh new take on this type of material may be able to summon up some Hollywood magic.
The books the movies will be based on are already hugely popular. The first one was released in 2013 and quickly became a New York Times Bestseller in addition to picking up a slew of other awards. The second book following the female explorer, entitled Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling, was just released in March of this year and is already enjoying critical acclaim, and a third entry is slated for 2017.
It may not be happening soon, but are you happy that this “female Indiana Jones” will be joining the Disney universe?
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]