Buck Rogers heading to the courtroom en route to 25th century?

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The newly-revealed Buck Rogers screen project, featuring George Clooney, may have to divest itself of some alleged rights issues before moving into production.

Although plans to revive the character were stirring as far back as October, we heard a couple of days back that Legendary Entertainment had confirmed its revival of yet another popular franchise following Godzilla and Kong.  This time in the form of the 25th century space hero, Buck Rogers.

The project is being executive produced by George Clooney, who is also in negotiations to star. Also of note is Brian K Vaughn’s involvement as writer for the project.

However, the Buck Rogers Estate, who claims to own the rights for such projects, have spoken out against the announced project, claiming that Legendary does not have the rights to proceed with the planned TV series, anime and film. Instead, it says, those rights have been sold to Skydance Productions, reports Deadline.

The legal team for The Buck Rogers Estate has sent a cease and desist letter, denouncing Legendary’s claim to the project, which you can read an extract from here:

‘Be advised that the Buck Rogers Interests have signed an agreement with Skydance Productions LLC to produce Buck Rogers content. Your conduct is a slander of title of the rights the Buck Rogers Interests own. Demand is made that you correct the record publicly as Legendary/Murphy have no chain of title. You are directed to advise all third parties, including any insurers, distributors, and financiers that there is no chain of title held by Legendary/Murphy.’

Strong words indeed, but Legendary has moved quickly to publicly dismiss the claim, stating: ‘We have secured the rights we need to proceed with our project and the company will not comment any further on these baseless claims. This same party has been claiming for years that they have rights which they do not have and have been trying to inhibit projects based on rights they do not legally control.’

Although it may ultimately be for the courts to decide whose claim has greater merit, rights issues – especially in the case of older characters like that of Buck Rogers – can sometimes take quite some time to untangle. Whether this holds up the project, or whether Legendary plans to push on regardless, we shall have to wait and see.

There’s also the possibility that Skydance, as is being reported by some outlets, is actively developing a Buck Rogers film too, although that is as yet unconfirmed.

More news on this one as we have it.

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