Just when it seemed as if ROM: The Space Knight were doomed, the planned movie based on the 1970s action figure as come roaring back to life with a new writer.
Deadline reports that Ready Player One screenwriter Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk) has been hired to pen the project for toymaker Hasbro's Allspark Pictures and Paramount Pictures.
ROM was mentioned in 2015 alongside G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionairies and M.A.S.K. in plans by Hasbro and Paramount for a shared cinematic universe. However, while G.I. Joe and Micronauts movies staked out 2020 release dates in December, there was no mention of ROM in the studio's plans. Jonathan Goldstein, who was part of the Hasbro Cinematic Universe writers room, indicated in January that neither ROM nor M.A.S.K. "are probably not likely to see the light of day, unless they’re moving on separate from us."
Of course, the involvement of Penn suggests Paramount and Hasbro are indeed moving on with ROM separate from any writers room.
ROM debuted in 1979 from Parker Brothers amid a wave of sci-fi popularity that followed the success of Star Wars. However, the cheaply made action figure was a commercial failure that Time magazine predicted would “end up among the dust balls under the playroom sofa.” ROM’s future in comic books was far brighter, with Marvel launching ROM: Spaceknight by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema, who were free to create an entire universe around the hero, who under their direction became a cyborg from the utopian planet Galador who battled invading Dire Wraiths before heading to Earth to continue the fight.
The series ran for 75 issues, during which ROM interacted with many characters of the Marvel Universe, before it came to an end in 1986, long outlasting the ROM figure’s life on store shelves. IDW Publishing launched a comic book revival of ROM in 2016.