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Metro 2033 movie on hold, and it’s probably a good thing

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Americanized adaptation did not work for author Glukhovsky

Metro Exodus - soldiers standing in front of a locomotive
Metro Exodus, launching Feb. 15, 2019.
4a Games/Deep Silver

A Metro 2033 movie is off, and for fans of that franchise who expect a faithful representation of its canon, that’s probably a good thing.

In an interview with VG247, the writer and Metro creator Dmitry Glukhovsky said that production on a Metro movie has stopped and the rights have reverted to him. The reason, Glukhovsky said, is that MGM and script writer F. Scott Frazier wanted to Americanize the movie and set it in Washington.

“In Washington, D.C., Nazis don’t work,” Glukhovsky said, (although some might argue that now! But you take his point.) “Communists don’t work at all, and the Dark Ones don’t work. Washington, D.C. is a black city basically. That’s not at all the allusion I want to have, it’s a metaphor of general xenophobia, but it’s not a comment on African-Americans at all. So, it didn’t work.”

Going further, Glukhovsky said the adapted screenplay required replacing the Dark Ones (mutated descendants of humans who survived the nuclear apocalypse, and principal antagonists) with “some kind of random beasts.” If those beasts don’t appear human, “the entire story of xenophobia doesn’t work, which was very important to me as a convinced internationalist,” Glukhovsky said. “They turned it into a very generic thing.”

The Metro franchise of games was adapted from Metro 2033, a novel Glukhovsky first published on the web in 2002; as a book in 2005 in Russia, then 2010 in the United States. That was the same year 4A Games and THQ’s Metro 2033 adaptation launched. MGM Studios acquired the rights to a film adaptation of the novel in 2012, putting Frazier on the screenplay and Gran Via Productions (the Chronicles of Narnia series) in charge.

Deep Silver acquired the video game rights to Metro when THQ went out of business in 2013, and published a sequel, Metro: Last Light, which was an original story. And Metro Exodus, the long-awaited conclusion to the series, will launch Feb. 15, 2019, 4A and Deep Silver announced just yesterday. That will be the first open-world game in the Metro trilogy, and is launching on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.