Tim Miller, director of the surprise hit Deadpool, has been tapped by Fox to develop William Gibson’s Neuromancer from the ground up. After he left Deadpool 2 due to creative differences, he has been attached to a number of projects. These include a Sonic the Hedgehog movie, another project for Fox called Influx, and working on resurrecting the Terminator franchise with creator James Cameron.
Neuromancer was not the first novel of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, but it is the quintessential example of it. William Gibson was not the first author to write cyberpunk, nor did he invent the term, but he created a singular vision of a decaying society with advanced technology and morally ambiguous characters. Cyberpunk as a sub-genre would not exist without him. Neuromancer, Gibson’s first novel, was the first winner of the triple crown; it won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. The novel and its sequels have influenced genre filmmaking and our language. Many concepts in The Matrix come from Gibson, including calling the computer simulation “the matrix”.
William Gibson’s short story, “Johnny Mnemonic”, was made into a film that did not do well either commercially or critically. Gibson himself wrote the screenplay, which turned out to be a colorful mishmash of his ideas with no clear theme or statement. New Rose Hotel was made from a Gibson short story and directed by Abel Ferrara. It had almost imperceptible box office numbers and was panned by the critics.
Neuromancer has been in development for several years with many different names attached to it. Obviously, none of those plans came together to produce a finished movie. One of the difficulties in producing a script for Neuromancer is that it has had so much influence on other films that it may look derivative (see John Carter). It may not be seen as the inspiration that it was. However, unlike so many other science fiction novels, it benefits from time rather than being diminished by it. Gibson was so accurate in his prophecies that the technology and events will be more understandable now that we are closer to living in his world. He somehow failed to predict cell phones but that’s easily remedied.
It doesn’t seem likely that this development of Neuromancer will get finished, considering how busy Tim Miller is. The lack of profit from previous ventures with this author and the many previous attempts to adapt the book don’t bode well either. It would be wonderful if it happened, though, and a good adaptation of the cyberpunk masterpiece hit the big screen.