Logan’s Run, the classic dystopian novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, looks like it will actually be made into another feature film. Eventually, we are surely going to run out of classics film to remake.
Originally written in 1967, the novel saw its first film adaptation in 1976. Unfortunately, that film, and its spinoff television series did not follow the novel very closely.
The basic premise, a world where it is against the law to live past a certain age, and a lone enforcer (called Sandmen) is sent undercover to locate a place where the illegal adults find refuge, was kept intact.
However, just about everything else was changed from the characters to the plot-line to the world itself, which in the novel was simply a future world run my a dictatorial computer system, and in the film and series, that world was made post apocalyptic, and focused on a few small domes in which it is safe to live.
Population control was the reason given for murdering older citizens (changed from 21 years old to 30), rather than the youth rebellion of the novel.
The television series just made matters worse, by expanding the already torn canon into strange territory, while running the show through several trite plot lines.
While still considered classic science-fiction, and beloved by many, these adaptations had little of the real magic, and poignant social commentary of the novel.
Of course, like any adaptation, the social concerns of the day tend to overrule the social comments of the original author.
The novel was a speculative story looking at a future where the youth movement of the sixties grew to an eventual global conflict.
A civil war in which young people turned against and conquered adults, and secured that victory by ensuring that no one would ever again become an adult.
The themes of sacrifice, mortality, rebellion, and maturity are explored in great detail, and the society becomes a dystopia due to a great failing of the will of the people, a failing which may eventually be overcome. This is all lost in the adaptations.
The new film is still a ways off. It’s been in and out of planning since the 90’s, but it’s closer to being a reality now than it ever has been, and in the current climate of perpetual remakes and reboots, it seems that it shouldn’t be difficult to find itself a place on the screen.
A beacon of hope in the fog is the knowledge that the original source material is supposedly going to be more influential than in previous adaptations.
Still, whether we’ll finally get the Logan’s Run the screen deserves is yet to be seen.