Even though Lucasfilm took the Han Solo origin film away from Phil Lord and Chris Miller back in June, the directing duo is headed back to space to tell a different space smuggler's story. According to Deadline, they've signed on to helm an adaptation of Artemis, the new science-fiction novel from The Martian author Andy Weir, for 20th Century Fox.
The book version of Artemis doesn't hit shelves until November, but — judging by an advance review copy — it has the perfect tone for Lord and Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs).
The protagonist, a young woman named Jazz, is just as much of a smart-ass as The Martian's Mark Watney, but she's stuck on the moon ... not in a solo survival situation, but rather in a lunar city where she's never quite fit in. Instead of following in the footsteps of her respected engineer father, she runs contraband from Earth for beer money — until a greedy decision sucks her into a sabotage plot with life-and-death stakes.
While the setting of The Martian is the same inhospitable red planet that exists today, Artemis required Weir to come up with believable logistics for a fictional space tourism destination, from oxygen generation to an Apollo 11 landing site visitor center to Earth-Moon diplomatic relations. The book is a fun, imaginative page-turner with a likably unlikable main character.
It's easy to see why Lord and Miller leapt at the opportunity to direct a lighthearted thriller in a zero-gravity playground. It's also possible that they want this project to echo the irreverent vision they had for their Star Wars caper until Ron Howard replaced them.
It may be difficult for Weir to equal the commercial success of his debut novel — which sold 3 million copies despite originally being self-published — but another hit movie adaptation would definitely help. In the words of the late Millennium Falcon captain, "Never tell me the odds."
Andy Weir's Artemis arrives in bookstores on November 14, 2017.