Billy Zane wants to ‘pass the torch’ in another Phantom movie, reprising his 1996 superhero turn that was, in some ways, ahead of its time.
1996’s The Phantom is a movie that enjoys at least a bit of a cult following. Had it released at another point in time, it may even have amassed a wider audience upon release, perhaps spawned sequels or (wishful thinking on my part), become the first step in a Defenders Of The Earth live-action film. A project that would have united ‘The Ghost who Walks’ with Flash Gordon, Mandrake and more to form an Avengers Assemble-style movie based on the Saturday morning cartoon.
Either way, a quarter century since the film’s release, The Phantom still has its fans, as evidenced by HMV’s re-release of the film via its ‘Premium Classics’ Blu-ray line, last year. It’s entirely possible that the movie was a little too far ahead of its time. A little too dark for 1996, sandwiched by Joel Schumacher’s garishly neon, cartoony Batman films, The Phantom would have felt much more at home had it released five years later, sitting alongside the likes of Blade and X-Men.
The film’s star, Billy Zane, agrees, and has been touting the possibility of reviving the character for a legacy sequel, where he would ‘pass the torch’ to a younger version of the character.
As Zane puts it, “to be honest, a Phantom return would be quite interesting. 20 years later, it’s a father-to-son business and a bit of a hand-off. And I dug him because he didn’t have superpowers, really. It was just kind of super-humane. Again, that moral compass could be a nice reminder. So, right out of the comic universe, I’d say that character would be a hoot.”
Zane originally signed up to reprise his role in two more sequels, but that never came to pass, a fate which also befell attempts in 2014 to get a reboot off the ground. With Paramount, along with every other streaming platform, presumably looking for IP to revive, perhaps the time is ripe for The Phantom’s return? We’ll have to wait and see.
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