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2021 10 11
Aeon Flux is getting a new live-action reboot, and it can finally do justice to the beloved animated dystopian sci-fi drama. Airing on MTV’s channel’s Liquid Television from 1991 to 1995, Peter Chung’s Aeon Flux is a cult series of ambiguously-related animated shorts that combine espionage, social science fiction, biopunk, neo-noir, psychological drama, postmodernism, gnostic symbolism, transhumanism, and more. After 1995, Aeon Flux was adapted by other creators into a comic, a video game, and eventually, the ill-fated 2005 Aeon Flux movie starring Charlize Theron. Aeon Flux, the Paramount film, is set in the year 2411 – 400 years after the scientist Trevor Goodchild finds a cure to a virus that kills 99% of earth’s population. The remaining 5 million survivors live in the dystopian city-state of Bregna, an idyllic ‘paradise’ in which people routinely disappear, and all the citizens have regular nightmares.
In the film, the titular character Aeon Flux is part of a rebel group called the Monicans, who frees the people of Bregna from the Goodchild regime, which turns out to be lying about everything to its people in order to maintain power and control. Aeon Flux shares its visual style and political themes with several other dystopian sci-fi movies released in the same era, such as Ultraviolet and Equilibrium. These movies were heavily influenced by 1999’s The Matrix, the highly successful Wachowski sisters film which popularized dystopian sci-fi themes in mainstream turn-of-the-century cinema. In contrast to the Aeon Flux movie’s straightforward themes, Peter Chung’s original animated series has a largely ambiguous dystopian plot, which is told through the lenses of BDSM, erotic fetishism, biotechnology, gnosticism, horror, and psychedelia – and animated in a style that, according to Peter Chung, was influenced by Hergé, Moebius, and German Expressionist painters. Set in the year 7698, this bizarre universe is home to Aeon Flux, a spy from the anarchist city of Monica, and her lover and arch-enemy Trevor Goodchild, the technocratic dictator of the Orwellian city-state of Bregna.
Caught between the never-ending ideological war between Monica and Bregna, Aeon and Trevor repeatedly fight, make love, and kill each other to seemingly no end. Although the 2005 Aeon Flux movie is supposedly based on these elements, its overarching themes and creative execution barely scratch the surface of the source material. Notably, while the 2005 movie failed to deliver a satisfying adaptation, the creative influence of Peter Chung’s Aeon Flux can be gleaned in more recent sci-fi properties, such as Love, Death, & Robots and the Black Mirror series. And now, 16 years after 2005’s Aeon Flux, Paramount+ has teamed up with MTV Entertainment Studios to produce a new live-action Aeon Flux reboot. This presents a new opportunity for live-action storytellers to do justice to Peter Chung’s groundbreaking cult animated series.
The Aeon Flux reboot doesn’t have a release date just yet. However, Teen Wolf’s Jeff Davis has been confirmed to be the showrunner for the new Aeon Flux, which will be a series that will stream on Paramount+. The series format, combined with Davis’ experience in rebooting cult material, could prove to be a much more conducive arena for properly fleshing out Peter Chung’s Aeon Flux in a live-action setting – a puzzle that hasn’t been solved since the animated series ended 26 years ago.
Without the creative and logistical difficulties of single-film production, which reportedly plagued the 2005 Aeon Flux movie, the franchise could finally break out of the shadow of the Wachowski sisters, who actually count Aeon Flux as one of their inspirations for creating The Matrix and its sequels, and even enlisted Chung to produce an episode of The Animatrix. For now, it remains to be seen whether or not Jeff Davis and MTV Entertainment Studios are up to the task of doing justice to Peter Chung’s animated masterpiece, as this practically entails revolutionizing the way animation is adapted into live-action content.
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About The Author
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Peter is an elder millennial, cat-father, illustrator, and freelance writer for Screen Rant. Born, raised, and still based in Metro Manila, Philippines, Peter’s knowledge of geekdom was forged in the lagging fires of 56kbps Internet and dodgy forums, and now burns bright with the light of Netflix and downloads. When he’s not having visions about the end of the multiverse, he’s either bothering his cat or brewing ginger beer.