What I’m about to toss your way may seem a bit crazy at first, but if you stick with me to the end, I think you’ll all end up agreeing that our next major tent-pole title has been staring right at us this whole time. Gentleman, I think it’s time for a soft reboot of the Iraq War.
It’s been thirteen years since audiences last saw the Iraq War — that’s practically ancient history these days. There’ve been some similar sells: the prolonged Afghan conflict, Russia’s encroachment in the Balkan states, et cetera. But nothing resonates with this generation quite like that classic quagmire, nothing’s packed that same sort of devastating, demoralizing punch. You ask any millennial gliding down the sidewalk on their hoverboard, “Hey, what’s the one thing that jaded you the most, the thing that really, really made you question humanity’s purpose and worth during your adolescence?” I don’t think I have to tell you guys what their answer invariably is.
Look, you all can brainstorm about new ideas, new locales, and new characters ‘til the deployed servicemen come home — and we all know how long that’ll be — but you know there’s always a huge risk involved with trying something novel, something innovative. North Korea? We haven’t sent our young over there to get blown up in decades. South China Sea? Are you kidding me? And if that flops, woo boy, no coming back from that one, am I right? I mean, I’m talking a Showgirls situation. Your safest bet right now is to go with what you know, and what you know is convoluted, misguided Middle Eastern conflict.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit there were flaws in the source material. The warmongers were a little too obvious, the gross mistreatment of prisoners and civilians came a bit too early in the plot, but all that’s what gave it character. There was an earnestness in that administration’s public deception that you just don’t see these days, and I think we can capitalize on that in some very, very lucrative ways.
People want something that appears new, but comforts them on a certain, primordial level. There may be some new settings, a couple unseen plot twists, but overall, it’s the same bleak, horrific storyline. We all know how it’s gonna end — tragically — and that’s why it’s an easy sell. People will flock to it because it’s familiar, but also because it’s terrifyingly uncertain enough to compel them to check it out.
What I’m proposing to you tonight in this smoke-filled subterranean military bunker is a reimagining of the original twenty-first century clusterfuck. The first steaming pile of horseshit that set the tone for this miserable century. We base it somewhere strikingly similar, but original enough to stand on its own. This isn’t a straight-up remake, after all. Data shows audiences have had enough of that. We can’t just waltz back in to Iraq. I mean, technically we never left, but that’s neither here nor there.
No, we base our soft reboot in Syria. It’s got a dictator, stockpiles of chemical weapons, and an extremist insurgency of radical terrorist warlords. Of course, we modernize it all a bit for our audience — I think ISIS is a particularly nice, soulless reimagining of their Taliban source material — but it’s all largely the same song and dance.
The Syrian War. Picture that in lights. On news headlines. In protest songs. On magnet ribbons supporting our troops. It practically rolls off the tongue. The Syrian War. I see from the glimmer in your eyes that you’re thinking it, too.
So, in conclusion, gentlemen, I’ll just leave you with a simple question: What’s always been the hottest thing? What’s an almost guaranteed hit, no matter who directs it, which stars you get to sign on, what time of year you drop it on audiences? Fads come and go, but there’s one thing that’s a surefire win, so long as we don’t lose: War.
Plus, just think of the franchise potential!