It looks like Woody is headed into Buzz Lightyear territory, and I’m not just toying with you. Tom Hanks is headed back into space, as the lead in a movie based on Mattel’s 1960s toy line ‘Major Matt Mason’. One of Hanks’ most famous roles was as astronaut Jim Lovell in ‘Apollo 13’, which he followed with the miniseries ‘From the Earth to the Moon’, which he executive produced, along with the later documentary ‘Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D ‘.
Hanks first announced his intention to adapt ‘Major Matt Mason’ into a movie in 2011. Akiva Goldsman will write the screenplay based on a short story by Michael Chabon, the writer, and showrunner of the upcoming ‘Star Trek: Picard’. Goldsman previously worked with Hanks on ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels & Demons’. The film will hail from Paramount Pictures and Mattel Films.
So who or what is ‘Major Matt Mason’? First introduced in 1966, it was a toy line, subtitled “Mattel’s Man In Space,” inspired by the real-life space race of the time period. The line was originally inspired by real space-age technology, like that used by NASA, but over time, the line shifted more toward science fiction with the introduction of aliens, both friendly and hostile, and more futuristic vehicles and accessories. The action figured were made from a rubbery substance called “Plastizol” with wires underneath, allowing the figures to be posed.
Major Matt Mason himself was an astronaut who lived and worked on the moon. He was joined by fellow astronauts Sgt. Storm (red suit), Doug Davis (yellow suit), and Lt. Jeff Long, an African American, whose presence in this toyline predated Guion Bluford’s journey into space as the first real African American astronaut by two decades.
Hanks will next be seen in the Mister Rogers biopic ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’. Goldsman was recently announced as penning the screenplay for the movie ‘Brilliance’ to star Will Smith, also for Paramount.
Mattel Films is also prepping movies based on ‘Barbie’, starring Margot Robbie, and ‘Hot Wheels’ with Warner Brothers; ‘Masters of the Universe’, starring Noah Centineo, with Columbia Pictures; ‘Magic 8 Ball’ with Blumhouse, and ‘American Girls’ and ‘View-Master’ with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Are you familiar with ‘Major Matt Mason’? How does a movie version sound?