Master and Commander fans have long wanted a sequel, but a surprise prequel was announced – here are the available release date and story details.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was released to critical fanfare in 2003 and, while demand for a sequel has been high in the years since, a prequel was instead announced in June 2021. The original movie, directed by Peter Weir, was based on several of Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey-Maturin novels. Master and Commander was well-received and landed 10 Academy Award nominations, taking home Oscars for cinematography and sound editing.
The original Master and Commander movie was a wartime drama set in 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars. It starred Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey of the HMS Surprise and Paul Bettany as Dr Stephen Maturin, the ship’s doctor. The action follows the HMS Surprise as her crew pursues a French war vessel, the Acheron, around South America and the Cape of Good Hope. The film featured stunning cinematography and an atmospheric reincarnation of the age of sail, inspiring the wonder of exploration, and the intimate nature of living in the restrictive quarters of a Royal Navy frigate.
With 20 novels in the Aubrey-Maturin series, there’s a healthy amount of content for a franchise that never materialized. Russell Crowe was a fan of his work on the film, defending Master and Commander on Twitter as recently as January 2021, and fans had long hoped a sequel would reunite Crowe and Bettany for more outings on the Surprise. Contrarily, a surprise announcement came on June 4, 2021 that a prequel was instead in the works, rebooting the franchise and setting up more stories for Aubrey and Maturin. The new film will still follow the two characters, but be written by screenwriter and author Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking, A Monster Calls), and will be produced by 20th Century Fox.
Master & Commander Prequel Release Date Info
The announcement of the new Master and Commander prequel movie was light on details other than the writer and production company. There was no confirmation on a release date but, given the nature of the filmmaking process and the likely involvement of elaborate sets, costumes, and special effects, it’s likely audiences will be waiting until at least 2023 for the release of the new Master and Commander movie.
Master & Commander Prequel Story Detail
The announcement of a prequel to Master and Commander contained little in the way of story or casting details, except that the new installment might be based on the first novel in the Aubrey-Maturin series. If so, it could see Captain Jack Aubrey taking on his first command in the British Royal Navy, and developing a friendship with Dr. Maturin. As this would place the story early in the sailors’ careers, it’s unlikely Crowe or Paul Bettany could reprise their roles. There’s plenty that the movie and potential sequels could adapt and follow in the Patrick O’Brien series.
Why A Master & Commander Sequel Isn’t Happening
While audiences and critics loved Master and Commander, its box office receipts were disappointing – it made $211.6 million gross on a $150 million budget. Russell Crowe tweeted hints about a sequel as recently as 2017, but if there was a project behind his suggestion, it has since been shelved. Though fans may have loved the original film and waited a long time since 2003 for any word on a Master and Commander sequel, when choosing between no Jack Aubrey movie and a prequel, the latter might just be “the lesser of two weevils.”
Jim Starlin, the comic book writer responsible for creating Drax, thinks Dave Bautista did a “bang up job” and talks about recasting the role.
Jim Starlin, the comic writer and artist responsible for creating Drax the Destroyer, has weighed in on Dave Bautista’s recent statements that he is ready to move on from his Guardians of the Galaxy role. Starlin’s work for Marvel includes the creation of Drax, Thanos, and Gamora, as well as writing the Infinity Gauntlet arc which served as the basis for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Drax’s first appearance was in the 1973 issue of The Invincible Iron Man #55, 41 years before James Gunn introduced him into the MCU.
When Gunn first sought to cast former WWE wrestler Bautista, Gunn himself has stated that “he had to fight for him” to win the role, “and it was the most worthy fight I’ve ever fought.” Now, as Gunn is planning to begin filming the final chapter in his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, Bautista has been more than vocal about being ready to step aside from the role once the film is done, recently suggesting that at his age “the shirtless thing is getting harder and harder for me.” Despite feeling that his own time as Drax is drawing to a close, Bautista has also come out to suggest that he would like to see the character continue in the MCU and eventually be recast with a younger actor.
Now off the back of Bautista’s comments, Drax’s creator Jim Starlin spoke with Inverse about his thoughts on Drax’s MCU future. Applauding Bautista for doing a “bang up job” with his creation, he sympathizes with the actor’s desire to move on to other things. Starlin is also confident that Drax’s character will continue on in the MCU even without Bautista under the makeup, saying:
“I can understand hitting 54 and not wanting to take your shirt off anymore... The Marvel Universe is going to keep trucking along and they found that they have made money on cosmic stuff. So they will more than likely are going to do more of it. There may be another Drax down the line; somebody else who hopefully has half the comedic timing of Bautista.”
While it is disappointing that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is likely to be Dave Bautista’s final turn in the role, it most certainly will not be the last fans see of the former WWE star. As for whether or not Drax could be played by another actor, James Gunn is not as confident as either Bautista or Starlin that recasting the role is a viable option. When Bautista shared the news on Twitter, his friend and Guardians of the Galaxy director replied by suggesting, “You ARE the MCU’s Drax the Destroyer and, as far as I’m concerned, could never be replaced.”
Ultimately, though, replacing Bautista with another actor will come down to Kevin Feige and the folks at Marvel Studios. Should that ever happen, there are several options available to them, including seeking to develop a prequel origin film with a younger actor, as per Bautista’s original suggestion, or possibly even introduce an alternate version of the character from the wider multiverse. Regardless, whoever is next in line to don Drax’s makeup will certainly have some big shoes to fill as they attempt to play the lovable Guardians of the Galaxy character.