A New Master and Commander Movie Is in Development at 20th Century

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Almost twenty years after its release, a follow-up to Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is in the works. 20th Century is developing a new adaptation of Patrick O’Brian’s series of novels with Patrick Ness attached to write the script, per Deadline.

While Ness began his career as an author, he has started to work in the entertainment industry in recent years, adapting both his Chaos Walking series and A Monster Calls to film. He also wrote on the first season of the Doctor Who spin-off series Class. Additionally, Ness has recently finished adapting Lord of the Flies for an upcoming Warner Bros. production helmed by director Luca Guadagnino.

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The original Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was released in 2003. Directed by Peter Weir, the story follows Russell Crowe’s Captain Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany’s ship surgeon Stephen Maturin as the two lead a crew on a difficult voyage during the Napoleonic Wars in pursuit of a French privateer.

The film is an adaptation of three novels in author Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Martin series, which spans 20 complete novels exploring Captain Aubrey’s career.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was a moderate success at the box office, grossing $211.6 million globally off of a $150 million budget. The film had a fruitful awards season run, receiving 10 Oscar nominations at the Academy Awards and winning for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing. Since then, the film has garnered a cult following. However, while The Far Side of the World was positioned as a potential franchise starter to adapt other O’Brian novels, no follow-up has been made since.

According to Deadline, the new Master and Commander would draw from O’Brian’s first novel in the series, exploring the fledgling friendship between a young Captain Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Since the new movie would function as a prequel, it is unlikely that 20th Century would seek Crowe and Bettany to reprise their roles.

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In our 2003 review of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, IGN gave the film an 8, calling it a “sometimes dazzling – but narratively imperfect – throwback to a kind of movie that doesn’t come around too often anymore, and may not come around much in the future.”

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J. Kim Murphy is a freelance entertainment writer.

(Photo by 20th Century)

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