Action legend Sylvester Stallone has dabbled in the superhero genre before, most notably as Judge Dredd (1995), the Ravager Stakar Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. (2017), and the voice of King Shark in The Suicide Squad (2021). (He’s reprising his Ravager role for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.) With his new film Samaritan, Stallone gets to play an aging superhero living anonymously as a garbage man, tormented by his past. Judging by the official trailer, it’s the perfect role for the 73-year-old action star, combining all the best elements of his long, illustrious career.
Samaritan is the brainchild of screenwriter Bragi Schut, best known for Escape Room (2019) and 2011’s Season of the Witch. He first penned a spec script for the film about 10 years ago. But spec scripts can meander through the Hollywood studio ecosystem for years before even being optioned, never mind going into development. So in the meantime, Schut adapted his screenplay into a series of graphic novels for Mythos Comics—the opposite of the usual process these days, with studios competing for recognizable IP to adapt into blockbuster films.
First published in 2014, the comic book version upends the genre’s typical setting of a super hero arriving at a crime-ridden cesspool of a city to take on the bad guys and clean things up. This version depicts the fictional city of Acropolis after its superhero, Samaritan, is presumably killed in battle against the aptly named superhuman Nemesis inside a burning warehouse. (Nemesis is also killed).
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