The Metro 2033 movie which was announced back in 2016 has been cancelled, and the rights have reverted to Dmitry Glukhovsky, the author of the 2005 novel on which the film was to be based.
Glukhovsky revealed to VG24/7 the reasoning behind the project’s cancellation was that scriptwriter F. Scott Frazier wanted the film to take place in Washington, rather than Moscow where the book (and game series) is set.
Glukhovsky explained that Metro 2033 is not a story you can really “Americanize”:
A lot of things didn’t work out in Washington DC. In Washington DC, Nazis don’t work, Communists don’t work at all, and the Dark Ones don’t work. Washington DC is a black city basically. That’s not at all the allusion I want to have, it’s a metaphor of general xenophobia but it’s not a comment on African Americans at all. So it didn’t work.
He went on to reveal that the studio intended to replace the Dark Ones – the “villains” of Metro 2033 who aren’t really villains – with “some kind of random beasts”.
As Glukhovsky put it, that doesn’t really work with the theme of his story:
As long as the beasts don’t look human, the entire story of xenophobia doesn’t work which was very important to me as a convinced internationalist. They turned it into a very generic thing.
The author went on to suggest that MGM wanted to set the film in the States because “Americans like stories about America”, but he made a very compelling point about the fact that a Metro 2033 movie that actually stays true to the source material would be much more unique than yet another “America against the bad guys” story.
With Metro Last Light and Metro 2033—the books and the games—selling millions and millions of copies worldwide, it’s probably not as improbable now that people would accept a story happening in Moscow because that’s going to be the unique selling point. We’ve seen the American version of apocalypse a lot of times and the audience that like the genre are educated and saturated and not really wishing to get anymore of that.
The next game in the series, Metro Exodus, is due to release on February 22, 2019. Glukhovsky is optimistic that a Metro movie can still happen, and that Exodus could give the franchise the extra exposure it needs. Here’s hoping.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.