'Duke Nukem': Legendary & 'Cobra Kai' Creators Team For Movie

Beginning with movies like “Mortal Kombat” and “Super Mario Bros,” video game projects have fascinated Hollywood since the ’90s. While the genre has been a mixed bag quality-wise, there’s an argument to be made there have been very few great movies ever based on a video game, but studios keep trying. Thankfully, despite the multiple flops, some releases have done well with audiences, including the “Resident Evil” franchise, “Sonic The Hedgehog,” and “Detective Pikachu.”

So, Hollywood is knocking again, this time for a video game character you might be familiar with.

According to the Hollywood Reporter., a “Duke Nukem” live-action movie is now in development at Legendary. The film production studio has secured the rights from Gearbox and has recruited the creative team behind the hit “Karate Kid” Netflix series “Cobra Kai.” That group consists of Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg.

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Duke Nukem is a parody character inspired by various elements from 1980s action movies, with the hero essentially being a mix of Bruce Campbell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Sly Stallone. He fights an alien invasion in Los Angeles. The game sees the character traveling from strip clubs, movie sets, moon bases, and spaceships while dealing with mutated LAPD officers and the Cycloid Emperor.

The character once caught the eye of John Cena (“The Suicide Squad,” “Fast 9”) as the hulking wrestler-turned-film actor was attached for a “Duke Nukem” project at Paramount back in 2018. At this point, it seems doubtful Cena would end up playing Duke, given the character is very similar to his DC Comics character, “Peacemaker.

A search is on for a screenwriter and director, and one of the “Cobra Kai” team could end up doing the latter. Another big Gearbox property is also getting a significant film adaptation with the Eli Roth-directed “Borderlands” at Lionsgate that stars Cate Blanchett and Kevin Hart. This movie would suggest that ‘Nukem’ might attract big names too, but it also may depend on the script and the creative team built around it