The sci-fi action TV series The Six Million Dollar Man was so incredibly popular when it was running on ABC back in the 1970s, it’s shocking that the franchise hasn’t received a revival outside of a few TV movies that aired in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s not for a lack of trying – in fact, an update called The Six Billion Dollar Man has been making its way through development hell for almost thirty years at this point. Mark Wahlberg has been attached to star in the project since 2014… and during a recent interview with Collider, Wahlberg expressed hope that The Six Billion Dollar Man will finally be going into production soon.
Inspired by Martin Caidin’s 1972 novel Cyborg (which received three sequels), The Six Million Dollar Man had the following synopsis: After a severely injured test pilot is rebuilt with nuclear-powered bionic limbs and implants, he serves as an intelligence agent.
The Six Billion Dollar Man was set up at Universal Pictures, where Kevin Smith (who was working on Mallrats at the time) wrote a draft of the script back in 1995. That script was later turned into a comic book series. Miramax/Dimension got involved in 2001, when they purchased the film rights to Caidin’s four Cyborg novels. Finding Interest writer/co-director Trevor Sands was hired to write a screenplay, which was then scrapped when Jim Carrey signed on to star in a comedic version of the concept. Scot Armstrong was going to direct that take on the material from a screenplay he was writing with frequent collaborator and future Joker director Todd Phillips. Then there were legal issues between the studios, and the rights ended up with The Weinstein Company. When Wahlberg signed on to star in the film, it was going to reteam him with his Lone Survivor director Peter Berg. Wild Tales director Damián Szifron replaced Berg the following year… then dropped out due to creative differences a couple years later. By that time, the rights had been sold off to Warner Bros. Bumblebee’s Travis Knight was hired to direct the film in 2019. And that was the last we heard of it until now.
Wahlberg is currently doing the press rounds for his latest film, the action comedy The Family Plan, which his company Municipal Pictures produced alongside Skydance Media. He told Collider it’s the working relationship he established with Skydance on The Family Plan that might rescue The Six Billion Dollar Man from development hell. He said, “I think there is finally hope for that to happen. And I think it’s kind of actually a lot to do with this movie, because hopefully Skydance will have the rights, if not fully buttoned up now, very soon, and we’ll fast track that movie to get made. So, I’m still not out of the fight, I’m still grinding every day to get it made. You know, its tough to get certain things made it’s very difficult, it was an uphill battle, but I think certain ones are worth just seeing through to the end.“
What do you think of Mark Wahlberg finally getting to make The Six Million Dollar Man update The Six Billion Dollar Man a decade after he first joined the project? Share your thoughts on this one by leaving a comment below.
The Family Plan will be released through Apple TV+ on December 15th.