Walt Disney to produce a live-action movie about gargoyles

The latest news out of the House of Mouse has me pretty bewildered.

According to Marc Graser at Variety, the next live-action film in the Walt Disney Studios pipeline will be something about gargoyles, with Zoe Green in final negotiations to write it and Lauren Shuler Donner producing.

I can hear many of you thinking, “Wait, ‘Gargoyles’? As in the awesome 1994 animated cartoon about a bunch of creatures who by day are lifeless statues but at night come alive and protect a modern day New York City metropolis from the schemings of a businessman named Xanatos?”

And this is where I have to dash your hopes and say that no, Graser’s sources say that it’s not tied to it, but will be something entirely different:

[The project] centers around a world and mythology of the menacing stone statues that the studio was keen to explore, sources said. Both Disney and Shuler Donner were circling separate gargoyle projects and ultimately paired up and hired Green to tackle an idea hatched with Disney exec LouAnne Brickhouse, who is shepherding the project at the studio. Shuler Donner will produce through the Donners’ Co., which she runs with husband Richard Donner.

Here’s the part I don’t understand. “Gargoyles” was, and still is, a property that has legs (or wings, if you want to be technical about it). It has a rich history and mythology of its own that’s already been established, and in the right hands, could be adapted in a way that would make it interesting to a modern audience but keep the people who grew up with the show and love the franchise happy.

It also features David Xanatos who is such an awesome villain that he has not just one but four tropes and an index named after him.

Why wouldn’t the execs at Disney want to take a property they already own, shell out some minor payments to the original creators to keep them around as “consultants” and then go whole hog on that?

The answer may lie in the fact that according to Graser, they’ve already tried to adapt the animated series in the 1990s to no avail; my response to that is that with what we’ve seen effects studios capable of in Avatar, it wouldn’t hurt to give adapting the original animated series one more try.