Movie news and the future of Parker

Good news! I have it from a reliable source that the possibly upcoming Parker flick will neither be an original nor another take on The Hunter, but will instead be based on Flashfire. I’ve also learned that the filmmakers are committed to making an actual Parker movie, with a main character as close to Donald Westlake’s vision as possible. So this bit from the Variety piece that broke the news…

Pic, based on the book series by Donald Westlake, revolves around a thief who, though at times is forced to be a killer, still lives by a code of honor that includes never stealing money from people who need it.

…seems to be just erroneous reporting. Thank God.

This news, along with the previously-reported news that Darwyn Cooke is creating an original Parker comic-book story, can only mean that Donald Westlake’s heirs want the Parker character to live on beyond Westlake’s 24 novels.  They are in a better position than I to know how Westlake would feel about that, of course, but I hope he’d be pleased. It looks like the movie project lives up to his standards–Westlake wouldn’t allow filmmakers to use the name “Parker” unless they were going to do a franchise, and it’s reasonable to assume that the upcoming movie is an attempt to launch a franchise since lots of Jason Statham movies seem to get sequels (The Transporter, Crank, The Expendables).

Allowing the creation of an original comic-book story has some pretty major implications. Will Darwyn Cooke be allowed to create several such stories, if he decides that that’s something he’d like to do? Might another artist and writer be allowed to create Parker stories for the comics?

And, at some point, might another novelist be allowed to write a Parker novel? Maybe even under the “Richard Stark” byline?

One can assume that Westlake’s heirs would pick an author to carry on the series with the utmost of care. This has been done successfully in the past–I read a couple of John Gardner’s James Bond books back in high school and remember enjoying them tremendously. But Parker, as a character, would end up a little different. A new author would not be Westlake, and it would be impossible for that author to know exactly how Westlake envisioned Parker.

How would you feel about that?