The same year The Lord of the Rings trilogy reached its epic conclusion, one of the greatest sea stories ever put to film sailed into theaters. Eighteen years after its release, Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is finally getting a follow-up.
20th Century Studios recently announced development of a prequel to the 2003 naval warfare masterpiece. While no director or actors have been announced, fans should be excited by the prospect of finally returning to sea for more sails and blackpowder gunfights.
Master and Commander was adapted from Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book series about naval combat during the Napoleonic Wars. The series follows Royal Navy Capt. Jack Aubrey, played by Russell Crowe in the film, and ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin, played by Paul Bettany, as they wage war on the high seas against French privateers. O’Brian has been compared to literary giants Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad for the fiction series. With a story so compelling, it’s no surprise the movie adaptation was a commercial and critical success. And with so many books to draw from, it was just a matter of time before another movie got made.
In a year when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the 800-pound gorilla at the Oscars, Master and Commander raked in a whopping 10 Academy Award nominations and took home wins for best cinematography and best sound editing. The movie remains one of the most visually stunning films ever made. Hopefully Russell Boyd returns as cinematographer for the prequel, though no names have been attached to the film aside from Patrick Ness, who is reportedly working on the screenplay. Whoever climbs aboard the new film’s cast and crew will have large shoes to fill.