Warner Bros. has picked up the movie rights to Gregory McDonald’s Fletch novels, hoping to succeed where so many others have failed in bringing the wise-ass investigative reporter back to the big screen, using some combination of casting magic and ball bearings. (It’s all ball bearings these days.) For those unfamiliar with the saga of failed Fletch revivals, this 2010 article from Entertainment Weekly provides a thorough chronology of the more than 12 years of attempts that should be giving Warner Bros. executives pause today. Of course, out of all those would-be Fletch reboots, Miramax and Kevin Smith famously came closest in the late ’90s, but versions have been kicked around at various other studios attached to names like Ben Affleck, Joshua Jackson, Zach Braff, Ryan Reynolds, Dave Chappelle—even one with Chris Tucker that Brett Ratner hoped to direct, until a butterfly flapping its wings in Central Park put a stop to that. Should this one get off the ground, no doubt Reynolds’ name will be back in play, considering he’s simply preemptively attached to everything, but as of now the Fletch casting field is once again wide open. Maybe look for Joel McHale's name to wedge its way in there.
Although, that could cause considerable tension around the Community set, as whenever talk of a Fletch reboot begins, it's inevitably accompanied by the question of Chevy Chase’s involvement. At one time, Smith considered bringing Chase back for Son Of Fletch, which would have found him reprising the role alongside a new generation represented by Jason Lee and Joey Lauren Adams. (Unfortunately, things went south when Chase spent his meeting with Smith claiming to have “invented every funny thing that ever happened in the history of not just comedy, but also the known world.”) And Chase remained committed to the idea of returning to the role as recently as last year, telling EW, “I don’t think anybody else is going to do it better than me, frankly.”
However, it’s likely he won’t get the chance, seeing as The Hollywood Reporter says the new Fletch will be “a reimagining, not a remake”—and definitely not a sequel. They’re also billing it as a “smart action-comedy that plays out on a bigger canvas than the original movies,” whatever that means. More explosions? Cars hitting water buffaloes in slow motion? 3-D steak sandwiches? You get the idea.