Mass Effect is one of the most beloved (and controversial) video game series of all time, so it only makes sense that a movie adaptation of the world was announced in 2010. Mass Effect is a science-fiction action/adventure role-playing game, created by Preston Watamaniuk, Drew Karpyshyn, and Casey Hudson, and developed by BioWare, that sees players exploring the Milky Way Galaxy starting in the year 2183. The main series ran for three installments released in 2007, 2010, and 2012, and was famous for a feature that allowed player decisions to influence the narrative and relationships across all three of the main games. A sequel game that was not so warmly received, Mass Effect: Andromeda, was released in 2017, while the main series games were remastered and re-released as the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition in May 2021.
In the projected future of the Mass Effect games, humanity discovers ancient alien ruins on Mars that lead to the development of technologies that allow for easy exploration and settlement of solar systems across the galaxy. The discovery also includes previously unknown elements which cause telekinetic powers in humans. The invention of space flight and exploration leads humanity to discover other advanced alien races and a whole interstellar government and economy, which it is quick to join. The first Mass Effect story begins with Commander Shepard of the human Systems Alliance navy, who has been selected to join the Spectres – elite extra-governmental agents who operate outside the law – and discovers a plot by a rogue agent to bring back and ancient and genocidal race of machines to destroy all life in the galaxy. The three games deal with this overarching storyline but also with the interpersonal relationships of Shepard and her/his (players may choose the gender of their avatar) crew members, and other threats to galactic peace.
With a strong built-in fandom, a beloved established storyline, completed production design, and recognizable aesthetics, it's not surprising that Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. acquired the rights to a film adaptation. Even though many video game adaptations have been lambasted, Hollywood certainly has a proclivity for adapting existing material. But it was a long decade with little to no news about the Mass Effect movie adaptation. In the meantime, an anime series called Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, which acted as a prequel to the third installment was produced, releasing in 2012, and several fan films have also been made. So, is the official film adaptation of Mass Effect still happening?
The film adaptation of Mass Effect was originally announced in May 2010, with Casey Hudson, one of the game's producers, set to executive produce alongside BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, per Variety. While Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) reportedly wrote an initial script, it was announced in 2012 that Morgan Davis Foehl (Blackhat) was taking over scripting duties.
News about the Mass Effect movie had been thin on the ground since then, until Henry Cavill posted a photo to Instagram in early 2021 which appeared to tease that he was working on, reading for, or researching the adaptation. The image is a selfie of Cavill going through hair and makeup for his fantasy Netflix series The Witcher, and features some blurry script pages. Internet sleuths worked on the image and discovered some words which can only be related to Mass Effect, including "Cerberus," "Reaper," "Geth," and "Tali'Zorah." The first is a shadowy human organization, the next two are sentient machine races, and the final is a character of the alien species Quarian, all from the Mass Effect universe. It appears that – unless Cavill, a known gamer, is simply trolling – work has continued on the adaptation and Superman himself has been scouted, potentially for the lead role of Commander Shepard.
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