Dan Trachtenberg, who by all accounts is a good guy, has been hired by New Line to direct a movie version of Brian K. Vaughan/Pia Guerra's classic comic series, Y: The Last Man. Apparently super nice bro Dan got the gig off the strength of his fanfilm, Portal: No Escape. As a big fan of Y, and as a huge fan of movies, I hope this will be great! I'm rooting for it!
It probably won't be great. I mean, it could be. Anything can happen. But there are some significant problems, with the biggest being that Y feels utterly wrong for a movie. It's a very long story, and I think it has to be long to be effective. It's a very specific sort of serialized tale that's ideal for serialized storytelling. Like comics. Or TV. I wouldn't want to be the writer tasked with making this a movie (although since it's 2013 they're obviously planning it as a series of films, but whatever).
Second, absolutely incredible broham Dan's fanfilm sort of stinks. Weirdly I've been playing Portal and Portal 2 lately (there was a Steam sale), and Dan's film captures approximately nothing of Portal except the look of the gun and the portals. The game is wry, it's contemplative, it's slow paced and it's subversively serious. It's not grim and gritty and dark and tough. It's not an action game. It's a brain game. It's a witheringly funny brain game with limited - but exceptional - characters. None of that is on display in Portal: No Escape.
Y: The Last Man actually has a lot in common with Portal, in terms of tone. The fact that Dan didn't understand Portal's tone at all makes me wonder if he'll get Y's. It's not a dark apocalypse story. It's a cerebral, often funny, honest but almost never, ever grim tale. And it's a character piece. Y is 99% reliant on the characters; the actual storylines are often not as interesting as how the characters react to them.
For those who don't know: Y: The Last Man tells the story of Yorick, an amateur escape artist with a pet monkey named Ampersand. They are the only two males left alive after something mysteriously and suddenly kills every man on Earth. They have adventures and seek truths, exploring gender and society, moving towards one of the best endings to a comic series I have ever read.
There are a lot of people excited by the news. Dan has a lot of friends in the movie blog world, and they're all happy for him, which is cool. I love when my friends do well. And there are people who liked Portal: No Escape a lot, despite it bearing no reasonable resemblence to the thing it was fanning. I guess he 'made it his own (made it like Christopher Nolan would)!'
Good time Dan isn't the first director on the film; DJ Caruso was on it forever. I suspect this won't be the end of Y: The Last Man news, as this project will likely snake along for a while.
Good luck, Dan. We're all counting on you not to ruin this.
UPDATE: just to let you know where New Line's head is on this one, the other guy up for the job was the dude who made the godawful Y: The Last Man fanfilm that went everywhere last year. They just really wanted a fanfilmmaker, I guess.