For several years now -really since Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was released all the way back in October 2009 -a blockbuster Uncharted movie has been in development hell. With castings for Nathan Drake ranging from the terrible (Mark Wahlberg) to the strange (Tom Holland, later clarified to be cast as a young Nathan Drake), the film has struggled to find a lead capable of portraying the witty snark and daring brilliance of the series’ protagonist. And unsurprisingly so. After all, it takes a special talent to pull of the charisma, even in the face of danger, like a modern day Indiana Jones and then be able to mix with it the boyish charm and humor found within Nathan Drake. Because of this, Sony has kept the project on ice until further notice. Nevermind the fact that the fanbase has already told the studio who they want.
For those familiar with the cult classic series, Firefly, Nathan Fillion appears to have all the makings of a perfect fit. As the years wore on, however, the belief, my own included, was that Fillion had become a bit too old to play the role -that is, unless the studio opted to begin with a later installment in the franchise. Given the way studios try to bleed IPs dry now, avoiding stand-alone films that don’t at least tie into something else like the plague, this seemed unlikely.
And then something interesting happened…
On July 12th, Nathan Fillion published the above post to his Instagram account. Depicting the rapper Drake, along with the caption Sic Parvis Magna (Nathan Drake’s mantra in the video game franchise) and the date 7/16/18, it became crystal clear what was happening. At least, kind of.
While the announcement wasn’t quite what fans expected, being a fan film -albeit an exceptional one- rather than a studio release, Fillion did manage to deliver on something people have waited years to see. But could he really pull it off?
The film opens with a captured Nathan Drake being transported to a mansion for interrogation. It seems the employer of his captives purchased some rare artifact at a black market auction and Drake instead swooped in and stole it for himself in search of the legendary treasure it points to. Not only does Fillion look the part from the first moment he’s seen fully on screen, but he brilliantly channels the mannerisms and and wit of the titular character he’s portraying.
Drake banters with his interrogators, is beaten down for his refusal to talk, all the while buying time while Victor “Sully” Sullivan (played by Stephen Lang) downloads the blueprints to the house for Drake to seek out the next piece of the clue. Once ready, Drake escapes from his bindings and a wild brawl on par with games commences as Drake attempts to steal the rare documents needed with his rare artifact.
Clocking in at just under 15 minutes, the film mixes humor with fantastic action and choreography. Admittedly, I came into this feature somewhat hesitantly as the Uncharted franchise is very near and dear to my heart but man, oh man, was I wrong. Nathan Fillion absolutely kills it as Nathan Drake, convincing me now that not only is an Uncharted film (at least a good one) possible, but that HE is the man who must play the part for it to succeed.
This short film acts more as an audition piece than anything as all of the positive buzz and the dead-on channeling of Nathan Drake will surely sell Sony on Fillion’s ability to draw. As for when that might happen, it’s hard to say as the film only came out yesterday. But if the studio is smart, it’ll take one look at this well-crafted fan film and immediately look to take the project off ice. The first step: getting Nathan Fillion on the phone.