In May, during his Hollywood Babbl-On podcast, Kevin Smith revealed that he was working with MGM on a television adaptation of the 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! (commonly shortened to Buckaroo Banzai) — written by Earl Mac Rauch and directed by W.D. Richter. Then, in July, it was announced that his Buckaroo Banzai TV series was headed to streaming giant Amazon.
Now, Smith has stated in a new Facebook Live video that he's walking away from Buckaroo Banzai after learning earlier today that MGM has filed a lawsuit against its original creators, Rauch and Richter. "I'm not saying anyone is wrong in this situation," Smith said. "What I'm saying, respectively to all parties involved, I'm out."
Smith fell in love with the property immediately after seeing the zany film decades ago and had planned from the get-go to have Rauch write an episode and Richter direct an episode, so today's news caught him completely off guard.
Smith did leave the door open to returning to the project. "I'm no longer involved," he added. "I don't wish anyone harm. I wish all parties well. I hope those dudes come to an agreement, and if they do and still want me involved down the road, I'll be here."
According to the lawsuit (via The Hollywood Reporter), Rauch and Richter "have now asserted in multiple letters to Plaintiffs that they, not Plaintiffs, supposedly own the exclusive right to produce and distribute a Buckaroo Banzai television series," states MGM's lawsuit. "There is now a substantial controversy between the parties with great immediacy. MGM seeks to develop its new television series without Defendants’ interference. Accordingly, Plaintiffs bring this action to seek a declaration of the rights and legal relations of the parties with regard to Buckaroo Banzai."
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! (1984) - Brilliant brain surgeon-rock star-and comic book hero Buckaroo Banzai just made scientific history! Shifting his Oscillation Overthruster into warp speed, he's the first man ever to travel to the Eighth Dimension and come back sane. But when his sworn enemy, the demented Dr. Lizardo, unleashes an evil army of inter-dimensional aliens, Buckaroo goes cranium to cranium with the madman in a battle that could result in the annihilation of the universe!