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Apple TV+'s Time Bandits - What We Know So Far

Apple TV+ has been gaining steam since the streaming site's launch in 2019, with shows like "Ted Lasso" garnering serious praise, and even more highly anticipated originals on the horizon. Back in March 2019, the subscription service announced that a TV series reboot of "Time Bandits" was in the works (via Express U.K.), and with some big names attached to the project. The foremost is Taika Waititi, director of "Thor: Ragnarok" and co-creator of "What We Do in the Shadows," who is set to direct the show's pilot. Also on board is Terry Gilliam, who wrote and directed the original 1981 film, and will be serving as an executive producer for the series.

While "Time Bandits" might not be an instantly familiar title for some, the fantasy comedy has become something of a cult classic over the years. At the time of its release, it was a huge breakout hit for Gilliam (via Box Office Mojo), yet seems to have disappeared from the public's consciousness over time. So for those who are curious what to expect from the new reboot series, here is what we know about "Time Bandits" so far.

When is the release date of Time Bandits?

As of yet, there is no set release date for the "Time Bandits" TV series. Apple first announced that they had purchased the rights to the title in 2018, in a collaboration with Anonymous Content, Media Rights Capital, and Paramount Television (via Deadline). After the news that Waititi was involved broke, it was assumed that the series would hit Apple TV+ sometime in 2020 — but then, of course, the pandemic happened.

Another worrying factor that may keep the "Time Bandits" release in limbo is the reported lack of communication between the studios and executive producer, Terry Gilliam. In an interview with Syfy Wire in October 2019, Gilliam revealed that he had not been told about Waititi's involvement until he read about it online, causing frustration for the filmmaker. Gilliam also said that he had not yet signed a contract for the series, and does not plan to until he sees and approves of the pilot. While the worldwide pandemic may have been a big contribution to the delay of the series, it is also possible that the tension between Gilliam and the various production companies involved may have tripped up production somewhat.

Who is in the cast of Time Bandits?

The original "Time Bandits" movie is made up of a large ensemble of characters, so casting for the Apple TV+ series is going to take some time. Since there has been no news of the series moving into the filming stage, hopefully the show's creators have taken advantage of the production delay to really consider who will best fit the bill.

The 1981 film featured a slew of celebrated actors, including Ian Holm, Shelley Duvall, and Monty Python members Michael Palin (who also co-write the film) and John Cleese. Former James Bond star, Sean Connery, also has a role in the film, playing King Agamemnon. In an interview with writer David Weiner in 2016, Gilliam confessed that Connery's involvement in the movie came as a big surprise.

"The script actually read, 'When the great warrior removes his helmet, he reveals himself to be none other than Sean Connery — or an actor of equal-but-cheaper stature,'" Gilliam told Weiner. "And Mike [Palin] and I put that in as a joke. And our manager, a less-than-humorous person, took it seriously and got Connery."

With the combined connections of both Waititi and Gilliam, fans can bet that there will be some familiar faces who will appear on the show though, sadly, Connery's won't be one of them.

What is Time Bandits about?

The plot for the original "Time Bandits" movie is as zany as they come. A young boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) is taken on the adventure of a lifetime when he meets a group of time-traveling dwarves. The travelers have stolen a map from someone known as the Supreme Being, and with it they travel to various points in time to pilfer priceless treasures. During their journey, the adventurers come across famous historical figures such as Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Robin Hood (John Cleese), as well as events like the sinking of the Titanic. The group is also being pursued by a sinister force simply known as Evil (David Warner), who wants the map for himself so that he can change the fabric of reality for his own design.

Though "Time Bandits" was first released in 1981, it has a certain timelessness that has aged well over the last forty years. Because the original has a big following of loyal fans, it's not likely that the TV show's creators will change the overall plot that much. Sure, there will likely be differences in historical characters and events, and the humor and context will probably be updated for a modern audience — yet the bold spirit and vivid imagination of the film are traits that the show will hopefully hold onto. Looper will be sure to keep readers updated with any new info as it becomes available.