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The Champions - What We Know So Far

TV shows and movies are rebooted on a weekly basis, but here's an upcoming series that even diehard TV fans might be surprised to learn about. "The Champions" was a science fiction and espionage-themed series with a completely bonkers premise — more on that below — that originally aired on Britain's ITV from 1968 to 1969. It also aired on NBC in the summer of 1968. 

The somewhat obscure series starred Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, and William Gaunt in the three lead roles and ran for 30 total episodes. It was created by legendary British screenwriters Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman, who were responsible for several other spy-themed shows on British television in the 1960's, like "Department S," "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)," and "Jason King." If none of those sound familiar to modern American audiences, Spooner was also a script editor on the original incarnation of "Doctor Who." 

Now, "The Champions" is being adapted into a movie, and some A-list talent is already attached. Here's everything we know so far about "The Champions" movie. 

What is the release date for The Champions?

At this point, no release date for "The Champions" has yet been announced. Most likely it will depend on the availability of the two stars — more on them below — both of whom are very busy with upcoming projects.

As reported by Deadline, Ben Stiller is currently in post-production on an Apple+ workplace thriller series called "Severance." Next, he's committed to directing and producing "Bag Man," a Focus Features film based on Rachel Maddow's podcast. After that, he'll be directing and producing a feature called "London" that will star Oscar Isaac. Finally, he'll be executive producing an Apple+ series titled "High Desert." Cate Blanchett, meanwhile, is in the middle of filming a feature called "Tar" that's directed by Todd Field.

Since Stiller is already committed to directing two feature films, he most likely wouldn't be available to direct "The Champions" at least until those are both in post-production. That means the earliest he could realistically start directing "The Champions" would be by the end of 2022. Since movies usually take between 10 and 14 months to make, don't expect "The Champions" before 2023 (via The Cinemaholic).

Who is in the cast of The Champions?

So far, the only two attached talent are Ben Stiller and Cate Blanchett. Stiller will be starring as well as directing and producing through his company, Red Hour Productions. Blanchett will also be producing via her company, Dirty Films (via Deadline). We don't yet know which characters they'll be playing, but if the movie follows the template of the original TV series, they'll most likely be playing two of the three leads — see below. That leaves at least one more major role to be filled.

Otherwise, the only names announced so far belong to the producers. "The Champions" is a result of a first-look deal between Dirty Films and New Republic Pictures. Brian Oliver and Bradley Fischer from New Republic are producing, along with Andrew Upton and Coco Francini from Dirty Films. 

"The Champions" doesn't yet have an announced screenwriter, which gives you an idea of how early along it is in the process.

What is the plot of The Champions?

While there's no official plot synopsis for "The Champions," we already have a pretty good idea what it will be about since it's a reboot. The original "Champions" series was about a trio of secret agents — Craig Stirling, Sharron Macready, and Richard Barrett — working for a Swiss intelligence agency called Nemesis. On their first mission, the agents crash in the Himalayas. There, they meet an advanced civilization that grants them superhuman physical and mental abilities. When the agents returned to the outside world, they used these abilities to fight international crime, with each episode featuring a different crisis (via Variety).

Most likely, the "Champions" movie will keep that same setup. As for what dangers the agents will be facing, that's anyone's guess. The "Champions" TV series often used problems that were very much of the time it was made, like renegade South American dictators and stolen nuclear weapons. But the movie could easily be updated for modern audiences.