The Gears of War movie, like most video game adaptations, has been struggling through development since Universal Pictures licensed it in 2016. Things seem to be moving forward with the latest version of the film, however, after a new writer was brought onto the project this past November. The script is at least in a state where Gears 5 developer The Coalition's boss Rod Fergusson is confident in saying that the Gears of War film is officially not canon.
According to Fergusson, the Gears of War movie will be set in an alternate reality. That was a decision that apparently The Coalition was directly involved in. Fergusson explains, "In order for the movie to be successful, it has to be a great movie first and a Gears movie second." If the film was dependent on the Gears of War video game franchise's storytelling, that limits the ways the Gears movie can stand on its own - and vice versa.
The Coalition eventually went on to provide two pages of "thou shall nots and recommendations" for the film production to follow. Beyond that, The Coalition's Rod Fergusson says that the team wants the filmmakers to "have the freedom to have new ideas and to take things differently." He's putting a lot of faith in the film's reported writer, F. Scott Frazier, known for xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
Of course, the logic behind Fergusson's explanation doesn't necessarily speak truth to reality. History shows that video game mobies that stand independently from their source material are more often than not disappointing to fans. Of course, those projects are also much more likely to be made as opposed to sitting in development hell like other projects. There's no predicting whether the Gears of War movie will be good or bad, but it at least has a chance of being made.
One reason why Fergusson's explanation makes a lot of sense is that it draws a line between the Gears of War film and the Gears of War game franchise. Fergusson's priority is Gears 5 and then what comes after. And when the Gears of War film launches, if it ever does, Fergusson can honestly say that it has nothing to do with his games, that The Coalition's games stand on their own. For better or worse.
Gears 5 releases September 10 on PC and Xbox One.