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A ‘Chinatown’ Prequel Penned By David Fincher Is In Plans

The series will focus on detective J.J. Gittes’ early days in Chinatown.

As ‘Chinatown’ celebrates its 50th anniversary, there’s exciting news for fans of the classic.

‘Chinatown’ was a big hit when it first came out in 1974. But Robert Towne did not like the film’s ending at first. He imagined a more positive outcome for Gittes and did not want the story to return to Chinatown. Over time, Towne came to agree that Polanski’s ending was the right choice. Now, in his 80s, he is revisiting ‘Chinatown’ with Fincher to create a prequel series.

Towne told Variety that all episodes of the prequel are already written:

“All I’m likely to say is yes, all the episodes have been written for Netflix. Working with a force of nature like David Fincher, tho’ occasionally humbling, is never less than enlightening.”

This Isn’t the First Time Towne Revisited ‘Chinatown’

A Jack Nicholson-directed sequel called ‘The Two Jakes’ was released in 1990. It follows Gittes in 1948 Los Angeles, dealing with a new real estate conspiracy. The film received mixed reviews and did not perform well at the box office, so this put an end to plans for a third movie.

Towne and Nicholson thought about making a third film. It would’ve been called ‘Gittes vs. Gittes.’ This film would’ve focused on the changes in California law regarding no-fault divorce, which could’ve impacted Gittes’ detective work. But Towne left the project before it was made, and the third film never happened.

The new series will look at Gittes’ early career as a new detective in Chinatown. In the original ‘Chinatown’ film, Lou Escobar (Perry Lopez) is more of an obstacle than a friend to Gittes. The prequel will explore their history together and how their experiences shaped Gittes into the detective seen in the original movie.

Towne and Fincher decided not to try to recreate the villain from the first movie. Towne explained this decision, saying:

“When David and I first started talking we agreed we wouldn’t try to replicate Noah Cross. But we did want to keep in mind that the crimes that history considers monstrous are those that will not remain in the past but insist on visiting the future, and I think we managed that.”

‘Chinatown’s new 4K Ultra Blu-Ray version is now available from Paramount Presents.

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