During Community creator Dan Harmon’s Reddit AMA today, he was asked about the future of Heat Vision and Jack, the rejected 1999 Fox pilot he created with Rob Schrab that starred Jack Black as an astronaut who befriends a talking motorcycle (Owen Wilson) and went on to become a cult hit online. Harmon replied:
“They’re trying to develop a Heat Vision and Jack cartoon right now, I believe… Schrab and I kind of ‘sold’ the idea to a studio but after a while, we backed out of it creatively and they hired writers to take it over, because it felt like they wanted Bob’s Burgers but with a motorcycle. I say that never having seen Bob’s Burgers and knowing that it’s good, I’m just saying, do it with a burger, that’s working fine already, don’t do it with a motorcycle.”
Harmon doesn’t mention what studio is working on the Heat Vision and Jack animated show or if it’s being developed at a network, but he did say what he’d like to happen next for the characters:
“Schrab and I, who have lots of stuff to work on, came to the conclusion that a good version of Heat Vision and Jack might actually be in the Eagleheart vein at Adult Swim, something relatively low-budget but allowed to be its own thing tonally. I don’t think we could expect Jack Black and Owen Wilson to line up for that gig but I think they have better things to do, too, and I think doing Heat Vision and Jack as a brand new live action series that recalls the epic TV from my childhood…that’s the way to do it without wasting the idea on something that may as well be anything else.”
After Fox passed on Heat Vision in 1999, the rights were sold to one of the Zucker Brothers to make it into movie. Harmon and Schrab didn’t like the direction said Zucker Brother wanted to take the story, so they walked. Then, in 2005, after Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and the pilot’s executive producer Ben Stiller became super successful, Harmon and Schrab started developing a movie version of Heat Vision again with Stiller interested in directing and Black interested in starring. The movie never came together and in 2010, Harmon and Schrab started working on it as a live-action web series before they transitioned into making it an animated show and subsequently dropped out of the project.