Let us return for a moment to Maverick . At what point should we begin a discussion of this film made "from" the television series? The answer, we suggest, depends on one's particular interests. Maverick as a remake or spinoff is a complicated case, for it was written by William Goldman, who also wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (among many other films) and who worked closely with director George Roy Hill. Hill not only directed Butch Cassidy but The Sting as well, a film many critics have suggested Maverick , the movie, followed rather too closely.
To begin a discussion of Maverick 's borrowings thus takes in a number of
films the audience may or may not recognize: who can watch Mel Gibson, as he nearly falls into the Grand Canyon, without thinking of two women who purposely drove into the canyon in the film Thelma and Louise , clearly "remade" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid —but twenty years later from a woman's point of view! Allusions, spin-offs, makeovers, and remakes—all of these terms are needed to characterize the complex nature of a work like Maverick .
The spirit that shapes a work like Maverick has been picked up by filmmakers from Hollywood to Hong Kong as they have sought to enrich the possibilities of their medium by transforming novels, comic books, symphonies, television series and, more recently, video games into films and vice versa. If Maverick can return to the big screen, what cinematic-comic-novelistic figure will be next? And in what form?