Is Brad Bird’s top secret ’1952′ going to be about Walt Disney … or Buck Rogers?

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk
The Box
The Box

Brad Bird, the director of such top-notch animated features as "The Incredibles" and "The Iron Giant," proved he could handle live action just fine with "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," the highest-grossing "M:I" movie to date and the film that reminded everyone that Tom Cruise is, indeed, a movie star.

Since the film was released in December 2011, everyone's been wondering what Bird will do next. He was offered almost every action and/or sci-fi project in the pipeline and was inevitably one of the first names mentioned as a possible director for "Star Wars: Episode VII." Bird won't be heading to a galaxy far, far away (at least, we don't think he will, but whatever), but he does indeed have a top-secret project of his own: a film entitled, rather ominously, "1952."

Until today, all we knew about "1952" was that it's going to be live action and George Clooney is going to star in it. Now, we have a few more details that suggest "1952" is going to be quite the special and rather ambitious project.

Did we say details? More like clues, as Aint It Cool News has posted a photo of a suitcase labeled, simply, "1952." This is allegedly the suitcase that screenwriter Damon Lindelof (a veteran of "secret projects," having co-written "Prometheus," "Star Trek Into Darkness" and a little TV show called "Lost") found at the Disney offices and subsequently inspired him to write the mysterious screenplay ... and the various interesting photos and paraphernalia therein give some hints as to what it might be all about (always "might be" with these people!).

There are some pics of Walt Disney, which provides fuel to the theory that "1952" could be about the creation of Disneyland, which opened in 1955 (the title is three years off, but hey, who needs pesky historical details?). But what's more intriguing is the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories found buried under the photos.

This particular issue of the sci-fi/fantasy magazine (which was adapted into a TV series in the '80s by Steven Spielberg) contains stories by popular sci-fi writers H.G. Wells, Edward Elmer 'Doc' Smith and Philip Francis Nowlan. Nowlan's story is "Armageddon 2419," the hero of which is Anthony Rogers, a World War I veteran working for the American Radioactive Gas Corporation (heh heh) whose workplace accident causes him go into suspended animation for 492 years.

Sound familiar? Maybe more so if you cut a year later to 1929, when Anthony Rogers' first name was changed to "Buck."

Bidi-bidi-bidi! Is Brad Bird making a Buck Rogers movie?

It would certainly be a Buck Rogers movie to end all others. Of course, whether it's what "1952" really is remains to be seen -- for now, it's just a fun (a really fun) theory. And let's not dismiss the other idea that it could be a Walt Disney biography film, as Clooney would certainly make a better Walt than Buck (though Disney's own Disney-centric "Saving Mr. Banks," starring Tom Hanks, might make a biopic unlikely).

Well, we suppose we'll do what we always do in this kind of agonizing situation: wait and see. "1952" will hit theaters in December 2014 -- until then, let the theorizing run wild.