As we reported last Tuesday, Lion Forge Comics attended the San Diego Comic Con over the weekend… but Saturday evening was what Knight Rider fans were waiting for: the Lion Forge panel. A piece of cover art by Jason Johnson was due to be unveiled at the event, and fans around the world looked forward to finding out more about this new project in terms of character design. Would Johnson be using David Hasselhoff’s likeness? What form would the new, 21st Century K.I.T.T. be taking? How would the supporting cast be used?
Unfortunately the artwork didn’t make an appearance… But we’ve managed to get those answers.
What we have learned comes from the book’s writer Geoff Thorne, who revealed to us via Twitter that he has seen the cover art and “Jason is killing this. It’s gonna LOOK awesome.”
The first 8-issue ‘season’ will be composed of both stand-alone stories that double as chapters in a greater story-arc. The first arc will be “Re-indroductions. Introing the new stuff. Sort of an underlying “big bad,” but each arc stands alone.”
An underlying “big bad”? Knight Rider had a few of those, and fans will undoubtedly be screaming Garthe Knight, Goliath and K.A.R.R. at this point! Thorne remains tightlipped. “What can I say to this? Some familiar enemies are bound to appear. NONE quite the same as you expect.”
While enemies might return in unexpected new ways, Thorne is approaching the character of Michael Knight in much the same way as David Hasselhoff portrayed him in the original series. “Michael is a classic hero. Bit roguish, bit irreverent but with a perfect moral compass, so I’m playing him that way. He’s every cop or fireman who runs TOWARD trouble rather than away from it. He’s THAT guy.”
As for the supporting cast, there is one major new friend being introduced to the team. Not everyone will show up in the first arc, and not everyone will be exactly as you expect. They will also be Jason Johnson’s own character designs, as Thorne suggests that Lion Forge don’t have the rights to the actors’ likenesses. Currently they are only drawing from Knight Rider: The Original Series, but “Moving forward, if it makes a good story, the entire universe is fair game,” so we could possibly see new versions of characters from the spin-offs as well.
But you want to know about K.I.T.T., right?
“This ain’t yer grandma’s K.I.T.T. (Cue evil laugh),” Thorne says. “They don’t make the vehicle the original K.I.T.T. inhabited anymore. K.I.T.T. will be unique but not necessarily alone. (Evil laugh)” But does he retain his iconic functions, for example the Turbo Boost or Ski Mode? “The first arc doesn’t call for most of that stuff. Rest assured, K.I.T.T.’s totally badass. Tech has come a long way since the 1980s.”
The book itself won’t follow the current trends with an excessively dark and gritty style. “I don’t do dark & gritty. I do adventure. There will be down moments but I’m not interested in hyper-violent/psychotic ‘heroes.'” It should be a fun read.
Thorne watched quite a few original series episodes before he started writing, and cited the season four episode Knight of the Rising Sun as a favourite. He also revealed that the fan-favourite idea of a Knight Rider/Airwolf crossover has also been floated! “It’s something we all seem to want. There just has to be space for it. Right now everybody’s just locking in their reboots.” If the books are successful, don’t rule out the possibility of a Michael Knight-Stringfellow Hawke team-up in the future!
The first book will be available on Amazon in September!