Those who know (and love) Peter Weir‘s 2003 adventure Master And Commander, an adaptation of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin Napoleonic naval novels, have long wanted to see more from the series, hoping for a return to the characters played by Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. From the looks of 20th Century Studio’s new plan, only half of that wish seems set to come true, as a prequel is in the early stages of construction in dry dock.

Another PatrickChaos Walking book creator Ness – is on board this time, with the aim a story that will outline how Captain Jack Aubrey (played by Crowe in 2003) and ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin (Bettany in the film) meet when Aubrey is given his first command. From the sounds of it, unless de-aging technology is employed, new actors will take over the roles.

Technically, this would see Ness adapting Master And Commander, the first book, since Weir’s film drew from several tomes but didn’t reference one specifically. There’s no director or cast anywhere near this, but honestly, we’d like to see Weir given another crack at the concept if he wants it. Despite 10 Oscar nominations, the original film’s less than shipshape $200 million from a $150 million budget meant a follow-up didn’t float. There’s still a chance… But we can’t count our eggs before they’re in the pudding.

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