'The Old Guard': How a personal tragedy inspired Greg Rucka to write the graphic novel the movie is based on

The story has an intriguing premise and it all came from two separate ideas that Rucka combined to create the masterpiece we see today


                            'The Old Guard': How a personal tragedy inspired Greg Rucka to write the graphic novel the movie is based on
Kiki Layne, Charlize Theron, Luca Marinelli, and Marwan Kenzari (Netflix)
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There's a brand new superhero action movie coming to Netflix starring Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne. 'The Old Guard', which tells the story of a group of immortal warriors, is based on an acclaimed graphic novel of the same name by Eisner Award-winning writer Greg Rucka.

The story has an intriguing premise and it all came from two separate ideas that Rucka combined to create the masterpiece we see today. In 'The Old Guard: Force Multiplied' #1, the first issue of the series's second book, we find a letter from Rucka where he explains how 'The Old Guard' was born. As Rucka tells it, he'd had the idea for an immortal proto-Amazonian warrior woman bouncing around in his head for the longest time. He knew she would be old (but not look her age) and she would extremely tired after thousands of years of existence.

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The second part of the idea came from his wife, Jen Van Meter, who introduced Rucka to the urban legend of a "ghost platoon". The legend, which has probably been around for as long as there have been wars, tells of a group of soldiers who would constantly give their lives in service of a cause, only to keep on living and appearing whenever the world needs them most.

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By combining these two ideas, Rucka was able to come up with the concept of 'The Old Guard', a story about a woman called Andy (played by Charlize Theron in the movie) who has been around for over six thousand years, her team of semi-immortal soldiers and their adventures. To bring in a bit of danger, he made it so that the Guard can die but they don't know when or how it might happen, adding a nice existential touch to these undying warriors.

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But while that might have been how the idea was formed, the purpose behind the story is one that even Rucka didn't realize until he was already doing the fourth issue of the first series.

"Around issue four, I realized 'The Old Guard' was about the death of my father," Rucka writes. "More precisely, it was me trying to articulate the argument, or to somehow reconcile, the necessity of death. It is an attempt to understand, on some level, the fact that all things must pass, and it is, in some way, about the pain and grief carried by those left behind."

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'The Old Guard' will arrive on Netflix on July 10.