It’s nearly five years since we learned David Fincher and Robert Towne would partner on a Chinatown series concerning the early days of Jack Nicholson’s Jake Gittes. (One made, naturally, for Netflix.) The time since (Mank, The Killer) pointed towards a director who’d been brought back to feature filmmaking, to say nothing of how costly and expansive such a project would be for a company clearly less willing to take chances on major auteurs. Speaking to Variety on occasion of the film’s 50th anniversary, however, Towne provided the crucial notice that “all the episodes have been written.” An advanced state of development that nevertheless fails to signal where it’s at with Netflix––the company offered no update of their own.

Towne was fairly candid, though, saying the project’s villain will evoke John Huston’s Noah Cross––among the most evil characters in mainstream American cinema––having been shaped by the notion “that the crimes that history considers monstrous are those that will not remain in the past but insist on visiting the future.” A statement as expressive and cryptic as nearly anything in Roman Polanski’s film. And while few people come from it thinking deeply about the relationship between Gittes and officer Lou Escobar, its genesis––as officers on the Chinatown beat and “Escobar’s presence during the tragedy that shakes Gittes”––shapes Towne and Fincher’s series, elaborating upon decades-old material to extents that surprised the writer himself.

Fincher has no other known projects in development, which––taken with Towne’s significant notice––might portend a sooner-than-later movement on this series. (Whether he’d direct any, all, or––as with Mindhunter––bits and bobs of it remains uncertain.) Given the company’s recent habits with David Lynch, however, I wouldn’t bet everything on its advancement. For now this is a matter of waiting and hoping.

In the meantime, listen to Towne and Fincher’s commentary for Polanski’s film:

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