All good points. The real question is why would a studio bother optioning a property as “old news” as The Saint? Outside of this board and whatever boards are out there for Charteris fans, does anyone even still read these books? Unlike superheroes or video game characters, Templar can’t have much of a “ready-made fan base.”
For the last 30 years I haven’t seen a single Saint adventure on a bookstore shelf ( excluding vintage editions in second-hand shops). Whatever that does or doesn’t say about how “marketable” the character is, it does mean there’s been no material out there to draw in new readers for at least a generation. Sure if you already know about the Saint, you can find his adventures with some effort, but there’s no chance of “discovering” him by accident while looking for a beach read.
I’m not even convinced most people remember Roger’s version. At this point, Saint fans are an aging lot, and even when Roger updated him for the Swinging 60s the character already had whiskers. It seems to me trying to market a character that unknown would be like starting from scratch with a new character created just for, and owned completely by, a studio. So why not just do that?
If rather see a Netflix-level TV series, or string of TV movies, than a Hollywood blockbuster. On TV, there would be less risk involved in staying faithful to Charteris, and more chance the character would be discovered by new audiences and appreciated in something closer to its true form. A big screen effort is guaranteed to change everything as a basic rule of Blockbuster-Making 101, which means if it succeeds, we’ve gained nothing and if it fails, the Saint slips further into cultural obscurity as the bean-counters conclude the fault is in the property, not the approach.