While we’re not going to see the giant shark movie Meg until 2018, a spiritual follow-up is on the verge of being developed. The Jason Statham horror/thriller is based on Steve Alten’s best-selling same-named novel, and one of his other books, The Loch, is being optioned for a film adaptation.

Alten is the prolific author who mixes science fiction with horror themes, with Meg (and all its sequels) being probably his most well-known novels. Charting the discovery and effects of a surviving Megalodon shark, the big screen treatment is only likely to increase the popularity of the written franchise. Horror auteur Eli Roth was tapped at one point to direct the monster-shark film, but eventually it fell to John Turteltaub (National Treasure) to shoot it, with Statham as the star. The film has had the release date delayed to August 2018, but is still expected to make a splash in IMAX cinemas when it’s finally completed.

But Alten has many other series and novels to choose from, and one of his most popular offerings is The Loch, which was published in 2005 and deals (unsurprisingly) with the subject of the mythical Loch Ness Monster. In a previous interview with Screen Rant back in 2009, the author pointed to a possible film version of the novel, but that never came to fruition at the time. However, Bloody Disgusting is reporting there is now a very real possibility that this will happen, especially with the current interest in Meg. Speaking to the site, Alten said:

“Belle Avery, the lead producer on Meg, is working with her Chinese producers to bring The Loch to the big screen … Screenwriter and director are their first priorities… and they are speaking to some serious talent.”

With Meg being co-produced between American and Chinese studios, it probably makes sense that this is the approach being taken. The plot of The Loch itself is far from being a straightforward monster movie. It has many different elements thrown into the mix, including giant squid, underwater research, the “bloop” (the sonar noise allegedly made by unknown creatures), the Knights Templar, and even a dash of legal intrigue. It’s a highly entertaining story that could do well as a big budget film if they get all the details right.

With the recent commercial successes of The Shallows and 47 Meters Down, along with the continued buzz around Meg, it seems that underwater “monster” movies are bigger than ever. And while a gigantic shark doesn’t headline The Loch, it’s sure to tap into the same fear of underwater menace that those films did and could become a profitable exercise. Recent collaborations between Chinese and US studios (The Great Wall) haven’t been as successful as hoped, so if this film does go down that route, we hope for a more worthy result. We’ll keep you updated on developments with The Loch as well as Meg.