Netflix has ordered futuristic drama series Altered Carbon, based on the 2002 Richard Morgan novel, from Laeta Kalogridis and Skydance Television.
The book (and two sequels) are set 500 years in the future, after mankind has managed to colonize some extra-solar planets, as well as conquering death by learning how to digitize human personalities (their “soul”) and can download them into new bodies, called “sleeves”. Not everyone can afford a new sleeve, however. The rich can also afford to keep backups of their mind in storage and update them periodically, in case something happens to them before they can be downloaded.
The story follows Takeshi Kovacs, a former Envoy, an elite form of soldier for the U.N., trained to deal with the problems of interstellar warfare. Since FTL travel is only possible via data transmission, an Envoy is specially trained in more mental techniques than physical, since they could be transmitted into a new sleeve on another planet.
In Altered Carbon, on Kovacs home world called Harlan’s World, he is hired to investigate the suicide of a Meth (short for Methuselah, one of the long-lived rich people who can afford replacement sleeves) named Laurens Bancroft – by Bancroft himself. He believes his suicide was actually a murder, but his backup was 48 hours old, so he has no recollection of the events preceding his death.
Kalogridis (Avatar, Shuttered Island) optioned the books four years ago, and wrote a screenplay (with David H. Goodman, Once Upon A Time), which Netflix wants adapted to a series. Kalogridis will serve as executive producer/showrunner, with Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross serving as executive producers. Kalogridis’ partners in Mythology Entertainment Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt will produce along with Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner, Mike Medavoy and Arnie Messer.