After almost 13 years in Hollywood purgatory, a feature film based on J. Michael Straczynski’s maxi-series comic Rising Stars may finally move forward.
We last heard about a movie based on the comic in 2003, when we learned that everything was on hold due to a dispute between writer JMS and Top Cow Productions, the comic producer, over rewrites that possibly violated WGA rules (and common courtesy) and radically changed the story, and even halted the production of the comic, with the final 3 issues not being released for a couple years.
Now it seems that things are on the movie again with MGM optioning the rights for a feature film, with JMS writing a new script and Atlas Entertainment’s Alex Gartner and Richard Suckle producing, along with JMS under his Studio JMS shingle.
Rising Stars is the story about 113 people born after the appearance of a mysterious comet. These people, dubbed “Specials”, are born with unique abilities. The story explores how society reacts to the Specials, and the Specials to society – and themselves.
This is never a good sign…Spike TV’s production of Red Mars is now on hold after showrunner Peter Noah exited, according to Deadline – and just a couple weeks after announcing Greg Yaitanes as director. One can’t help wonder if that played into the decision, with the standard “creative differences” between Noah and Spike being cited.
We were surprised to learn that Noah was in the lead position, as we last heard that J. Michael Straczynski was shepherding the show as well as writing, but apparently he opted out leaving it to Noah.
Spike TV is still working with Skydance on moving forward, but this will likely delay the release from the expected January 2017 date.
Spike has given a straight-to-series 10 episode order for Red Mars, with plans for it to debut in January 2017, and production starting next summer.
Red Mars is based on the trilogy of novels by Kim Stanley Robinson – Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars – which details the colonization and terraforming of Mars with very hard science behind it, with a story spanning a couple centuries. The series (at least to start) will follow the first colonists as they deal with the harsh conditions and isolation from Earth.
J. Michael Straczynski (Sense8, Babylon 5), who was tapped to pen the pilot earlier this year, will write, executive produce and be showrunner. Game of Thrones‘s Vince Gerardis will also executive produce, along with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross for Skydance Productions. JMS’s Studio JMS will also produce with Skydance TV. Robinson will consult for the series.
Babylon 5 creator and co-writer/showrunner of the upcoming Netflix series Sense8 J. Michael Straczynski has signed on to write the adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars trilogy as a TV series for Spike TV.
The show has been fasttracked for development by the network after they started development in September.
Given the long history the adaptation has had over the years, I feel a little more confident that this might actually get made.
Robinson’s Red Mars trilogy, which consists of the novels Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars, detail the colonization and terraforming of Mars with very hard science behind it, with a story spanning a couple centuries.
I have no idea how this flew underneath my radar…but apparently at SDCC, JMS mentioned his plans for Babylon 5.
He’s said many times that Warner Bros owns all the TV rights to Babylon 5, and that he’ll never see more money from TV. However, when he negotiated the deal with WB, he managed to retain feature film rights for himself. It seems that WB would still get a cut, making it highly unlikely any other studio would touch the project – but JMS doesn’t have just any other studio in mind…he has Studio JMS, which now has had enough success that it is feasible for it to fund a feature film. So now he plans to have a script done by 2015, and WB will have one year to decide to move forward with it – otherwise in 2016 Studio JMS will do it.
It isn’t certain what form the movie would take, but whispers across the Interweb seem to indicate that it will be a reboot of some form.
We didn’t know a lot about the upcoming Netflix series Sense8, from Andy and Lana Wachowski with J. Michael Straczynski, but now we know who will be in it, and a bit more on what it is about.
According to Deadline, the international cast includes U.S. actors Daryl Hannah (Splash, Kill Bill Vols. I and II), Brian J. Smith (Stargate Universe) and Terrence Mann (The Dresden Files); British actors Naveen Andrews (Lost, Sinbad, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland), Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who, Torchwood), Tuppence Middleton (Sinbad, Trance), and Aml Ameen (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Harry’s Law); Mexican actors Alfonso Herrera and Erendira Ibarra; Indian actress Tena Desae (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel); South Korean actress Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas); and German actor Max Riemelt (The Wave), along with Jamie Clayton and Miguel Silvestri.
“The series follows eight characters around the world who, in the aftermath of a tragic death, find themselves linked to each other mentally and emotionally,” co-showrunner J. Michael Straczynski told Deadline. “They can not only see and talk to each other as though they were in the same place, they have access to each other’s deepest secrets. Not only must they figure out what happened and why and what it means for the future of humanity, they must do so netflix-logowhile being hunted by an organization out to capture, kill or vivisect them.”
Could Harlan Ellison finally be warming up to the idea of a big screen movie of one of his stories? It appears so, but it wasn’t easy, even for J. Michael Straczynski, who successfully optioned the story for a film based on Ellison’s Hugo and Nebula Award-winning story Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktock Man.
Even though they’ve worked together before (Ellison was an advisor on Babylon 5), Ellison wasn’t just going to let JMS have it – in fact, he required JMS to write the entire screenplay first, and then based on that, granted the option. JMS can now shop the screenplay for producers and directors, and plans to hit up Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro first.
Ellison and Hollywood have generally not gotten along. Known for being very litigious over anything that even resembled one of his stories, he most recently had filed suit but later dropped against the movie In Time for similarities to Repent Harlequin!. He settled out of court against the makers of The Terminator for similarities to his Outer Limits episodes “Soldier” and “Demon With A Glass Hand”. He fought with Gene Roddenberry over rewrites to his Star Trek script “City on the Edge of Forever”, and had his name taken off the series The Starlost which he create after the producers kept changing things, opting for his pseudonym “Cordwainer Bird”, which he attaches to anything he does that he feels is not quality, even his own stories. So it will be interesting to finally see a big production made from one of his top stories.
Finally, there are a few details about the upcoming Netflix series Sense8, from Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix Trilogy) and showrunner J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5).
According to TV Line:
The sci-fi drama will focus on eight people scattered around the globe who are connected by a shared — violent — vision. (Because it’s never a vision of kittens, is it?) Each episode — shot in the UK, Seoul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Berlin, Mexico City, San Francisco and Chicago — will follow the characters’ separate stories, even as one entity tries to bring the octet together and another tries to kill them.
Among the regulars (as yet uncast) are: a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk, an Icelandic party girl, a German safe-cracker, a Korean businesswoman, an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger (a la Lana?). Perhaps most intriguing, though, are Jonas, an apparently magic African-American who appears to all of the “visionaries,” and his evil counterpart, Mr. Whispers (arguably the best-named villain since The X-Files’ Cigarette-Smoking Man).
With JMS running the show, I’m sure the story will be compelling and told well…next up, director and cast!
Sense8, the sci-fi drama which marks the first foray into the television format from Andy and Lana Wachowski, has been picked up for 10 episodes by Netflix. Georgiaville TV and Reliance Entertainment are producing in association with Studio JMS (the studio set up by J. Michael Straczynski last year.)
Details of the show are scarce, other than it being describes as “A gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted.” The Wachowskis said, “We’re excited to work with Netflix and Georgeville Television on this project, and we’ve wanted to work with Joe Straczynski for years, chiefly due to the fact his name is harder to pronounce than ours, but also because we share a love of genre and all things nerdy.”
Sense8 is expected to be released in late 2014, with all 10 episodes released simultaneously.
Could the cult favorite SF kids show Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, known for having a deep, intense stories despite being seen as a toy marketing gimmick, make a comeback 25 years since it debuted in 1987?
It seems so, as the people involved spoke with the folks over at io9. The new show, however, will be a more adult-oriented 60-minute show, compared to the original 30-minute kids show.
Long time readers of Sci-Fi Storm are probably already asking – is J. Michael Straczynski, who wrote many of the most memorable episodes, involved in the show? Apparently not, according to producer Roger Lay, who says that JMS told him and other producers that’s he’s happy with what he’s already done with the show in the 80s. JMS was always the biggest cheerleader for the show over the years, being involved in the [asin=B005OZJE8K]DVD release[/sfs] in 2011, and outlines a trilogy of feature films, but the producers didn’t want to go that route, and JMS wasn’t interested in going back to the episodic format.
But anyways, this has the potential to be a great SF show, and they’ve already got a script from the team of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Star Trek: Enterprise, Primeval: The New World) and they’ve begun shopping it around internationally, with at least one network very interested.