Every time George R.R. Martin posts on his Not A Blog, anxious followers hope he's got news on the next chapter of his Westerosi saga. But this past weekend, he pulled a Wild Card on us.
The A Song of Ice and Fire author announced on Saturday that Universal Cable Productions has acquired the rights to adapt his Wild Cards anthologies into a TV series. For those of us just familiar with the books that inspired the Game of Thrones series, Martin gave a little background info:
"The shared world of the Wild Cards diverged from our own on September 15, 1946 when an alien virus was released in the skies over Manhattan, and spread across an unsuspecting Earth. Of those infected, 90% died horribly, drawing the black queen, 9% were twisted and deformed into jokers, while a lucky 1% became blessed with extraordinary and unpredictable powers and became aces. The world was never the same."
Mosaic novels, solo books, comics and games make up the expanded Wild Cards universe. Martin is primarily an editor of the series, which has dozens of authors and contributors. Twenty-two volumes have been published so far (the first of which, released in 1987, was a Hugo award finalist), and another volume is expected to be released this month.
In other words, there's a lot of material for UCP to work with and a lot of directions the show could take.
Martin's assistant editor and co-creator of the Wild Cards world, Melinda M. Snodgrass, will be an executive producer of the TV project; her portfolio includes work on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Reasonable Doubts and Profiler. She'll work alongside Gregory Noveck (Red) and with SyFy Films. Martin himself is not personally attached to the potential show because, as the good folks at Winter is Coming point out, he's under contract with HBO to keep his TV work with them. Perhaps HBO took a pass on this one?
This isn't the first time Wild Cards has had dreams of the screen: In 2011, Martin reported that SyFy Films was going to make a feature film based on the series. That project, however, doesn't seem to have gone beyond the planning stages.
Martin hopes that UCP's project will (actually happen, I presume, and) be "the first of several interlocking series." That, of course, depends on how well a wider audience responds to the world of Wild Cards.
That could also depend on where viewers see the show. We don't yet know which channel might air the new series -- it's just too early in the process. As a part of NBCUniversal, UCP has projects airing across several channels (one of them, SyFy, seems like a natural fit; they've begun to turn the quality of their shows up a notch in recent years). UCP's programming includes current series Mr. Robot, 12 Monkeys, Suits and The Royals as well as fan-beloved shows Monk and Battlestar Galactica, to list a few.
We'll keep an eye out for developments on this front. With Thrones closing in on that big television in the sky, there'll surely be an audience pining for more shows with a touch of Martin's magic.