George R. R. Martin Superhero Anthology Wild Cards has be optioned by Syfy Films. Wild Cards screen rights have been acquired by Universal Pictures and Syfy Channel’s SyFy Film, “the theatrical division created in December 2010 as a joint venture between” the two companies. “Syfy Films, which, like Universal, is owned by NBCUniversal, has been tasked to make modest-budgeted movies”. George R. R. Martin, writer of A Song of Fire and Ice: A Game of Thrones, edited, co-created, and co-wrote Wild Cards. Melinda Snodgrass, one of Wild Cards “co-creators and co-writers”, will be involved in the project as well.
Melinda Snodgrass, one of the co-creators and co-writers, has been tapped to pen the screenplay for the project, which marks Syfy Films’ first acquisition. Martin and Snodgrass will executive produce.
For those unfamiliar with Wild Cards, the book series is about:
a shared universe where an alien virus has been unleashed over New York City. Those who survived were turned into either a class of beings named Jokers, mostly deformed creatures, (or more rarely) Aces, who have special powers…The first book was published in 1987
The tales, written initially by science fiction and fantasy authors who also included Roger Zelazny and Lewis Shiner, among others, provided an alternate history of Earth and told superhero stories grounded in realism
One of the unique aspects of the books (the series has changed publishers several times, it is now on volume 22) is the way the characters evolve. Some age, some marry, some die, new ones are introduced, building a tapestry of stories.
How the series differentiates itself from other superhero stories and story lines (from George R. R. Martin):
“One of the things we have going is the sense of history,” he says. “The comics in the mainstream are doing retcons [retroactive continuity] all the time. [Heroes] get married, then one day, the publisher changes his mind, and then they’re no longer married. To my mind, it’s very frustrating. [Our stories] are in real time. It’s a world that is changing in parallel to our own.”
“This is, beyond Marvel and DC, really the only universe where you have fully realized, fully integrated characters that have been built and developed over the course of 25 years,” says Gregory Noveck, Syfy Films’ senior vp production who joined the division in May and who targeted the books for acquisition.
George R. R. Martin talks about one of the main characters that will appear in the film adaptation and its setting:
the setting would be contemporary. He also lets slip that The Sleeper, a character who is one of the first to become an Ace and whose power consists of having a new face and ability every time he wakes up from a hibernation-like sleep, would be in the roll call.
With the description of The Sleeper and how Wild Cards follows people through the entirety of their lives, the film adaptation should be something unique. Then again, people thought that about Watchmen (reviewed here: Watchmen (2009) Film Review). What are your thoughts on Wild Cards?