The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reveals that Wild Cards had been optioned for development by Syfy Films—the theatrical division of the Syfy channel—and Universal Studios, with the screenplay set to be handled by there-from-the-start author Melinda Snodgrass, who (like GRRM) has TV writing experience.
The Wild Cards series is the most successful original, literary shared-world anthology of its type, coming on the heels of ground-breaking works such as Thieves’ World and Liavek, but outlasting them all. The initial seed for the setting was Martin’s long-running Superworlds campaign that he played with fellow New Mexico-based authors, which for a time became an obsession for him until one day he decided there had to be some way to turn the original settings and characters he and his fellow writers/gamers had created into something saleable. The first Wild Cards anthology followed, with stories spanning 1946 to the mid-80’s, from the initial release of the alien-created Wild Card virus and then following through to show its aftermath in the decades following.
Some amazing writers have been involved in the project since that first book. Besides Martin and Snodgrass, Walter Jon Williams, Victor Milán, the late, great Roger Zelazny (whose memorable contribution to the Wild Cards series, the Sleeper, will apparently be making an appearance in the proposed film), Daniel Abraham, Campbell Award-winner David Anthony Durham, Carrie Vaughn, Cherie Priest, Howard Waldrop, and many, many more writers have been involved. In fact, Neil Gaiman—while still a relative new, upcoming writer—pitched writing a story about a man who could enter into and manipulate dreams to George; that pitch was turned down, but it served as the nucleus for what would eventually become the justly-praised Sandman series.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Snodgrass has been attached to a Wild Cards project for Syfy—but that was for when it was the Sci-Fi Channel, and the idea was a two hour TV movie that could serve as a potential pilot for a weekly series. That never came to fruition, but as Martin notes in THR’s report, this new option is the biggest move towards getting Wild Cards on the screen since that time.
The usual words of caution, however: options are often sold to Hollywood, and only a relative handful reach the screen (and, one might argue, only a fraction of those are actually good adaptations). Still, given Martin’s heightend profile and the fact that Syfy is looking to set up its first slate of projects, this could very well go the distance.