About two weeks ago, we were the first to report that the long-gestating Wild Cards TV adaptation, originally set for Hulu, had moved to NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Now The Hollywood Reporter has filled in the blanks, providing details of what Hulu did with the project, why it moved from Hulu to Peacock, and what its current status is since the lead writer has moved on, and a new writer is currently being searched for.
Some salient quotes below:
Cover art by Brian Bolland for a re-release of the first edition.
One detail is that the deal with Hulu included a “rich penalty”—which some searching tells me would be a fee paid if they didn’t go forward with the series (or at least a pilot), as a guarantee that the network would put serious effort in. And serious effort it did put in, as noted below:
“Sources say Miller and his team wrote seven episodes of one series and three of another after Stillerman selected the Wild Cards source material he wanted adapted. Both takes, which put marginalized communities front and center, were said to be too dark for Hulu’s post-Stillerman regime. Things were further complicated when NBCUniversal — whose Universal Content Productions owns the rights to the series — divested its take in Hulu.”
It seems like Peacock’s own focus may be a little different, and possibly bringing the Wild Cards material back to the source of the first novel:
“It’s unclear if Peacock plans to turn Wild Cards into a larger franchise. Sources note that will hinge on the writer who is brought in to adapt the material. Peacock’s take focuses on an alien pathogen known as the Wild Card virus that is released over Manhattan in 1946, altering the course of human history. The virus rewrites DNA, mutating its survivors. A lucky few are granted awe-inspiring superpowers, while the sad majority are left with often-repulsive physical deformities.”
Wild Cards now stretches to nearly 30 novels—it should soon pass that mark—as well as having seen adaptations to RPG and even comics. In fact, about a week ago Marvel Podcasts had an interview with George R.R. Martin about his history with comics and fandom, but in the final five minutes he talks about Wild Cards and reveals that it’s coming back to comics, this time as a straight adaptation of the first novel by Paul Cornell for Marvel Comics. The first Wild Cards comic series, published by Marvel under the Epic Comics imprint back in 1990, recapitulated some of the details of that first novel in the course of telling a new, original story, so it will be interesting to compare the two.