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George R.R. Martin Announces ‘Wild Cards’ TV Series
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Wild Cards

Once upon a time, when Game of Thrones was still new, it was reported that a movie based on another one of “A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin‘s works, Wild Cards, was in the works through Syfy Films, the joint venture of Syfy and Universal Pictures. But the years past and nothing came of it.

Wild Cards is a massive alternate history superhero shared universe, consisting of standalone novels, anthologies, comics, games, and more, from Martin, Melinda Snodgrass, and many others. So trying to find a single movie in all of that was an understandably tricky task. Now Martin has announced that a new attempt at adapting the property is in the works, this time as a TV series.

Martin made the announcement on his LiveJournal page. Here’s what he had to say:

We have some exciting new for all the Wild Cards fans out there.

Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has acquired the rights to adapt our long-running Wild Cards series of anthologies and mosaic novels for television. Development will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series. Melinda M. Snodgrass, my assistant editor and right-hand man on Wild Cards since its inception, the creator of Dr. Tachyon, Double Helix, and Franny Black, and a seasoned television writer/ producer whose credits include STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (“Measure of a Man”), REASONABLE DOUBTS, THE PROFILER, and STAR COMMAND, is attached as an executive producer on the project, together with Gregory Noveck of RED, Slow Learner, and SyFy Films.

UCP creates innovative and critically acclaimed television and digital content across various media platforms for domestic and international distribution. Their programming can be seen across numerous networks and channels across the world, and includes the Golden Globe and Peabody award-winning drama MR. ROBOT, the exciting new SF series COLONY, PLAYING HOUSE, ROYAL PAINS, and SUITS on the USA Network; Lev Grossman’s brilliant THE MAGICIANS, 12 MONKEYS, and KILLJOYS on SyFY; GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE on Bravo; THE ROYALS on E!; and DIFFICULT PEOPLE on Hulu. UCP’s content library includes such fan favorites such as the Emmy-award winning MONK, PYSCH, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Universal Cable Productions is a part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Follow them at @UCPisTV).

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.

The first volume of the Wild Cards series was published in 1986, and was a finalist for that year’s Hugo Award, ultimately losing to Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN. Twenty-two volumes have been published to date, with a twenty-third (HIGH STAKES) scheduled for hardcover release later this month, and three more in the works. Translations and reprints of many of the Wild Cards books and stories have been published around the globe, in France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Comic books, graphic novels, and role-playing games have also chronicled the adventures of the aces and jokers of the WC universe.

Generations of writers, from bold new voices to visionary grand masters, have contributed to the Wild Cards universe over the past three decades. Our roster of writers and creators includes Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Stephen Leigh, Victor Milan, John Jos. Miller, Gail Gerstner Miller, Edward Bryant, Leanne C. Harper, Arthur Byron Cover, Chris Claremont, Lewis Shiner, Walton (Bud) Simons, Steve Perrin, Royce Wideman, Pat Cadigan, Sage Walker, Laura J. Mixon, Parris, William F. Wu, Michael Cassutt, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, Bob Wayne, S.L. Farrell, Carrie Vaughn, Caroline Spector, Christopher Rowe, Ian Tregillis, David D. Levine, David Anthony Durham, Cherie Priest, Paul Cornell, Craig Chrissinger, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Max Gladstone, Marko Kloos, Diana Rowland, Bradley Denton, Saladin Ahmed, the late great Roger Zelazny, and of course Melinda Snodgrass and yours truly.

Wild Cards is a series of books, graphic novels, games… but most of all it is a universe, as large and diverse and exciting as the comic book universes of Marvel and DC (though somewhat grittier, and considerably more realistic and more consistent), with an enormous cast of characters both major and minor. There are thousands of stories to be told in the world of the Wild Cards, and Gregory and Melinda and UPC hope to be able to tell many of them.

Which stories will be adapted? Which characters will be featured? Hard to say at this early stage. Let’s see… we have Jetboy, the Four Aces, Dr. Tachyon, the Great and Powerful Turtle, Modular Man, Yeoman, Wraith, Cap’n Trips, Fortunato, Puppetman, Chrysalis, Popinjay, the Oddity, Father Squid, Water Lily, Sewer Jack, Bagabond, Peregrine, Carnifex, Infamous Black Tongue, Bugsy, Curveball, Earth Witch, Cameo, Elephant Girl, Demise, Ramshead, Mackie Messer, Mr. Nobody, Double Helix, the Amazing Bubbles, Stuntman, Rustbelt, Lohengrin, Hoodoo Mama, Drummer Boy, Abigail the Understudy, the Midnight Angel, and many many MANY more. Which ones will you see? I don’t know. Which ones do you want to see? Tell us below, in the comments. I am sure that Melinda and Gregory and UPC will be listening.

Only one thing I can say for (almost) sure. You will be seeing Croyd Crenson, no matter shape the eventual show or shows ends up taking. It wouldn’t be Wild Cards without the Sleeper.

So there it is. I hope you’re as excited as I am. Of course, Hollywood is Hollywood, and nothing is ever certain in development… but I think I hope I cross my fingers that the Wild Cards will be coming to your home screens in the next year or two.

I won’t be working on the series myself… my own development deal is exclusive to HBO, and I am writing THE WINDS OF WINTER, as I believe most of you will recall… but I have every confidence in Melinda Snodgrass and Gregory Noveck. They know and love the Wild Cards universe almost as well as I do, and I think they will do a terrific job. Wish them luck.

((And be sure to come to the Wild Cards Cage Matchs at worldcon, and snap up HIGH STAKES when it hits the stands later this month)).

Clear skies and tailwinds, as Jetboy would say.

While Martin fans wait to see if the Wild Cards TV series finds life, there’s still two seasons of Game of Thrones to look forward to. There’s also the potential series based on the author’s werewolf noir story The Skin Trade, which Cinemax ordered a pilot script for last year, and always the possibility of HBO ordering a Thrones spinoff in the future as well.

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