An adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s long-running Wild Cards superhero series has a new home—it’s jumping from Hulu to NBC’s Peacock, according to The Hollywood Reporter. With the move, the show’s producers are now looking for a new writer.
While Martin is best known for his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series thanks to HBO’s Game of Thrones, he’s also known for Wild Cards. The project started out in 1983 with a roleplaying game campaign, SuperWorld, that had been gifted to Martin by fellow author Vic Milan. “It triggered a two-year-long role playing orgy that engulfed not only me, but the rest of my Albuquerque gaming circle as well,” Martin wrote for Tor.com back in 2011. “We had great fun while the addiction lasted, but in the end I came to the realization that the game was absorbing too much of my time and creative energies.” He turned those creative energies into writing up some of the stories that he and his fellow gamers had come up with.
That spiraled into a much larger project that he developed with Milan and Melinda Snodgrass: A contemporary superhero world, where he and his fellow writers contributed a number of stories. Martin edited the first anthology, Wild Cards, in 1987, and it included stories from the likes of Roger Zelazny, Walter Jon Williams, Carrie Vaughn, Martin, Milan, and Snodgrass.
Since that first installment, the series has expanded to 27 additional anthologies, comics, mosaic novels, novels, and roleplaying games, the most recent of which, Knaves Over Queens, hit stores in 2019. The next installment, Joker Moon, is slated for release later this year.
Given the wild success of superhero films and TV shows in the last decade, it’s of no surprise that there’s been considerable interest in an adaptation. In 2011, the Syfy Channel picked up the rights for a film adaptation, and in 2016, NBC’s Universal Cable Productions optioned the story for a TV series (which Martin says he wouldn’t have been directly involved with, given his work on Game of Thrones).
Those prior efforts fizzled out, and in 2018, Hulu announced that it had picked up the rights for an adaptation. The project would have included at least two series (and potentially more), with Martin, Snodgrass, and Vince Gerardis tapped as executive producers.
Now, that effort seems to have come to a close—which isn’t a huge surprise, given Disney’s ownership of Hulu, and its own sprawling superhero franchise. The project is now headed back to NBC under its streaming service Peacock, to be headed up by a new writer.
The Hollywood Reporter provided some additional details about what had been developed for Hulu, and why it ended up moving:
Sources say Miller and his team wrote seven episodes of one series and three of another after [Joel 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. Further complicating things was the fact that NBCUniversal — whose Universal Content Productions owns the rights to the series — divested its take in Hulu.
Hulu passed on the series, and UCP shopped around to other outlets, ending up at Peacock, which may or may not take up the challenge of producing multiple shows for the franchise. The streaming service launched a year ago, and it’s been working to build up its slate of original content to better compete with the likes of Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and others. Already, it’s brought out adaptations of books like Brave New World and Noughts + Crosses, and has adaptations of Fonda Lee’s Jade City, Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays, and Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, as well as a revamp of Battlestar Galactica.
Adding on a new adaptation from one of Martin’s works would be a big draw for the streaming service, and would give it some superhero content that could stand up against the likes of Amazon’s The Boys, HBO Max’s upcoming DCEU spinoffs, and Disney+’s future entries from the MCU.