An adaptation of Walter Tevis’s novel The Man Who Fell to Earth has been in the works since 2019, and it recently picked up Chiwetel Ejiofor to lead the series for Paramount Plus.
According to Variety, the series is set to shift homes to another Viacom outlet, Showtime.
The book was originally published in 1963, and has since been adapted twice—the first time in 1976, which famously starred David Bowie, and again in 1987 with a-made-for-television film that would have served as a television pilot. (Interestingly, it starred two Star Trek stars: young Wil Wheaton and Robert Picardo).
In 2019, CBS picked up the series for CBS All Access (now Paramount+), to be produced and run by Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, both of whom have been working on the streaming services’s Star Trek franchise. At the time, Kurtzman noted that the series will look a bit different from the cult film, saying that “Nicolas Roeg was a legend, and the last thing I would want to do is mimic his work in any way,” and that they won’t try to replicate Bowie’s performance in the film.
Instead, the person they have selected to play the role of Thomas Newton will be Chiwetel Ejiofor, who’s appeared in Netflix’s The Old Guard (pictured above), as Scar in Disney’s live-action Lion King remake, as Mordo in Doctor Strange, and as The Operative in Serenity.
The series hasn’t yet begun production, but it’s going to shift to a new network, which Variety notes is “a perfect illustration of the calculations going on at major networks and studios all across town as entertainment’s biggest players launch content-hungry streaming platforms.” It’s the second such swap for the company: Last month, its long-awaited Halo adaptation moved from Showtime over to Paramount+.
Variety notes that “the goal is a sophisticated and alluring take on the story of an alien who comes to earth at a turning point for human evolution,” and that this series “marks Showtime’s effort to expand in a significant way into the fantasy genre field that has been so lucrative for HBO with “Game of Thrones” and Starz with “Outlander.”” Essentially, the two shows were better matches for their new homes.
The series doesn’t have a release date yet.