Elizabeth Banks is stepping back into YA. The actress and director is set to direct and appear in Red Queen, a series based on Victoria Aveyard’s debut YA novel, which takes place in an alternate future where superpowered Silvers (named for their silver blood) rule over the poor Reds, the ordinary folk, who serve the Silvers and fight in their wars. When 17-year-old Mare Barrow, a Red, displays a power of her own, it changes everything—including the fate of a burgeoning rebellion.
Aveyard will write the adaptation of her novel with showrunner Beth Schwartz (Arrow, Sweet Tooth). The series is in development at Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, which will also be home to adaptations of George R.R. Martin and company’s Wild Cards and Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays.
Aveyard tweeted her enthusiasm this morning:
— Victoria Aveyard (@VictoriaAveyard) May 25, 2021
Here’s the book’s summary:
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.
One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
Red Queen is the first in a four-book series that ended with 2018’s War Storm and also includes novellas and short stories, so there’s plenty of material should the series run to multiple seasons.
This isn’t the first time Banks has been connected with a Red Queen adaptation; in 2015, when the book was first published, she was reportedly in talks to direct a movie adaptation of the novel. Banks is set to play a “major supporting role” in the series according to Deadline, but no further casting details have been announced.