HBO Max Is Adapting Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s Vampire Novel

It’s been quite the July for Octavia Butler. Earlier this week, word broke that A24 was adapting her novel Parable of the Sower as a film, while earlier this month, FX/Hulu’s adaptation of Kindred tapped Janicza Bravo to direct Mallori Johnson as lead role of Dana Franklin in the pilot.

Today brings word of another Butler adaptation in the works: HBO Max is adapting her vampire novel Fledgling for a series.

The news comes via Deadline, which says that HBO Max has ordered a pilot script for the project from  Sonya Winton-Odamtten and Jonathan I. Kidd, who were writers and producers on the network’s recent series, Lovecraft Country. Issa Rae and J.J. Abrams will serve as executive producers on the project. A pilot order doesn’t necessarily mean that a series will get made, but there’s been considerable growing interest in Butler’s works in recent years from readers and Hollywood alike.

Fledgling was Butler’s final novel before her death in 2006: It follows the story of a woman named Shori Matthews, which Nisi Shawl described last year as Butler’s attempt at a “frivolous romp, light and frothy,” in the style of the vampire romances from the likes of Laurell K. Hamilton, one that was “a little more scientifically rigorous. A little more Black.”

The pilot joins a growing number of Butler adaptations in the works. In addition to the recently-announced projects, there’s also an adaptation of Wild Seed coming from Nnedi Okorafor, while Ava DuVernay is working with Amazon Studios on an adaptation of Dawn.


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