This might not be the casting anyone imagined, but it is the casting we deserve, because Bill Nighy is a gem. In Showtime’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, Nighy will play Thomas Newton, the alien played by David Bowie in the 1976 film.
Thomas is the main character in the Walter Tevis novel on which the series is based. He’s an alien who comes to Earth seeking water for his drought-stricken planet, but his quest doesn’t go so well—and the sequel series picks up some forty years after his struggle to complete it.
The series, as Variety explains, focuses on another alien, Faraday (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who “arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future.” When Faraday arrives, Newton contacts him, hoping to finish his mission. But the decades Newton has spent with humanity have “cost him everything, possibly even his sanity.”
The Man Who Fell to Earth‘s creative team certainly has a strong SF pedigree: Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet are co-showrunners and executive producers for the adaptation, which began as a Paramount Plus series before moving to Showtime. Kurtzman is the mastermind behind the whole current Trek empire (does this man have extra hours in the day or what?), and Lumet is an executive or consulting producer on Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, while also writing for Discovery and Strange New Worlds.
Along with Nighy (Love Actually, above) and Ejiofor (The Old Guard, Serenity) the cast includes Naomie Harris (Skyfall, Moonlight), Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, Star Trek: Prodigy), and Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager, Orange is the New Black).
No premiere date has been announced, but Showtime’s site says the series is coming soon.