George R. R. Martin’s mutiple-writer anthology series Wild Cards has been picked by Syfy Films to be the first film from the joint venture between the SyFy Channel and Universal Pictures. An adaption of Martin’s other book series, A Game Of Thrones, has proven to be a big hit for HBO.
Wild Cards is a science-fiction twist on standard superhero tropes. Following the end of World War Two, an alien virus is released over New York City, killing 90% of those infected, and leaving 9% with some form of physical mutation. But there was a lucky 1% who survived the virus with some sort of beneficial superpower. Growing out of a long-running role-playing that Martin ran with many of the anthology’s contributors as players, the book series charted how the history of the 20th century was changed economically, politically and socially. the series debuted in 1987 and has more than 20 volumes between four different publishers.
Melinda Snodgrass, who has contributed to the book series has been tapped to write the series. SyFy Films was established last December as a boutique studio to produce films in the $5 to $25 million range.
Ever since A Game Of Thrones was a hit for HBO, I have been waiting for someone to option this series for either television or film. And this is certainly a much better project than many of the made-for-tv productions that SyFy has been associated in the past. I’m a little concerned that the planned budgetary range Syfy announced when it formed might be a little on the low side for a Wild Cards film. But then again, many of the stories aren’t big epic superhero stories, but more “street level” tales. But with Snodgrass on the writing detail, I don’t think we need fear that the film will stray from its roots.