The classic 1980s TV series V is heading to the big screen and its creator Kenneth Johnson will be writing and directing the feature film.
The franchise got its start back in 1983 as a four-hour mini-series on NBC, that depicted the arrival of a human-looking alien race, the Visitors, who seemed to only want the best for humanity. But as they slowly insulated themselves into humanity’s culture and politics a far more sinister agenda was revealed, leading to the rise of a human Resistance.
Johnson, who was the creative producer behind the successful TV adaptation of The Incredible Hulk, created the series as an allegory to the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany, and the combination of thematic material with science-fiction thrills made the mini-series a big hit. However, disagreements with NBC over the direction of a sequel mini-series led Johnson to drop out of the franchise the following year. V continued on through that sequel mini-series – the six-hour V: The Final Battle – and a season-long regular series, but it never had quite the storytelling heft that the original four hours had. The franchise also spun off a series of novels and a shortlived comic book at the time.
After an attempt to bring back the show in the early 1990s with Babylon 5 creator J Michael Straczynski in charge failed, V lay fallow until 2009 when ABC revived it for a two season run. Johnson was not involved with that attempt, though the previous year he did publish the novel V: The Second Generation, in which he adapted some of his ideas for where he wanted the franchise to go back in the 1980s.
Interestingly, the project is the first announcement from Desilu Studios, a revival of the production shingle originally owned by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball back in the 1960s and which produced the original Star Trek series. The studio was bought by Gulf & Western in 1967 which was subsequently bought by Paramount Pictures. While all of the Desilu TV assets have since migrated to CBS, businessman Charles B. Hensley purchased the Desilu name last year.
Here is the complete press release –
Desilu Studios, Inc announced today that it will bring the long awaited sci-fi feature film “V The Movie”, a big-budget treatment of the highly successful, critically-acclaimed 80’s mini-series to movie screens worldwide. The film will be written and directed by the original’s creator, Kenneth Johnson and produced by John Hermansen and Barry Opper.
“We are delighted to team up with Desilu to bring the timeless — and timely — story of resistance against tyranny into the 21st Century,” Johnson said. “V will be the first of a cinematic trilogy which will tell the full epic tale in the manner I always envisioned.”
“Desilu was revolutionary in its time and as the saying goes, everything old is new again,” said maverick businessman Charles B. Hensley who acquired the Desilu brand with a vision of reimagining Desilu into a global entertainment and commercial empire. Hensley continued, “Coming from the consumer products space, it makes sense for the company’s trajectory and shareholders to focus on film and television properties with high merchandising and licensing potential such as V The Movie Franchise.” “Identifying and driving valuable allied profit centers, maximizing income potential for each property is our ideal content model,” added Michael Mann, Exec VP Business Development.
The highly sought-after project was brought to Desilu by development executive Sean Stone. “V is a multi-billion dollar film franchise and merchandising juggernaut,” said Desilu Exec VP Steven Posen, adding, “we couldn’t be more excited and honored to bring this film to the millions of devoted fans worldwide.”
“It’s no small irony that the new Desilu will be building on the sci-fi tradition with ‘V’, considering Desilu was the original studio responsible for Star Trek!” added Stone.