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SYFY WIRE Zazie Beetz

WIRE Buzz: Earthsea still afloat; Extinct comes to life; Netflix rides with Centaurworld

By Brian Silliman
Ursula K Le Guin

The new adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's acclaimed Earthsea series is moving forward, and it will be once again entering the ring of fantasy television. 

Deadline reports that Oscar-nominated producer Jennifer Fox (Michael Clayton) has partnered with A24 to create a TV series based on the novels, which began with A Wizard of Earthsea in 1968. The series was optioned by Fox in 2018, who will produce with A24 in place as the studio. It will be shopped around to networks shortly. 

Le Guin, who passed away in 2018, gave her blessing for the series to proceed as a series of films, though the approach has since been changed.

“Ursula Le Guin is a literary legend with a huge fan base and her work has been translated into practically every written language on the globe," Fox told Deadline. "She is second only to Tolkien in influence in this genre and before she died last year, she agreed to put her most beloved work in my hands. This project is, therefore, a sacred trust and priority for me as well as an opportunity to create an iconic piece of American culture.”

This isn't the first time Earthsea will be adapted for television; a miniseries co-written by Le Guin herself appeared on Sci-Fi Channel (now SYFY) in 2004. The prose series is comprised of five novels and eight short stories, all of which take place in a fantastical archipelago made up of hundreds of islands. The use of magic, the futile pursuit of power, and the understanding of nature are all large themes in the stories.

Extinct, an upcoming animated film, has added some serious voice talent. From China Lion, HB Wink, Huayi Tencent Entertainment Ltd, Tolerable Entertainment, and Timeless Films, the new movie is being directed by David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie, Monsters Inc.) and Raymond Persi (The Simpsons). 

According to Deadline, Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect), Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Ken Jeong (Community), and the almighty Catherine O'Hara (Frankenweenie) have joined the film. Written by Simpsons vets Joel Cohen, John Frink, and Rob LaZebnik, Extinct follows two "flummels" named Op and Ed. They accidentally travel through time from 1835 to Shanghai in the modern day, only to discover that their doughnut-shaped species is extinct. We've all been there. 

The movie is eying a 2020 release date. 

Just in case you thought that streaming television didn't have enough fantasy programming, here come the centaurs! Netflix is adding a children's fantasy series called Centaurworld to its library. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Netflix Animation show will come from Megan Nicole Dong (How to Train Your Dragon 2) and has received a 20-episode order. The story, set in a world of fantasy creatures who sing and have adventures, revolves around a crazed war horse transported into that world from one that has much less singing and silliness. Naturally, he very much wants to find his way home.

The show will feature what THR calls "a mix of animation styles" as well as original songs. Singing centaurs? They have our interest. 

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