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WIRE Buzz: Both Warm Bodies and Willow announce TV series; Vudu promises original content

By Jacob Oller
Warm Bodies header

Two fan-favorite genre franchises may soon be branching onto the small screen. Warm Bodies and Willow both announced plans for TV series, which should hopefully make the deluge of good sci-fi, fantasy, and horror TV even more inescapable.

First, let’s go for the undead. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warm Bodies writer/director Jonathan Levine (who based the film on Isaac Marion's novel of the same name) has signed a first-look deal with Lionsgate that encompasses film and TV. Under this deal, Levine will begin developing a TV series based on Warm Bodies under his own production banner Megamix. Zombie survival and zombie comedy have come to TV before, but isn't it time for zombie romance?

Former Lionsgate exec Gillian Bohrer is launching Megamix with Levine, and said in a statement that “Jonathan and I have a shared passion for movies that defy conventional wisdom about what defines a ‘commercial movie.’ I loved the diverse slate of projects I was able to shepherd at Lionsgate, and we're delighted to bring Megamix to a company that believes in taking risks.”

Nothing’s more risky than a sweet romance tinged with the supernaturally undead, right? No word on when preproduction will more seriously begin.

Another exciting and nostalgic property in early stages of a TV adaptation is Willow. The Warwick Davis-starring fantasy epic (from director Ron Howard and writers George Lucas and Bob Dolman) is being developed as a Disney+ series (alongside all things Star Wars) by Howard himself. Rumors had been flying for a while, but this actually seems like concrete steps have been taken.

MTV News’ Josh Horowitz found out as much on his Happy Sad Confused podcast, where Howard discussed that Solo writer Jon Kasdan and Lucasfilm leader Kathleen Kennedy were involved with a potential Willow series. “There are some really serious discussions going on with Jon Kasdan,” Howard said, “who kept hounding me about Willow the whole time we were shooting, and also hounding Kathy Kennedy.” Kennedy and Howard certainly would be the ones with the power to get it done if it’s possible — and it looks like Kasdan is going to make it work.

“We are in discussions about developing a Willow television show for the Disney+,” Howard said, explaining that the series would continue the classic story rather than reboot it. “I think it’d be a great way to go, and George [Lucas] always talked about the possibility of a Willow series.” If Willow gets its own series, then the sky is the limit for any original Disney IP to launch its own multiseason Disney+ bid.

What do you think could hold its own next to The Mandalorian?

Finally, taking a quick break from old franchises coming to TV, let's talk about some new stuff coming to TV. Engadget recently reported that Walmart-owned streaming service Vudu will be creating exclusive content for its service, as well as interactive content with startup Eko. One of the former is the sci-fi detective show Albedo, which features Rampage director Brad Peyton and the Wasp herself, Evangeline Lilly.

Vudu promises dozens of TV shows and films during 2019, but Albedo is due in 2020.