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SYFY WIRE Waterworld

Waterworld being developed as streaming series with 10 Cloverfield Lane director set to steer the ship

By James Comtois
Water World

We’ve got some good news for fans of the Kevin Costner-starring post-apocalyptic sci-fi actioner Waterworld (and yes, the film does have fans): the film’s producer is working on a streaming series (get it?) set in the world where pee-drinking man-fish set sail in a world where dry land is a myth and money is no object for film studios

Speaking with Collider, John Davis, producer of the original 1995 film, revealed that he’s developing a Waterworld series that will be a “continuation of that movie” set “20 years later.” Davis didn’t specify whether original stars Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn, or Tina Majorino are involved, but did tell the media outlet that it would focus on their characters from the film. Just, y’know, “20 years later.” 

Davis' producing partner John Fox added, "We're not 100% sure on the approach to the show. But definitely, we're in the building stages right now.”

As such, there’s no showrunner attached yet. But Dan Trachtenberg of 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Boys fame is on board to direct. Davis also said his team is putting the show together at Universal Television and that they’ve landed a streaming service for the series, but he declined to reveal which one.

Kind of like a reverse Mad Max where the world is submerged underwater instead of being a giant desert, Waterworld envisions a future where the ice caps have melted and dry land has gone the way of the dodo. Costner plays an unnamed drifter known only as The Mariner, who has gills and drinks his own pee (yeah, no, we’re not letting that go). He reluctantly agrees to help a woman (Tripplehorn) and young girl (Majorino) escape a group of evil "smokers," led by the late Dennis Hopper, and seek dry land.

Waterworld’s troubled production caused its budget to reach $175 million, making it the most expensive film in Hollywood history at the time. Although it did wind up turning a profit (primarily due to home video), toxic advanced word-of-mouth and mixed-to-negative reviews made Waterworld synonymous with Hollywood excess and hubris; not to mention it severely damaged Costner’s reputation.

But that isn’t deterring Davis. In fact, having recently given it a rewatch, he “was surprised at how well it held up,” adding: “this movie ages great with time.”

No word on a timeline for the project yet, but for now you can get your fill of wet and wild fun at the Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular show at various Universal Studios around the world.

(SYFY WIRE and Universal are properties of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.)