Hard sci-fi fans got very excited back in September when it was announced that Kim Stanley Robinson's beloved Mars trilogy was being adapted for Spike TV, as Red Mars, under the guidance of Game of Thrones producer Vince Gerardis. It's one of the most acclaimed sci-fi series of the past 20 years, it's got plenty of longform potential, and Robinson himself is on board as a consultant, so it's easy to see why many of us can't wait to see if the show materializes.
What wasn't announced at the time was when we'd see the show, who'd star in it or who'd take on writing and directing duties. Now Deadline reports that at least one of those questions has been answered: Red Mars will be written by Babylon 5 creator and comics writer J. Michael Straczynski.
Over the past few years, Straczynski's spent a lot of his time working in comics, reviving his "Joe's Comics" imprint at Image Comics and scripting titles like Ten Grand, Sidekick and Dream Police. He's also about to launch Sense8, a new Netflix series he co-wrote with Andy and Lana Wachowski, but despite decades of prolific output in film, TV, comics and prose, many sci-fi fans still know him best for Babylon 5. Though it might seem a bit crude by modern production standards, the series is still remembered fondly for its worldbuilding, longform storytelling, seasons-long character arcs, intricate planning and use of CGI, and even if you're not a fan, it's inarguably the work that cemented Straczynski into the history of sci-fi storytelling.
Now he's heading back to TV with another longform story that features years of plot and dozens of characters. We don't yet know whether he'll just be working on the pilot or sticking around for the entire series, but Red Mars seems like a good fit for many of Straczynski's particular storytelling skills.
Red Mars doesn't have a release date yet, but Deadline's report notes that Spike has the series on "fast-track development," so hopefully we'll know more soon. What do you think? Is Straczynski a good choice here?