George R.R. Martin's alt-history sci-fi series Wild Cards in development for TV

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Aug 12, 2016, 10:12 AM EDT (Updated)

George R.R. Martin’s back catalog became a whole lot more valuable after Game of Thrones erupted into a cultural phenomenon, and now another Martin series is coming to the small screen. But it’s a whole lot different than A Song of Ice and Fire.

Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has acquired the rights to adapt the long-running Wild Cards series of anthologies and mosaic novels for television, Martin announced. Development is apparently underway already, and the author teased that it could potentially spawn “several” connected series. Which makes sense, considering how dense and varied the anthology has become over the decades.

The Wild Cards series is set in an alternate history where an alien virus started mutating survivors in the 1940s, either giving them superpowers or crippling them. The series launched in 1987 with an anthology collection from Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass (who will serve as an executive producer) and now spans more than 20 anthologies with several different writers contributing to the universe. A new installment, High Stakes, is actually set to hit shelves in a few weeks.

With so much material to mine, Martin said the creative team is already trying to figure that out:

“Which stories will be adapted? Which characters will be featured? Hard to say at this early stage. Let's see... we have Jetboy, the Four Aces, Dr. Tachyon, the Great and Powerful Turtle, Modular Man, Yeoman, Wraith, Cap'n Trips, Fortunato, Puppetman, Chrysalis, Popinjay, the Oddity, Father Squid, Water Lily, Sewer Jack, Bagabond, Peregrine, Carnifex, Infamous Black Tongue, Bugsy, Curveball, Earth Witch, Cameo, Elephant Girl, Demise, Ramshead, Mackie Messer, Mr. Nobody, Double Helix, the Amazing Bubbles, Stuntman, Rustbelt, Lohengrin, Hoodoo Mama, Drummer Boy, Abigail the Understudy, the Midnight Angel, and many many MANY more.

Which ones will you see? I don't know. Which ones do you want to see? … I am sure that Melinda and Gregory and UPC will be listening … Only one thing I can say for (almost) sure. You will be seeing Croyd Crenson, no matter shape the eventual show or shows ends up taking. It wouldn't be Wild Cards without the Sleeper.”

Sadly, Martin won’t be involved creatively with the series (he’s locked into an exclusive deal with HBO), but it sounds like Universal Cable Productions is pumped about the potential. In regard to a possible network home, UCP could potentially set the show up at Syfy, USA Network, or even Hulu. No word on where they're leaning as of yet.

What would you like to see from a Wild Cards TV series?

(Via George R.R. Martin)