Whatever Disney and other would-be players in the on-demand TV streaming space may have up their sleeves, it doesn’t look like Netflix has any plans to slow its ambitious rollout of new genre programming anytime soon. The streaming giant pushed ahead this week with development on two properties -- one based on monster-hunting fantasy The Witcher, the other on the modern sci-fi classic Old Man’s War.
We’ve known for a while that Netflix was planning to develop a drama around The Witcher, the Andrzej Sapkowski fantasy book series, whose popularity has exploded recently with the release of Polish developer CD Projekt Red’s video game adaptations.
What’s new this week is Netflix’s commitment to a showrunner for The Witcher series. Variety reports that Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who’s already written episodes for Marvel’s Daredevil and The Defenders, as well as served as a co-executive producer for both shows, has been tapped to adapt and executive-produce The Witcher for television.
Fans of Sapkowski’s book series likely know The Witcher already has seen turns at adaptation — not only as a video game, but also for film, TV, and graphic novels. The premise of the versatile story revolves around a culture of trained monster hunters who nurture superpowers that equip them to take on rare and powerful enemy monsters.
Netflix’s version will revolve around Geralt of Rivia, the protagonist of the wildly successful The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game developed for current-gen consoles and PC.
Also this week, news emerged that Netflix has snagged the rights to Old Man’s War, John Scalzi’s multi-installment saga about a future interplanetary society that forces aging citizens to choose between fighting as young-again super space soldiers in new bodies — or dying a peaceful and natural death in their original bodies, back on Earth.
According to Deadline, Netflix aims to adapt Old Man’s War into an original feature film.
It’s not the first time Scalzi’s 2005 novel, and the cycle of books it launched, has been targeted for the screen. Paramount picked up rights to a feature film adaptation of Old Man's War back in 2012, and even recruited Wolfgang Petersen (The NeverEnding Story) to direct — but the project languished. Petersen also was attached to Ghost Brigades, a planned TV adaptation of the Old Man’s War universe for SYFY, but that project stalled as well.
Lots of fans have been waiting for something fresh to come out of the Old Man’s War series. For its part, too, The Witcher has a developed lore that’s plenty deep — and decidedly more fantastical with its pre-modern setting. So which has you more excited? A full series based on The Witcher, or a standalone Old Man’s War film?