Nightflyers gets a new showrunner to helm George R.R. Martin’s space horror fantasy

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Mar 19, 2018, 2:15 PM EDT

As development moves ahead on Nightflyers, SYFY’s series adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s science fiction-horror novella, there’s been a bit of personnel shuffling at the show’s top creative spot. 

SYFY WIRE has confirmed original Nightflyers showrunner Daniel Cerone (The Blacklist) has stepped away from helming the project’s pilot episode, handing the reins over to scriptwriter Jeff Buhler, who’s also signed on to the project as executive producer. 

Cerone, as first reported by THR, has left the show owing to creative differences, but remains with Universal Cable Productions to develop other genre programming. Buhler (Jacob’s Ladder) has long been attached to the project, having already penned the TV adaptation of Martin’s 1980 novella for a first run of 10 episodes. 

Martin’s original story focuses on a group of scientists, as well as a lone telepath, who launch their eponymous spacecraft on a search to make contact with the alien Volcryn. But the mission begins to take a back seat to the strange occurrences that unfold on the Nightflyer, as the deep-space mystery surrounding onboard deaths as well as other, more telepathically-resonant phenomena, starts to take its toll on the crew’s relationships and morale.

Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire) is set to star as Dr. Agatha Matheson, joined by a cast that includes Phillp Rhys (Doctor Who) as Murphy, Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Karl D’Branin, David Ajala (Falling Water) as Roy Eris, Sam Strike (Timeless) as Thale, Maya Eshet (Teen Wolf) as Lommie, Angus Sampson (Fargo) as Rowan, Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship) as Melantha Jhirl, and Brían F. O'Byrne (The Magicians) as Auggie.

Nightflyers is being shot in Ireland with Martin’s blessing; in fact, he’s being credited as an executive producer — although, as THR notes, his post-Game of Thrones commitments to HBO will likely limit his early involvement on the series. 

There’s no word yet on when the show will make its debut. Netflix is co-producing Nightflyers — one of SYFY’s most cost-intensive productions to date — and holds first-run rights for the show outside the United States. Robert Jaffe directed a film adaptation of Nightflyers back in 1987; you can check out the trailer for that version here.