Amazon is developing an Octavia Butler novel as a drama series. The project comes to the streaming service courtesy of Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, whose JuVee Production has a first-look deal there.
They will be developing Wild Seed, the first of Butler’s Patternist sci-fi series. The project will be written by author Nnedi Okorafor and Kenyan filmmaker and Rafiki helmer Wanuri Kahiu.
The description, per Deadline, which first broke the news: Wild Seed is a love (and hate) story of two African immortals who travel the ages from pre-Colonial West Africa to the far, far future. Doro, a killer who uses his power to breed people like livestock, encounters Anyanwu, a healer who forces him to reassess his millennia of cruel behavior: for centuries, their personal battles change the course of our world as they struggle against the backdrop of time — master versus slave, man versus woman, killer versus healer.
The report says the identification of rising star Kahiu was a catalyst. “JuVee had pursued the rights to the book for over two years, but it wasn’t until they identified rising talent Kahiu, who was tapped to direct as well as write the pilot with her friend and colleague Okorafor, that the vision became clear on how to turn the beloved book into a TV show. With their idea for a TV series, and the Butler estate’s blessings, the project was taken to the marketplace with multiple bids.”
“Wild Seed is a book that shifted my life. It is as epic, as game changing, as moving and brilliant as any science fiction novel ever written. Julius and I are proud to have this masterpiece in our hands. It fullﬁlls our promise and legacy to be disrupters. Octavia Butler was a visionary and we look forward to honoring the scope of her work and sharing it with the world,” said Davis.
“We love Octavia Butler and her work and have for decades. But Wild Seed is our favorite. It’s expansive, disturbing, and unique. Wild Seed stays with you. It’s a love/hate story of African immortals that connects people on the African continent to the Diaspora. It merges the mystical and the scientific seamlessly. You’re going to see shape-shifting, body jumping, telepaths, people born with the ability to defy the laws of physics, all in the context of our past, present and future world,” said Kahiu and Okorafor.
This is the second project based on an Octavia Butler novel that is in development. Victoria Mahoney, Ava DuVernay and MACRO are developing Dawn as a television series.
Okorafor’s novel, Who Fears Death, is being developed at HBO as a series with George R.R. Martin. And Kahiu is booked and busy. She is already directing two post-Rafiki projects: the Los Angeles romance film Covers and the YA adaptation The Thing About Jellyfish, starring Millie Bobby Brown.
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