You may only know George R. R. Martin as the man behind the Game of Thrones novels and HBO show, but he's been writing sci-fi and fantasy tales for decades. One series in particular, Wild Cards, is now set to become a feature film!
Wild Cards began as a series of alternate-Earth superhero short stories 25 years ago by a plethora of the most accomplished sci-fi and fantasy authors in the field including Martin, Melinda Snodgrass, John J. Miller, Stephen Leigh, Walter Jon Williams and compiled into volumes by Martin. The Wild Cards setting splits from recorded history during World War II, where an alien virus wipes out thousands of New Yorkers, leaving most survivors deformed ("Jokers"), but granting special powers to a select few ("Aces"). The gritty and realistic storytelling that made Wild Cards popular has often been compared to The Dark Knight and Watchmen, so this should be a natural fit for theaters.
Need to beef up on Wild Cards? Here's your starting point.
The recently-formed Syfy Films, a joint venture between Syfy and Universal Pictures, will be producing the film. Fan's don't need to worry about Wild Cards becoming a cheap "film of the week" TV parody of itself, though. The description of Syfy Films on its website is quite telling:
Leveraging Syfy's expertise in content development, production and marketing, Syfy Films seeks to create compelling movies for audiences hungry for fantasy, mystery, paranormal, action, sci-fi, adventure and superhero content.
Co-headed by Mark Stern, executive vice president of original programming and co-head of original content for Universal Cable Productions, and Donna Langley, Universal Pictures co-chairman, Syfy Films will produce one to two genre movies per year, with budgets ranging from $5-25 million.
Knowing this, expect Wild Cards to more closely resemble its Game of Thrones cousin rather than Mega Shark. Pre-production has already begun, with Syfy tapping Martin's assistant editor and fellow Wild Cards author, Melinda Snodgrass, to pen the screenplay. Martin and Snodgrass will also both serve as executive producers.
Syfy Films expects their first films to hit theaters in 2012, but there is no word at the moment where Wild Cards will fit into their schedule. If the film is a success, look for Syfy to keep the story going with an original television series. There's no shortage of content to fuel such a series: while first volume was published back in 1987, fresh Wild Cards content is still rolling out today.
Looking for a deeper look into the names behind Wild Cards? Check out MTV Geek's Bubonicon coverage, where we met up with Martin, Snodgrass, and many other contributors to the series such as John Joseph Miller and Carrie Vaughn.
Check out our interviews with Martin, Leigh, and Snodgrass from this year's Bubonicon below: