On top of the several other TV and film projects she’s currently working on, Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) is bringing yet another great story to TV. The filmmaker just announced she will be adapting Octavia Butler’s “Dawn” for the small screen. The story is particularly noteworthy for its black female lead in a sci-fi dystopian landscape. As The Mary Sue points out, the majority of sci-fi and dystopian themed stories usually feature a nearly all-white cast. DuVernay seeks to change that trend.
The 1987 sci-fi novel is set after an Earth war that led to a nuclear apocalypse and near total destruction of humanity, according to Shadow & Act. The few survivors of the blasts were rescued by aliens and kept in a deep sleep onboard a spaceship. The story follows Lilith Iyapo, the first survivor to be awakened, who becomes humanity’s leader in their unusual future. Iyapo is tasked with the choice to “adapt or die.” But adaptation worth it if her people lose what makes them inherently human?
Butler, the author of “Dawn,” is a Nebula and Hugo Award winner. This will be the first TV adaptation of her work, according to Deadline. She was also the first sci-fi writer to snag the highly coveted MacArthur Fellowship (aka, the Genius Grant). “Dawn” is the first book in the “Lilith’s Brood” trilogy; “Adulthood Rites” and “Imago” follow “Dawn.” Butler passed away in 2006, and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame four years after her death, according to Shadow & Act.
Victoria Mahoney (“Bleach”) will be writing the script for the TV adaptation, with Charles D. King and DuVernay executive producing the series. Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Allen Bain, Gary Pearl, Thomas L. Carter and Teddy Smith will also executive produce. King’s media company Macro, along with Forward Movement, Oil & Cattle, and Bainframe wil produce the TV series. Bainframe has been working to bringing Butler’s work to TV since 2015.