Further emphasizing a recent shift towards a larger investment in series development, Amazon Studios announced development of three series adaptations of popular sci-fi works: Lazarus, based on the comic book by Greg Rucka (Marvel's Jessica Jones) and Michael Lark (Gotham Central); Snow Crash, based on Neal Stephenson's cult novel; and Ringworld, based on Larry Niven's '70s sci-fi book series. All three properties represent an increased focus by the streaming service on event and genre projects with the potential for large international audiences.
Here's a rundown on the three projects being developed by Amazon Studios:
• Lazarus: Based on Rucka and Lark's comic book, the series is set in an alternative near future, where the world has been divided among 16 rival families who run their territories in varying ways in a feudal system. Each family has allies and enemies among the other families. To crush uprisings and fight wars, most families have a "Lazarus": a one-person kill squad charged with protecting the throne. Rucka serves as writer and executive producer on Lazarus, along with Lark and Angela Cheng Caplan.
• Snow Crash: Based on Neal Stephenson's novel, Snow Crash is a one-hour science fiction drama set in futuristic America. In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain. A co-production with Paramount Television, Snow Crash is executive produced by Joe Cornish (Ant-Man) and Frank Marshall (Back to the Future).
• Ringworld: Based on Niven's sci-fi book series from the '70s, Ringworld tells the story of Louis Gridley Wu, a bored man celebrating his 200th birthday in a technologically-advanced, future Earth. Upon being offered one of the open positions on a voyage, Louis joins a young woman and two aliens to explore Ringworld, the remote artificial ring beyond "Known Space."
Amazon Studios is currently in pre-production, production, or post-production on 67 television series and 20 movies around the world, including: Lore, a horror series based on the hit podcast being produced by Gale Anne Hurd; Carlton Cuse's Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski; Carnival Row, a fantasy noir series starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne; The Boys, with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Eric Kripke from the Garth Ennis comic book series; Black America with Aaron Magruder and Will Packer; and a Starsky & Hutch reboot with James Gunn attached.
The streaming service has also been signing a number of creators to exclusive contracts, including Robert Kirkman, Sharon Horgan, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino. To accommodate the programming changes, Amazon canceled two of its freshman dramas: Z: The Beginning of Everything and The Last Tycoon.