Nautilus: Disney+ Orders 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Prequel Series

Disney+ has greenlit Nautilus, a prequel TV series to Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The 10-part series will tell the origin story of Captain Nemo and his legendary submarine The Nautilus because prequels and origin stories are all the rage at Disney+ these days. We can probably trust that Captain Nemo won't be a murderous Joker-esque antihero.

Nautilus: Disney+ Orders Prequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Nautilus on the cover of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", Penguin edition

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nautilus will be produced by U.K. production companies Moonriver TV and Seven Stories. It is a new spin on Verne's classic novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, telling the origin story of Captain Nemo and his legendary submarine, The Nautilus. Nemo is an Indian prince robbed of his birthright and family, made a prisoner of the East India Company, and becomes a man bent on revenge against the forces which have taken everything from him. Nemo sets sail with his ragtag crew on board the awe-inspiring vessel, battling foes and discovering magical underwater worlds. Since it's Disney, of course, it has to be "magical".

Developed and co-produced by Moonriver TV's Xavier Marchand and Seven Stories' Anand Tucker, Nautilus will be written and executive produced by James Dormer and executive produced by Johanna Devereaux, director of scripted original content for EMEA at Disney+. Filming is set to start in early 2022.

"Jules Verne's story is a beloved classic all around the world," said Devereaux. "It's a huge privilege to bring the Nautilus and her crew to life again in such a bold, exciting way, with a diverse team of creative talent and on-screen characters. The series will be breathtaking, action-packed and a huge amount of fun."

When Disney Studios produced a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie back in 1954, Captain Nemo was played by the very white and very British James Mason in full aristocratic English melancholy. Hollywood and many producers had assumed Captain Nemo was a white bloke ever since, especially when they didn't bother reading the original book. It was actually Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill who presented Captain Nemo as a Sikh Indian prince for the first time in a visual medium in their graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It is to Moore and O'Neill's credit that they helped cement the perception of Nemo as a South Asian rather than just another white guy, restoring the character from decades of whitewashing that doesn't fly today.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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