Of all the horror monsters to grace the worlds of film and TV over the years, arguably no creature has proved more ubiquitous than the vampire. Whether portrayed as a tragic immortal yearning for love, or as a bloodthirsty killer only concerned with its next meal, vampires have seemingly proved endlessly fascinating to both makers of pop culture and those who consume it.
One literary vampire-related property soon to make the transition to the small-screen is 2010’s The Passage, the first entry in a now completed trilogy of novels dealing with an apocalyptic viral outbreak that turns large portions of the human population into undead bloodsuckers. Written by Justin Cronin, The Passage was followed by 2012 sequel The Twelve, and 2016 threequel The City of Mirrors. All three books spent time on the New York Times bestseller list. Screen rights to The Passage were acquired way back in 2007, with the original intention being to adapt the novel into a feature film. Those plans changed into making a Passage TV series late last year.
According to Variety, FOX has now granted a pilot order to The Passage, which counts among its executive producers both legendary director Ridley Scott and War for the Planet of the Apes helmer Matt Reeves. The project is being jointly produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Scott’s production company Scott Free. Former Friday Night Lights writer/producer Liz Heldens will pen the script for The Passage’s pilot, with Reeves himself set to direct. Author Cronin is also on-board as a co-producer.
Interestingly enough, FOX’s cable sister network FX already currently plays host to a vampire drama quite similar to The Passage, that being Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain. Both series are based on a trilogy of novels, and both concern a vampire outbreak quite possibly spelling the end for the human race. The initial books even released around the same time, with Del Toro and Hogan’s first Strain Trilogy entry hitting shelves in 2009. The Strain will of course air its fourth and final season in summer 2017, so the two shows should see little to no overlap, assuming Passage eventually gets a full season 1 pick-up from FOX.
One aspect that helps separate The Passage from The Strain is that the former’s vampire virus is caused by an error in scientific research, and isn’t caused by an ancient master being deciding to purposefully obliterate humanity. In that way, The Passage also draws comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand, in which a military-created super-flu escapes containment and quickly cuts down most of the world’s population. Either way, should The Passage earn a series order, it will only continue Hollywood’s current love affair with stories set during the end of society.
We’ll keep you updated on The Passage as more information becomes available.