Fantasy book series have been steadily making their way to television on a number of networks since the massive success of Game of Thrones. HBO competitive premium channel Starz has most recently shaped the highly anticipated American Gods into a buzz-worthy contender, while basic cable has gone younger with a hip take on The Shanarra Chronicles for MTV and a Mortal Instruments series on Freeform called Shadowhunters.
Now, Deadline reports that the 33-year-old Glen Cook book franchise The Black Company is coming to television via IM Global Television. The 10-book epic action fantasy, and its forthcoming 2018 installment titled Port of Shadows, was optioned by Boston Diva. Productions, a production company founded by Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Eliza Dushku. Dushku is set to star in the series as dark sorceress The Lady, which is also being developed with David Goyer’s Phantom Four. IM Global Television announced last week another foray into fantasy, with a live-action TV adaptation of King Kong with partners MarVista Entertainment.
Goyer, best known in the television world as the creator of Starz’s series Da Vinci’s Demons, has an impressive range of co-writing credits on genre faves like Blade (he directed the third film) and work on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. He will serve as executive producer on Black Company alongside Kevin Turen (Birth of a Nation). Executive producing for Boston Diva are Eliza Dushku, Nate Dushku, and Ami Lourie, along with Sam Maydew (John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown) of Silver Lining Entertainment.
The ongoing book series is set amongst a vast landscape where an elite mercenary unit known as the “Black Company” carries out the dreadful deeds of the highest bidder. When a prophecy is discovered that the embodiment of good has been reborn, the hard-edged mercenaries must re-examine their loyalties. Dushku’s “The Lady” rules over the Northern Empire, and uses the Black Company to further her domination of a nefarious, backstabbing power structure.
Black Company’s good vs evil base, with wizards, shape-shifters and an array of fascinating characters has intriguing potential, that its fans will be keeping a sharp eye on in its adaptation to episodic form. The Tor line is often considered deeper-dive high fantasy, but with its themes of power-hungry leaders, merged from a corporate world, it couldn’t be a better time to bring it to television. As indicated by the current landscape of dystopian stories, be it on Broadway with 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, not to mention the bestseller list, audiences are hungry for cautionary tales. Better yet, The Black Company is a cautionary tale with rebellions. Even better yet, it’s a return to television for Eliza Dushku, last seen as Veronica Dawson on the Cinemax series Banshee.