Annihilation director Alex Garland has lined up his next project, an eight-part sci-fi series for FX. Garland first made his name in movies writing screenplays for sci-fi films Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and Dredd. He later made his directorial debut with Ex Machina, starring Alicia Vikander as a very human android.
Garland's newest film Annihilation sees him staying put in the sci-fi realm. In the movie, a group of soldiers penetrates a zone rendered uninhabitable after an environmental catastrophe. Only one of the soldiers (Oscar Isaac) returns, but he's on the verge of death. The soldier's biologist wife (Natalie Portman) then volunteers to return to the forbidden realm, which is dominated by a mysterious phenomenon called "The Shimmer." Once inside the zone, Portman and her team discover bizarre mutant creatures that continuously evolve.
Alex Garland's love of sci-fi will continue to inform his choices after Annihilation. For his next project, the writer/director will develop an eight-part sci-fi series for FX network. Garland says he has written the episodes and hopes to direct all of them himself. Garland discussed the project in an interview with Fandango:
“The next project, provided it happens -- hopefully we're gonna shoot it later this year -- [and it’s] an eight-part television series for FX. It’s a sort of science fiction, but it's a much more technology based sci fi whereas Annihilation is a more hallucinogenic form of sci fi and more fantastical form of sci fi."
Don't expect any story details this early in the game. Garland does say the new series will have more in common with Ex Machina and Never Let Me Go in how it starts with something going on in our world and extrapolates into the sci-fi realm. This in contrast to Annihilation, which finds Garland in more of a pure fantasy area of sci-fi/horror reminiscent of Alien and The Thing.
As for the future of Annihilation as a franchise, Garland says there are no plans for a sequel. While American audiences get to experience Annhilation on the big screen, most of the rest of the world will not, thanks to the studio's deal with Netflix. Garland himself expressed disappointment at Paramount's decision to handle international distribution via Netflix. The move came after some at the studio wanted Garland to make changes to the film for fear that it would prove "too intellectual" for audiences. But executive producer Scott Rudin stood behind Garland's cut, which reportedly includes a "mind-blowing" ending.
For what it's worth, the cerebral Annhilation is getting very positive early buzz. Seemingly, Alex Garland's reputation as a modern-day master of sci-fi will only continue to grow. Now we'll see what he can do on the small screen with eight hours of television to work with. FX has a reputation for giving creatives lots of freedom. That's great news for fans of Garland and his brand of thoughtful sci-fi.
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