With shows like The Walking Dead and its upcoming spin-off series, Fear the Walking Dead, the zombie genre just seems to keep growing. The former has managed to be one of the most popular TV shows of all time, and has garnered a dedicated fan following of both those who read the original comic that the series is based on, and those who only know the onscreen adaptation.
However, considering how "in demand" the genre is right now, it shouldn't be long before Dead has some more competition on the small screen - and it sounds like one of the more interesting new additions is coming from one of the genre's original kings.
Production-Finance company Demarest (A Most Wanted Man, Tusk) announced at the Cannes Film Festival recently that the studio is currently working in development on a TV series adaptation of George A. Romero's 15-issue Marvel graphic novel, Empire of the Dead. The series will be written by Romero and Peter Grunwald, who will also executive produce the series alongside Sam Englebardt and William D. Johnson.
For those of you who don't know, Empire of the Dead takes place in New York City years after the zombie outbreak began. What makes this take on the familiar genre interesting is the addition of a race of vampires at war with the zombie horde - pitting two of the most iconic supernatural species in fiction against each other.
Here's the official synopsis for the first issue:
"Welcome to New York City years after the undead plague has erupted—but just because Manhattan has been quarantined, don’t think that everyone inside is safe! Not only do flesh-eaters roam within Manhattan, but there’s another ancient predator about to take a bite out of the Big Apple!"
When audiences think of zombies, it's hard not to think of George A. Romero. The filmmaker has had a remarkable impact on the genre ever since his iconic 1968 film, The Night of the Living Dead, and continued to be a champion of the undead on the silver screen for the rest of his career, with films like Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and several more.
Romero has played with different types of structure and format in his last few movies (see: 2007's pseudo-documentary Diary of the Dead), but most would agree: they haven't been up to par with his earlier work. It sounds like Empire of the Dead may be his most interesting project of the past few years, and Romero's name alone should still be enough to reel in die-hard fans of the filmmaker.
The addition of the vampires should help the series to stand out amongst its competition; the Walking Dead TV shows are very much grounded in as realistic of a world as possible, whereas Empire of the Dead wholeheartedly embraces the supernatural. That's something that makes this one zombie series worth looking forward to.
Empire of the Dead is currently being developed for television. We'll bring you more information when we have it.