The popular science fiction novel Metro 2033 will be adapted for a feature film. Written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, the book was first published in 2002 and was followed by two subsequent sequels.
Metro 2033 takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow in Russia. After a nuclear war, the city’s residents have moved underground into the Metro system. Within this new society, various factions control separate stations, however some areas - including one known as “Exhibition” - are independent. There, a man named Artyom investigates strange attacks from creatures known as “The Dark Ones,” all the while looking for his adoptive father, Sukhoi. The novel explores Artyom’s experiences with different groups, all of whom attempt to fend off the mysterious Dark Ones. Metro 2033’s major themes are rooted in xenophobia.
Per Variety, Metro 2033 will finally be adapted into a feature film. Various companies associated with Russia’s Gazprom Media will co-produce the movie, which was previously in development at MGM as far back as 2012. Glukhovsky reportedly rejected the proposed United States setting, which he didn’t believe aligned with his original creative vision. Now, a Russia-based adaptation will begin filming next year, with the movie scheduled for a January 1, 2022 release. Even in Russia, Glukhovsky reportedly didn’t feel confident about finding the right production team for a feature film adaption, however he changed his mind after meeting with Gazprom Media. According to co-producer Valery Fedorovich, his group will “invest an unprecedented sum… in the production and promotion of this movie both in Russia and abroad.”
On the surface, Metro 2033 has thematic similarities to Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 film Snowpiercer, which is based on the 1982 graphic novel Le Transperceneige. In a post-apocalyptic society, various factions square off in a massive train system circling the earth. A Snowpiercer TV adaptation will premiere on TBS in 2020. But given Glukhovsky’s past comments, Metro 2033 is fundamentally about Russian society, even if some basic concepts are familiar and relatable to other cultures. The Metro franchise is wildly popular, as numerous authors have published fan fiction subplots, thus strengthening the original novel’s legacy even more. Metro 2033 has also been adapted into a video game, which inspired the 2013 sequel Metro: Last Light and the new 2019 installment Metro Exodus.
In North America, Metro 2033 may already have a strong following, however the average moviegoer may not be familiar with the original novel and premise. Looking ahead, the Metro 2033 movie adaption could potentially match the box office success of the 2019 Chinese film The Wandering Earth, one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, and one that Netflix subscribers may not be familiar with. And given the Glukhovsky seems to be extra protective of how Metro 2033 will be produced, perhaps it will become associated with the classic science fiction films released by Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, rather than just being another blockbuster focused more on visual flair than visceral storytelling.