Henning Mankell’s Swedish detective Kurt Wallander is no stranger to live-action adaptations, but the character is getting an unlikely new start in Netflix’s new Young Wallander series (which will hopefully change its name so as to avoid being joking lumped in with CBS's Young Sheldon series). Mankell’s creation is the star of 21 books, as well as two television series — one in Sweden and a UK series starring Kenneth Branagh — and a series of films, all adapted from the novels. Needless to say, the character is something of an international success, and perhaps his stock will rise more in the US following the release of this sort-of prequel series on Netflix.
Curiously enough, the series sounds less like a prequel series and more like a reboot, as it will reportedly take place in the present-day, but focus on a relatively inexperienced Wallander, who has just become a police officer. That presents some interesting challenges for the new series, as modern social and political concerns will no doubt become part of the story and play at least some small part in his growing to become the veteran crime-solver fans know and love. Whether this means big changes are in store for the character or not remain to be seen, but it will certainly be interesting to track the series’ progress in that regard.
Netflix delivered the news in an official press release, detailing what it could about the series in question, such as the fact that it will be and English-language drama (all the better for attracting subtitle-averse US television watchers) and that, like most of the series that have come before, it will only consist of six episodes in the season. You can read a portion of the official statement below:
“In a bold and original new story set in contemporary Sweden, Young Wallander sees Henning Mankell’s iconic detective Kurt Wallander investigate his gripping first case. The story focuses on the formative experiences – professional and personal - faced by Kurt as a recently graduated police officer in his early twenties. The English-language drama series is told over six serialized episodes and features both British and Swedish cast. Production starts during 2019.”
The Branagh version of Wallander was like that of BBC’s Sherlock, in that each episode was actually a 90-minute, feature-length installment. So far, there’s no indication that Young Wallander will follow suit, it stands to reason that, with the relaxed restrictions on Netflix, the new series may resemble its predecessor in that regard. How else it will resemble previous iterations of Wallander remains to be seen, but with any luck this new series will cast a lead who is at least as captivating to watch as Branagh and Krister Henriksson (from the Swedish version of the series) were during their time with the role.
Young Wallander does not currently have a premiere date.