The first season of SYFY's upcoming adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Nightflyers will be given a substantial budget according to recent comments made by Martin himself. With Amazon writing a sizeable check for The Lord of the Rings and HBO currently mulling five different spinoffs, the race to lock down the next Game of Thrones is getting heated. But SYFY has taken a decidedly different route by going directly to the source and choosing instead to bring another one of Martin's creations to life.
The news that Nightflyers was ordered to series was announced earlier this summer, but since then details have been somewhat scarce. The novella, which Martin wrote in 1980 and was already translated into a feature film in '87, seems like the perfect material for the network, especially now that the powers that be have rejiggered their approach and have gone after similarly dark, mature material, like The Magicians, The Expanse, and next week's adaptation of Grant Morrison's Happy! By comparison, Nightflyers stands to be more along the lines of The Expanse, with its tale of futuristic space exploration gone horribly wrong – with an emphasis on horrible.
Martin presumably took a break from working on the latest A Song of Ice and Fire book to update fans on his LiveJournal page about the upcoming series. The author informed his readers that Nighflyers will have a 10-episode first season and that it's been given "a substantial budget, one that should allow them to create a show that looks as good as modern audiences expect."
Audiences already familiar with Martin's novella may have shared his concern over just how SYFY, series showrunner Daniel Cerone, and writer/creator Jeff Buhler plan to stretch what is essentially a bleak horror story with a considerable body count across (potentially) several seasons of television. The author was quick to assure those reading that he'd managed to get his hands on a script and was confident Buhler and Cerone are set up for success:
"Honestly, at first I was baffled as to how they hoped to get a series out of my story, since at the end of the novella… pretty much everyone is dead (it was a horror story, after all). But in May, UCP got me a copy of Jeff Buhler's script, and I saw how he'd dealt with that. It was a good read, and yes, I came away with a better idea of where they'd find a few seasons."
The series is currently in pre-production, and is set to film in Ireland, which led Martin to intimate that some of those unlucky souls who perished on Game of Thrones might find work on this new series. He stated that Nightflyers would have "access to the same great pool of Irish and British actors that Game of Thrones has tapped in Belfast (and considering how many characters have been killed, a lot of them should be available.)"
Though it probably won't be the next Game of Thrones, this adaptation of Nightflyers might be the next big thing for SYFY.
Nightflyers does not have a premiere date. Screen Rant will keep you updated on the series as news is made available.