Octavia E. Butler’s groundbreaking science fiction novel Dawn is being adapted for the small screen. This is the first time any of the author’s material has been turned into a series. The 1987 book is the first in her Lilith’s Brood trilogy along with Adulthood Rites and Imago.
Dawn tells the story of an African American woman named Lilith who wakes up 250 years after a nuclear war has left the Earth uninhabitable. Along with a race of aliens called the Oankali, Lilith works to rebuild the human race. The novel is notable for its exploration of race, gender, and sexuality alongside more classic sci fi themes of technology and how far it should be followed.
According to Deadline, the Dawn adaptation will be a joint venture between director and producer Ava DuVernay, director/writer Victoria Mahoney, and Charles D. King’s media company Macro. DuVernay and King will executive produce the series with a script by Mahoney. They will also be joined by producer Allen Bain who has been working on bringing Butler’s work to the small screen since 2015.
This will not be DuVernay’s first foray into the world of adapting a beloved science fiction property. She is also the director of the highly anticipated film adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time set for release in 2018. In casting Storm Reid in the film and making the Murray family mixed race with parents played by Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw DuVernay has opened the world of science fiction to a wider audience, giving more young girls a role model than ever before.
DuVernay is also the creator and executive producer of the show Queen Sugar which was recently picked up for a third season. Both seasons of Queen Sugar were directed entirely by women- a welcome site in an industry where diversity is still lacking. It is refreshing to see someone in a position of power lifting up and championing other women of color. And it’s probably safe to say that this practice will continue with Dawn as well.
King’s company is also working towards adding more diverse voices in Hollywood. Macro has produced the Oscar winning Fences and is currently at work on a Harriet Tubman biopic starring Cynthia Erivo. Mahoney for her part has previously worked as a director on Claws, Power, and the Netflix series Gypsy.
Science fiction is a genre that desperately needs more women in front of and behind the camera. Some changes are coming with characters like Rose played by Vietnamese-American actress Kelly Marie Tran playing a major role The Last Jedi and Alex Garland’s latest feature Annihilation starring Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac, and Sonoya Mizuno. DuVernay may be the first woman director to helm a film with a $100 million budget, but hopefully she won’t be the last.
Dawn does not yet have a release date.
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