The on-again, off-again U.S. adaptation of Utopia is officially on again, as Amazon has ordered a nine-episode first season of the series with writer Gillian Flynn attached. The series, which was originally created by Dennis Kelly and aired in the U.K. a fear years ago, tells the story of a group of people whose lives are turned upside down after they come into possession of a conspiracy-spouting graphic novel that may actually be more truth than fiction. As a result of having set eyes on the reading material, the group find themselves the target of a clandestine organization hell bent on keeping the book’s contents from being exposed even further.
If the show’s title and Flynn’s name being attached sound familiar, it’s because Utopia was initially set up as a project at HBO in 2015. The series was set to have Flynn on board as writer and producer, and would have placed David Fincher in the role of director and producer. As it turned out, Fincher and HBO had a disagreement with regard to the show’s production budget, and the project never came to fruition.
As reported by Variety, Amazon has resurrected Utopia, giving it a series order and also signing Flynn to an overall deal with the studio. Flynn currently has Sharp Objects, a limited series based on her novel of the same name and starring Amy Adams, due out on HBO this year.
The move to Amazon isn’t much of a surprise, as the streaming service has recently undergone a change in direction following a mandate from Jeff Bezos. The service is looking for more high-profile genre series, like The Lord of The Rings and the recently announced The Peripheral from Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and Utopia sounds as though it’s in line with that new blockbuster-sized vision for Amazon’s lineup of original programming.
The upside to the move is, of course, Amazon’s incredibly deep pockets, where issues of budget aren’t, for the time being anyway, going to be as much of an issue as they were for HBO. At the time the project went off the rails, Fincher said he and Flynn envisioned Utopia as a “road movie” — which contributed to its budget and the disputes surrounding it — so it will be interesting to see how close to the originally conceived project this endeavor at Amazon turns out to be. At this point, there’s no word on whether or not Fincher will come back on board to direct.
Utopia does not currently have a premiere date.