Y: The Last Man has been a tricky comic property to pull together for adaptation. The acclaimed graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughan focuses on a post-apocalyptic world where every mammal with a Y chromosome dies simultaneously, except for one man and his pet monkey. This material, while very dense, is fit for the cinematic treatment. However, various obstacles have stalled the process of moving Y: The Last Man into anything beyond pre-production. As of now, even plans to turn this story into a movie have changed into its potential as a TV series. Perhaps that is the best way to go, but who would be involved?
While many have been attached to Y: The Last Man at various times, including 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg back in 2013, director D.J. Caruso was maybe the closest to getting a film started. Those plans have subsided since, but he's remained loosely attached. With Caruso's latest film arriving in theaters this week, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, we at Screen Rant were able to bring up the topic with the filmmaker directly.
During the xXx: Return of Xander Cage junket, we were able to express our admiration of the Y: The Last Man comic series and ask the current status of the project. Caruso had this to say:
"I’m no longer attached, but it’s so funny that you say that. It was one of those times—it was at the time where I saw that series as a trilogy. I thought if you’re gonna make that movie, it’s a trilogy, and I think at the time New Line and Warner Brothers wanted one standalone movie. And so it’s kind of been in development slog over the course of the years, but we’re talking about that. We had a talk about that two weeks ago, about kind of revisiting, and seeing if a great television platform might be the best way to take that series over five years."
Back when a Y: The Last Man was in development, Caruso was coming off the sleeper hit Disturbia and the modest hit Eagle Eye, both starring Shia LaBeouf, who was being courted for The Last Man. Producer David S. Goyer was involved in developing the script, but it was ultimately the idea of turning this massive story into one film that caused problems. Various filmmakers have been attached or expressed interest since, including Trachtenberg, as mentioned, as well as director Louis Letterier, before the film was pronounced as dead. More recently, FX was reported to be developing Y: The Last Man into a TV series with producer Nina Jacobson. Writer Michael Green (Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049) will reportedly be serving as the showrunner.
Keeping in mind the success of other graphic novel-based TV shows like The Walking Dead and Preacher, it is of little surprise to hear of Y: The Last Man's potential as a television series. It is a lot to ask for as far as trying to develop a graphic novel series as a full cinematic trilogy. Many films have been made (generally YA novel adaptations) over the years, with big, open-ended narratives, in the hopes that the film series would continue (The Golden Compass, Eragon, The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, etc.). Even Divergent, which has had three cinematic releases, did not have the strength to make its final entry worth turning into a feature film. Y: The Last Man could certainly work in cinematic form, but one can understand the challenge of going all in, regardless of strong the script and resulting film turn out to be.
A television series does seem more fitting. It would also provide Caruso, who himself had an unfinished cinematic story in the form of I Am Number Four, some much stronger material to work with than he has had in quite some time. With a great story setup, a variety of characters and a whole world that would be interesting to see come to life, a full on television series at the right network could really capture the feel of one of the best modern graphic novel series out there.
Y: The Last Man (the TV show) is still in early development.