George R.R. Martin's 'Wild Cards' Series Moves to Peacock from Hulu

George R.R. Martin's 'Wild Cards' Series Moves to Peacock from Hulu

March 10, 2021

Over two years ago, a multi-series adaptation of George R.R. Martin‘s expansive Wild Cards book series was picked up by Hulu. The intention was to create an entire universe of shows based on the anthologies, mosaic novels, and stand-alone stories about various superheroes and villains, all written by a variety of authors and overseen by Martin. But now the series has hit a bit of a snag in development.

Wild Cards is shifting from Hulu to Peacock after a change in leadership at the Disney-owned streaming service, which has also prompted writer Andrew Miller to move on from the project.

The Hollywood Reporter has news on George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards TV series moving from Hulu to Peacock. Before we get into the business side of this shift, here’s the synopsis for the first Wild Cards book, published in 1987 as the first of what would become a 27-book series (with more on the way):

There is a secret history of the world, a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some were called Aces, those with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others were termed Jokers, cursed with bizarre mental or physical disabilities. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story.

Andrew Miller had been overseeing the development of two initial shows based on a batch of Wild Cards stories that former Hulu content chief Joel Stillerman had selected to be adapted. During development, Miller and a shared writers room wrote seven episodes for one series and three episodes for the second. But apparently the subject matter in both shows, which focused on marginalized communities, was deemed too dark for the direction that Hulu is taking after Stillerman’s role as chief content officer was eliminated amidst the company’s restructuring in 2018.

Also pushing the series from Hulu was NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast selling their stake in Hulu, giving control of the streaming service to Disney. Universal Cable Productions was still involved in producing the series after snagging the rights back in 2016, and their involvement after giving up their Hulu ownership made the series a more expensive endeavor for the streamer, who would have to pay Universal for licensing rights.

As of now, Miller is no longer part of the Wild Cards development since his contract with Universal expired last year, but co-editor Melinda Snodgrass is remaining on board as an executive producer, along with George R.R. Martin. What’s not clear is if this shift to Peacock will result in the ambitious plan for multiple inter-locking series to be pared down to a single series. It appears that will depend on who is hired to take over the series as writer.

I’m not sure why there have to be multiple shows instead of just an on-going narrative that continues to expand the single universe. But I also haven’t read any of the Wild Cards books, so maybe it makes more sense to have multiple shows that are connected to each other, much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe has several individual film franchises that are connected in a larger world. Peacock is probably hoping they can capitalize on both the popularity of George R.R. Martin and superheroes to have their own major franchise, but since it’s still just in development, it remains to be seen if they can pull it off.

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