HBO has confirmed that its latest project with George R.R. Martin is to be an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death. HBO and Martin’s flagship project, Game of Thrones is reaching its conclusion next season and the network is looking for a new blockbuster to continue to drive viewer-ship and subscriptions. The creator of the vast Fire and Ice universe is tipped to produce, Who Fears Death which it is eagerly anticipated by science fiction and fantasy fans and network executives. Martin joins producers Michael Lombardo and Angela Mancuso on the ambitious project. Lombardo and Martin are hoping to reproduce the magic when they are reunited to work on this project having worked together on the mega blockbuster GOT when Lombardo was Head of Programming.
Who Fears Death is based on a novel by Nigerian-American author, Nnedi Okorafor. The book was published in 2010 by DAW, to critical acclaim, including earning the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 2011. Fans had known for some time that it was set to be developed for the screen but it had been unclear who would take it on. Back in July, Okorafor took to Twitter to indicate that the book had been optioned by HBO and that she would play and ongoing role in its development as a TV series as one of the Executive Producers.
It to be adapted for the small screen by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds. He emerged from some stiff competition as the writer favoured to take on the complex task of adapting the novel. Themes include ethnic identity, weaponized rape and cultural change which will need to be handled with polish to avoid a backlash. George R R Martin said that he loved what Hinds had to say about how he planned to bring the powerful novel to the screen.
Who Fears Death is an Afro futuristic story set in Post Apocalyptic North Africa among the Okeke tribe and their oppressors the Nuru. The story follows the life of Onyesowu. Our protagonist is an outcast, as the child of rape, and her coming of age tale traces her quest to defeat her sorcerer father with her own magical powers. As she grows her supernatural powers also develop. She must overcome near insurmountable obstacles, learn to master her powers and become instrument of prophesized deliverance for her people.
George RR Martin’s involvement is part of his agreement with HBO. Martin has an overall deal with the network and is currently working on four Game of Thrones spinoffs for the network.
As part of the company’s succession plan for the end of the TV reign of the Iron Throne the network has also confirmed that they are working on four projects exploring other Westorossi tales. No timeline for production has yet been indicated as all the scripts are in development. HBO wouldn’t confirm whether they are sequels, prequels or from the same time-line but said that the writers brief asked them to explore different timelines. The HBO spokesperson indicated that they development would take as long as it took.
Meanwhile we are eagerly awaiting further news of Who Fears Death and when we can hope to see it on a screen near us.