Top image: still, ‘Sin City’ (2005) dir. Robert Rodriguez
In years to come, people will (probably) look back at 2018 as the year that television took precedence over cinema. To many this assertion will be tinged with sadness, but thanks to the services of streaming behemoths Netflix and Amazon, movie stars, critically acclaimed producers, directors, and audiences are progressively switching from the silver to the small screen.
Not only are streaming platforms churning out insane amounts of original content, their shows are among the most talked about of the year. From Netflix’s Thirteen Reasons Why, Stranger Things, and The Haunting of Hill House to Amazon’s The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel and Patriot.
Now, the likes of Netflix, Amazon, HBO and even BBC are stepping up their quest for total screen domination by announcing a number of new projects that will be based on films (classic, cult and blockbuster) but converted into highly-bingeable episodes. The idea of remaking an old favourite is certainly nothing new, not least in 2018 where sequels, prequels and follow-ups are ten a penny, but the sheer ambition and scale of these projects make them intriguing propositions nonetheless.
Find below our list of films forecast to receive the TV treatment in 2019, and beyond.
Lord of the Rings
One stream to rule them all, one click to find them… Yes, Lord of the Rings is really becoming a TV show. Twenty-three years after Peter’s Jackson’s first installment appeared in our cinemas, Amazon will be attempting to transfer Tolkien’s epic folklore into a series. The one billion dollar project (yep, that’s nine zeros) is set to be a prequel to the original trilogy – giving them a mere few thousand years of Middle Earth to play with. Fan fiction sites are already hotly debating what exactly it will entail, with ideas ranging from the life of a young Aragorn, the Mines of Moria, or a spin on the popular game Shadow of Mordor.
While some have criticised the move as a money spinner, Amazon has gone about this the right way, recruiting the Tolkien estate, the original publishers HarperCollins, New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson to assist in the early creative process. Ian Mckellen even said he’d be more than happy to revisit the grey robe.
Set for release in 2021, whether it’s good, bad, or ugly, it’s clear we’ll all be journeying back to Middle Earth.
The criminal, sadistic, neo-noir universe of Frank Miller’s graphic novels stunned cinema-goers when the artist teamed up with Robert Rodriguez for a gloriously stylised live-action adaptation in 2005. With an ensemble cast of Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, it was a cinematic and financial success, evoking the vivid dread of its origin novels– we won’t discuss its 2009 sequel….
Anyway, thirteen years on and this deeply disturbing world will soon shock a whole new audience via a television series remake. Speculation and limited information allude to a departure from the narrative of the films, returning to the original characters and plots of the comic universe.
With Glen Mazarra, renowned for the gory and brilliant Walking Dead, tapped as the showrunner, it’s certainly one to look out for.
Everyone’s childhoods were traumatised by the psychological imprint left on them by the 1978 Watership Down film – unless of course you were a wimp and watched the CITV 1999 series, in which case you do not know true pain. (Tearjerker alert – even now we can’t listen to Art Garfunkel’s Bright Eyes without imagining a bunny apocalypse.)
Intent on emotionally scarring the next generation, Netflix and BBC will be releasing a revamped two-part series of Adams’ 1972 novel. Set to return on 22nd December, we’ll be able to witness the return of the beloved anthropomorphised rabbits, trying to save themselves from encroaching human destruction just in time for Christmas – jolly, hey?
This rendition will feature some of the best in British talent, including James McAvoy, Nicholas Holt, Peter Capaldi, Olivia Colemen and Ben Kingsley to name but a few.
It seems this franchise will go on forever. Disney+ is set to release, not one, but two spin-off series in the next coming years, as well as releasing a second VR experience and, potentially, reviving the classic Clone Wars animated series.
The first new show will see Diego Luna reprising his role as Cassian Andor. This unnamed series is planned as a prequel to the hugely successful Rogue One, with Diego’s character going on inter-galactic missions as a spy for the Rebel Alliance.
The second installment is ominously entitled The Mandalorian and will be set post-fall of the Empire, but pre-First Order and will follow a lone gunfighter who lives far from the New Republic. With only one image released so far (see below) it’s hard to gauge what to expect – although, is it us or does the scenery look very Tatooine-y? However, with Dave Filoni, who helped create Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars Resistance, at the helm of the first episode, the force seems strong with this one.
The War of the Worlds
H.G. Wells basically invented what we call sci-fi; his 1897 novel, The War of the Worlds, was one of the first books to deal with the struggle between humans and extra-terrestrial beings.
His word has been reproduced, repackaged and revamped in every medium possible – notably in 1938 Orson Welles supposedly sent several hundred Americans into a panic when he read parts of the story as a radio broadcast – however, now comes a new BBC three-part miniseries set in Liverpool at the end of the nineteenth century.
Set to debut in late 2018 or early 2019, the show has been written by Peter Harness – who already has some experience bringing to life Victorian fantasy, notably Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange – and will star Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson alongside Rafe Spall as a newly invented couple, George and Amy. In supporting roles there’s Trainspotting’s Robert Carlyle and Rupert Graves as Ogilvy and Frederick.
Describing his vision of the show, Harness explained: “The version of The War of the Worlds that I wanted to make is one that’s faithful to the tone and the spirit of the book, but which also feels contemporary, surprising and full of shocks: a collision of sci-fi, period drama and horror.”
Back in 2016, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, reporting that Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) will helm a miniseries adaptation of Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 movie, Metropolis.
Now, three years on, it’s looking like progress has been made. While we haven’t quite reached 2026 – the year the original film was set in – in today’s society, the advancement of A.I. is a serious topic of debate.
One of the original sci-fi classics, Metropolis took place in a future society where rich industrialists ruled from towering skyscrapers, while a bleak underworld populated by mistreated proles slaved below – think 1984 meets Blade Runner. We can’t promise this one will be released in 2019, but we sure have our fingers crossed.
Loki, The Winter Solider, Falcon and Scarlet Witch
Marvel, a bit like Star Wars, are going to bleed their characters until they look like Dracula had a soiree on their cold, lycra, corpses.
Not content with producing at least a film a year, Marvel Studios and Disney+ are set to produce shows for the second tier characters in 2019 from their vast, and very confusing, universe.
Information regarding what these shows will entail is mainly rumours at the moment, however, it can be confirmed that, unlike some TV adaptations, the movie cast will reprise their roles. So yes, somehow, despite his bitter end in Avengers Infinity War, Tom Hiddleston is coming back to our screens as the deranged, but still loveable, Loki.
Joseph Heller’s seminal satire is viewed as one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. For those unaware of the work, it follows the story of John Yossarian and his battle with the ridiculously sinister Catch 22 rule – it basically makes it impossible to leave army service without losing your mind.
His multi-narrated World War Two story has made it onto screens before; in 1970 its success was eclipsed by its fellow war black comedy MASH. However, it has since become a cult classic.
This installment is set to be directed by George Clooney, who will also play the sadistically pathetic Scheisskopf alongside Kyle Chandler as the authoritarian Col. Cathcart.
Unlike the other examples of this list, the Hulu six-episode series will be a one season spin and no more.
What We Do in the Shadows
In 2014, Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi made audiences around the world laugh and cringe at their horror, comedy, mockumentary about four vampires living in Wellington, NZ.
Bizarrely brilliant, the film already has a spin-off titled Wellington Paranormal, that premiered earlier this year. This focuses on Karen and Mike who play supporting roles as police officers in the films. However, it seems fans want more, and more is what they’re getting.
FX, owned by 21st Century Fox, is set to produce a ten-episode series slated for 2019. Only this time, our vampish friends will be set in New York, not New Zealand like in the film, and will feature a whole new trio of blood-thirsty protagonists: Fonejacker‘s Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry and Harvey Guillen.
So far only two short clips have been released, but it is clear that the awkward trio are holding true to the original film.
Not all superhero films are meant for the family, the upcoming Watchmen series is an example of one definitely meant for post-watershed.
Based on the DC comic series, this script moves away from the original graphic novels, which dealt with a reality where superheroes helped America win the Vietnam War, and instead place them in the present day.
Many may remember reading the development purgatory that Zach Snyder, director of the 2009 film, endured in creating his version. However, hopefully Damon Lindelof’s rendition will not suffer this same fate.
Famous for being at the helm of the noughties classic Lost, Lindelof uploaded a heartfelt post about the show onto his Instagram:
And it would seem he has a stellar cast behind him, including Jeremy Irons, Regina King and Don Johnson.