Good news for lovers of sci-fi as Selma and Middle of Nowhere director Ava DuVernay has announced that she is bringing Dawn, the highly lauded first book of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy, to television. As first reported by the site Shadow and Act, Duvernay will produce with Charles D. King through King’s MACRO production company. Writer, director, and frequent DuVernay collaborator Victoria Mahoney is slated to be the showrunner.
In Dawn, after a war has culminated in a nuclear apocalypse and the near extermination of the human race, the survivors are rescued by an alien species and kept in suspended animation on an Earth-like spaceship. Lilith Iyapo, a black woman, is the first to be awakened and is chosen to lead her people into an uncertain future. She is faced with a choice: adapt or die. But, what good is survival if it comes at the cost of humanity?
Octavia Butler (1947-2006) has long been considered one of the greatest writers of science-fiction to ever live, up with Asimov, Clarke, or Bradbury. In a genre that was and still is dominated by a white and male perspective, Butler’s identity as an African-American Woman brought a fresh perspective to the genre. Her works are well known for their deep philosophical themes, beautiful language, and multi-cultural casts. Throughout her life, Butler was the recipient of multiple awards, including two Hugos and two Nebulas. awards. Notably, she was the first science-fiction writer to be awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, or “genius grant.”She has long been considered the “grand dame” of sci-fi and has been cited by authors from all backgrounds as a major influence. Yet despite Butler’s impact, her works have not been adapted as frequently as those of her peers. Dawn will be the first screen-based adaptation of any of her works.
This is not DuVernay’s only excursion into speculative television, as she is working on the A Wrinkle Time feature film to be released in 2018.