Elizabeth Banks is returning to the director’s chair to helm an adaptation of Victoria Aveyard‘s bestselling YA fantasy novel, Red Queen. Banks will also co-star in a key supporting role, and will also produce the series along with Max Handelman of their Brownstone Productions.
Banks has actually been somewhat attached to this project since all the way back in 2015. However, it’s shifted a lot since then. It was initially planned as a feature film, but has now moved to Peacock, who probably see it as a potentially lucrative YA series.
Red Queen is set in a world divided into two sects — Red for the commoners, Silver for the elite that rules over them with superpowers. A Red commoner named Mare Barrow discovers that she has a superpower similar to those of the Silver elite. She’s adopted by the Silver so that they may control her, but secretly works with the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, to take down the Silver regime.
It’s easy to see why this project first existed as a film, and will now reside as a streaming series. 2015 saw the release of the final Hunger Games movie, which took the total worldwide gross of the entire series to almost $3 billion. Back then, Red Queen looked like an obvious big screen successor to that franchise.
But in the years since, YA film adaptations haven’t performed nearly as well, and streaming has become a lot more prominent. Netflix already have their own YA shows – Shadow And Bone was recently released to acclaim – while Hulu have entered the game with their upcoming adaptation of Sarah J. Maas‘ A Court Of Thorns And Roses.
Throw in the fact that the new glut of streaming platforms means that all these services have to have genuinely appealing content to stay afloat, and it makes sense that Comcast – who own Peacock – now see a lot more value in Red Queen as a series than a film franchise.
Aveyard is onboard to adapt her own novel alongside Beth Schwartz, who previously served as the showrunner for similar YA content in the form of Arrow‘s seventh and eighth season, as well as contributing as a consulting producer to Legends Of Tomorrow.
This will be Banks’ first directorial effort since helming the Kristen Stewart-led Charlie’s Angels reboot in 2019. In front of the camera, she’s currently filming Call Jane, a historical drama about abortion from Carol screenwriter Phyllis Nagy.