An adaptation of N.K. Jemisin‘s fantasy series The Broken Earth is in development at TriStar Pictures and Sony, and in a smart move, Jemisin has been hired to adapt the books herself for the screen. The deal is reportedly worth seven figures, and this will be Jemisin’s first screen credit.
Each entry in The Broken Earth series won the coveted Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the series is one of the most popular adult fantasy series in recent years. The first novel is titled The Fifth Season and takes place on a planet with one giant continent called the Stillness, in which every few centuries its people experience a ‘fifth season’ of catastrophic climate change.
The novel, released in 2015, won rave reviews and turned Jemisin into a household name. It was followed by The Obelisk Gate a year later and The Stone Sky in 2017. Jemisin’s most recent novel The City We Became, which is the beginning of a separate trilogy, was published last year and featured on the New York Times bestseller list.
It’s honestly surprising it’s taken this long for a studio to option The Broken Earth books for the screen. Fantasy remains a strong genre, and the series has timely messages about global warming. Plus it’s a built-in trilogy; if the first film is a hit, a full franchise is right there for the taking.
Getting Jemisin on board to adapt her own work is a smart move. Now we’ll wait and see who Sony gets to direct.
One thing worth watching for – don’t be surprised if this adaptation is re-jigged into a series down the line. With streaming becoming such a key now, Sony might see more profitability in turning The Broken Earth into a fantasy show like Netflix’s The Witcher or Amazon’s upcoming Lord Of The Rings. The problem with that is that Sony doesn’t have a streaming service – yet.
They did recently announce the Bravia Core service that comes with purchase of their TVs, and they are also testing out a streaming platform titled PlayStation Plus Video Pass, so there’s a strong chance they enter the streaming wars in the near future. The Broken Earth would be a big series to headline the launch. We’ll wait and see what form it takes.