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15 Science Fiction And Fantasy Film And TV Adaptations To Look Forward To

From the highly anticipated Warner Bros. adaptation of Dune to Octavia Butler's Kindred, here are 15 TV shows or movies out soon that you'll want to watch.

Posted on August 17, 2021, at 12:39 p.m. ET


Warner Bros.

Foundation

What it’s about: Originally published as short stories in 1942, the series by famed science fiction author Isaac Asimov then turned into a trilogy of novels set in planets across the galaxy all ruled by the Galactic Empire. Start reading the series with Foundation.

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Latest updates: The show is set to premiere Sept. 24, 2021. It stars Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Terrence Mann, Cassian Bilton, and Alfred Enoch.

Dune

What it’s about: The first in a two-part film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel takes place mostly on the desert planet Arrakis. Paul Atreides is the son of Duke Leto Atreides and Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica. Leto is assigned to the planet Arrakis as part of a plot to overthrow him. Arrakis is significant for being the only place to acquire a spice that prolongs human life and makes space travel possible. After a betrayal, Paul escapes to live with the Bene Gesserits and comes to play a crucial part in their prophecies.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Latest updates: The film releases Oct. 22, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max for 31 days. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the film stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, and more.

The Wheel of Time

What it’s about: Robert Jordan published the first book in this epic series — The Eye of the World — in 1990. He completed 11 books in the series before his death in 2007, and then popular fantasy author Brandon Sanderson picked up where Jordan left off to complete the final three novels. While the books begin with Rand al'Thor, the first season will instead follow Rand's mentor Moiraine Damodred, a member of a magical and powerful community of women, as she seeks the Dragon Reborn.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Latest updates: The first season comes out in November 2021. Rosamund Pike plays Moiraine in the show. Other leading cast members include Josha Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford, Barney Harris, Zoë Robins, and Madeleine Madden.

The Sandman

What it’s about: This TV series is based on Neil Gaiman's comic book series of the same name. Dream, one of the seven Endless (Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium), is the lord of both stories and the dream world. After being captured in an occult ritual and imprisoned for 105 years, Dream escapes and now seeks his three symbols of power: his ruby, his helm, and his pouch of sand. The first season is based on the first two books in the series: Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll's House.

Where to watch: Netflix

Latest updates: No release date yet but filming recently ended, and it may come out by the end of 2021. The cast includes Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Donna Preston, Jenna Coleman, Stephen Fry, and more.

House of the Dragon

What it’s about: This prequel to The Game of Thrones takes place 300 years earlier and tells the story of House Targaryen. The show is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, an epic that chronicles the history of House Targaryen from Aegon the Conqueror — the creator of the Iron Throne — to the civil war that threatened to tear their dynasty apart.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Latest updates: Production has begun and HBO says the series will come out in 2022, though a recent COVID-19 case among the cast or crew has paused production. The cast includes Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans, and Sonoya Mizuno. Martin and Ryan Condal are co-creators, and the showrunners are Miguel Sapochnik and Condal.

Lord of the Rings

What it’s about: Not much is known about this new, much-anticipated series. With both new and familiar characters, the show will take place during the Second Age, thousands of years before the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Latest updates: Set to premiere on Sept. 2, 2022, the series is led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. The large ensemble cast includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.

Station Eleven

What it’s about: The novel by Emily St. John Mandel takes place across multiple timelines. In one, Kirsten Raymonde is an actor in a traveling troupe after a flu pandemic wiped out much of humanity. When the troupe visits a town in the Great Lakes to see friends, a religious prophet puts them all at risk. In another timeline, Miranda creates a graphic novel series called Station Eleven as a hobby before the pandemic. The series becomes a symbol of hope in the future.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Latest updates: Filming concluded in July 2021, though no word yet on when the series will air. The cast includes Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, David Wilmot, Nabhaan Rizwan, Philippine Velge, Daniel Zovatto, and Lori Petty.

The Broken Earth Trilogy

What it’s about: All three books in N.K. Jemisin's powerful fantasy trilogy won Hugo Awards. The magic in this world is orogeny, the ability to manipulate geologic formations. A “fifth season” occurs when a massive upheaval causes an apocalypse by wiping out most of humanity until the survivors rebuild once more. Essun is a powerful orogene in hiding who sets off to find her daughter when a fifth season occurs. The first book in the trilogy is The Fifth Season.

Latest updates: Last month, TriStar Pictures won a bidding war over the trilogy, which the author will adapt. Searchlight Television has also optioned Jemisin’s first fantasy series, The Inheritance Trilogy, for TV, with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios set to produce.

Children of Blood and Bone

What it’s about: Set in a West African–inspired fantasy world, this first book in a YA epic fantasy series centers around diviner Zélie Adebola. Years earlier, magic suddenly disappeared and the king sent soldiers to kill all maji, including Zélie’s mother. Now, Zélie is bent on revenge. When Princess Amari escapes her father with a scroll that can possibly bring magic back, Zélie decides to help her, but Amari’s brother, the prince, is hot on their heels.

Where to watch: Disney+

Latest updates: Not many details have been released about this adaption. In December, Disney announced that Lucasfilm in partnership with 20th Century Studios will be adapting the series.

Kindred

What it’s about: In this essential and intense novel by Octavia Butler, Dana, a Black woman and aspiring writer in 1976, accidentally time travels to early 1800s America, where a white family forces her into slavery. She continues to phase back and forth between timelines, bringing her white husband with her at one point. This novel is a powerful look at slavery through a science fictional lens fromone of the most important science fiction writers in the genre’s history.

Latest updates: FX has ordered a pilot of the novel with Janicza Bravo as director, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins as scriptwriter and producer along with Courtney Lee-Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky, Joe Weisberg, and Joel Fields. Newcomer Mallori Johnson has been chosen to star. The rights for several other Octavia Butler novels have been purchased for adaptation, including The Parable of the Sower by A24, Fledgling by HBO, and Wild Seed and Dawn by Amazon. Fingers crossed at least one of these gets made.

Red Queen

What it’s about: In a future dystopia, the world is divided by blood. The Silver rule and have magical powers, while the Reds are commoners. Mare Barrow was born a Red, but when she discovers she has powers, the Silver adopt her and pretend she’s a long-lost Silver princess. However, Mare detests the power dynamics and means to bring down the Silver elites. Victoria Aveyard’s four-book YA series is complete.

Where to watch: Peacock

Latest updates: Three executive producers have signed on for this one-hour drama TV series: author Victoria Aveyard, Elizabeth Banks, and showrunner Beth Schwartz. Banks will also direct and star in a major role.

The Last Herald Mage

What it’s about: This Mercedes Lackey’s trilogy begins with Magic’s Pawn. It follows a gay bard named Vanyel as he trains to become a Herald — Valdemar’s magical protectors who have horse companions — and how he develops into one of the most powerful Herald-Mages Valdemar has ever seen. Mercedes Lackey has written more than 50 novels set in the Valdemar universe.

Latest updates: This is a recent acquisition by Radar Pictures, which is cofounded by Ted Field, an executive producer for The Wheel of Time series. The company purchased the rights to adapt the entire Valdemar universe, though it plans to begin with The Last Herald Mage trilogy. Kit Williamson (actor, writer, and director of EastSiders) and author Brittany Cavallaro will write and produce the series.

Project Hail Mary

What it’s about: When Ryland Grace wakes from a coma, he doesn’t even know his name. But through a series of flashbacks, he remembers that earth is facing extinction, and he’s on a spaceship searching for a way to save it. The spaceship leads him to the Tau Ceti star system, and he’s not the only one there searching for answers. It’s no surprise that this compulsive sci-fi thriller would be picked up after Wier’s hit adaptation The Martian.

Latest updates: It’s been a while since we’ve seen an update about this adaptation, which was purchased by MGM in March 2020, though the book was released this year. The film will be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ryan Gosling starring. The adaptation rights to Andy Weir’s second novel, Artemis, have been purchased by Universal, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller attached to direct.

Empires of Wild

What it’s about: Joan is a Métis woman whose husband has been missing for a year. She thinks she finds him again as a preacher, but when she confronts him, the preacher says he’s the Reverend Eugene Wolff, not her husband. The novel is inspired by the Indigenous story of the Rogarou — a werewolf-like creature.

Latest updates: Kai Yu Wu and the novel’s author Cherie Dimaline are working with Fabel Entertainment on this series adaptation. Since this is a recent announcement, not much else is known.

Who Fears Death

What it’s about: Nnedi Okorafor’s book of the same name takes place in postapocalyptic Sudan, where two ethnic groups are at war. Onyesonwu is the daughter of both groups and also a sorceress. She’s destined to end the genocide of her people but first must go on a journey to confront her past and future.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Latest updates: Announced in 2017, this HBO adaptation has now added Tessa Thompson as a producer. She joins George R.R. Martin and Aïda Mashaka Croal as producers, and Croal will also be a showrunner and writer.

Ninth House

What it’s about: In Leigh Bardugo’s first novel for adults, Alex Stern is recruited by Yale after being the only survivor of an unsolved multiple homicide. She can now see ghosts, and she’s tasked with spying on Yale’s secret societies and their occult activities.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Latest updates: Amazon Studios announced its plans to develop Ninth House into a series in 2019, with author Leigh Bardugo set to write and produce the series along with Pouya Shahbazian. In June, Bardugo posted on Instagram that she would be taking a social media hiatus to work on the adaptation.●

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.