Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan will adapt William Gibson’s futuristic sci-fi novel The Peripheral for Amazon. When HBO unleashed Game of Thrones on the world in 2011, it quickly became clear that the game had changed when it came to staging fantasy and sci-fi stories for television. Thrones has of course only become bigger over the years, sending HBO’s competitors scrambling to find their own tentpole genre properties.
In their own effort to keep up with HBO, Amazon will try to one-up Game of Thrones by going back to the well-spring to produce a Lord of the Rings series that could cost north of $500 million (and may yet be produced by Peter Jackson). Of course, Thrones isn’t the only major, pop culture dominating genre property at HBO. There’s also Westworld, the mind-bending sci-fi series currently headed into its second season. When it comes to discussion on social media, Reddit and other outlets, Westworld inspires nearly as much passion as Thrones.
Now it appears Amazon will go for their own Westworld-style sci-fi series. And who better to deliver the goods than the very team responsible for HBO’s epic futuristic robot Western? As reported by THR, Joy and Nolan will hop over to Amazon to adapt acclaimed novelist William Gibson’s sci-fi novel The Peripheral through their Kilter Films banner. Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan) will handle writing chores with Vincenzo Natali (Westworld) directing. Amazon reportedly has given the project a script-to-series order, meaning it would bypass the pilot stage if the script turns out well.
Gibson of course is renowned as the originator of the cyberpunk genre with his classic novel Neuromancer (at one time reportedly set to become a movie directed by Tim Miller). Gibson’s 2014 work The Peripheral takes place in two timelines: a near future where things have progressed in a decidedly dystopian direction, and a more distant future where a flat out horrible cataclysm has wiped out most of humanity, leaving earth’s cities largely abandoned. These two worlds become linked via the use of cyborg avatars – called “peripherals” – that take advantage of quantum effects to travel back and forth through time. Gibson has already penned a sequel called Agency, set to release this month (opening up the possibility for a longer run of seasons at Amazon).
Legendary as Gibson may be, adaptations of his works have seldom made it far in development. But with their experience bringing the complex, multi-timeline narrative of Westworld to life, perhaps Joy and Nolan will be the ones to finally crack the code. As far as Amazon goes, the “copy HBO” plan seems to be in full effect. Lord of the Rings may give them their Game of Thrones, and The Peripheral may give them their Westworld.