The Umbrella Academy may be coming to an end, but Steve Blackman is far from idle.
The Umbrella Academy showrunner is prepping two new series for Netflix — an adaptation of the critically acclaimed Playstation video game Horizon Zero Dawn, and a new space thriller called Orbital.
The projects come as part of Blackman’s new multi-year contract with the streamer in which he will write and produce new series under his new production company Irish Cowboy.
In conversation with Netflix’s fandom website Tudum, Blackman fleshed out more details on both new projects.
“Horizon Zero Dawn and Orbital are on the surface very different shows from each other and from The Umbrella Academy,” explains Blackman. “One takes place a thousand years in the future, in a world completely remade by massive machines. The other is set near present-day on a space station.
From a character- and world-building perspective, there’s a clear throughline: I gravitate to characters who are grounded and relatable but exist on the fringe. Outliers who struggle to find their place in a world of conformity and structure. All my stories strive to subvert expectation and find a new way of looking into the worlds we think we know.
If these series gain the success of The Umbrella Academy, I’ll be very happy. But we hope to push the envelope even more, especially when it comes to production where we’ll be using the newest technologies available to bring these projects to screen. It’s an enormous challenge but one that I’m truly excited about.”
On the Horizon Zero Dawn adaptation, which pits young warrior Aloy against deadly machines and an evil artificial intelligence, set against the backdrop of a world destroyed by a devastating war, Blackman assures fans that the Playstation favorite character will remain front and center in his new series.
“Horizon Zero Dawn is an exceptionally well-crafted game with wonderful characters not often seen in the rank-and-file of the gaming world,” says Blackman. “Guerrilla Games has created an incredibly lush and vivid world of man and machine who find themselves on a collision course to oblivion. Their salvation comes in the form of a young female warrior named Aloy, who has no idea she’s the key to saving the world. Suffice it to say, yes, Aloy will be a main character in our story. My writing partner on this, Michelle Lovretta, and I are thrilled to be able to expand this remarkable IP into a series for all types of viewers.”
However when it comes to Orbital fans will not see characters battling aliens, advises Blackman, hinting that this new space driven thriller may be based on the struggles of real astronauts, and set on the very real International Space Station.
“The men and women who live on the most expensive and complex machine ever built — the International Space Station — live in the unforgiving vacuum of space. There is no Uber to call when things go bad. They can only rely on trust for each other. When that trust erodes, every action they choose can have dire consequences,” explains Blackman.
“With my collaborators, David and Keith Lynch, we’re creating a series that is unlike anything I’ve done before yet also shares my love of black humor, characters who live on the edge and wild action sequences. We can’t reveal much more than this, but we can say for certain that there won’t be any aliens.”
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