A few years back, Sony Pictures was developing a feature film adaptation of the Image Comics series Descender. The sci-fi story by bestselling author Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer) and artist Dustin Nguyen (Batman: Streets of Gotham) follows TIM-21, a companion robot who is thrust into a hostile cosmos where androids are outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. Enough time has passed since then that a sequel comic series called Ascender has been published too, and now both of the comics are in the process of being adapted for television.
Variety has news on Canadian production banner Lark Productions picking up the rights for a Descender TV series, which will also include the sequel comic Ascender that launched just last year. Lark is part of NBCUniversal International Studios, but it remains to be seen if this is a series that would fall under their banner in the United States, whether for network television on NBC or maybe as a streaming option on their new service Peacock.
Descender consists of 32 issues published from 2015 through 2018. It takes place in a world where there was a robot uprising against mankind, but all the machines retreated into space after their massive war. Years later, we meet a robot named TIM-21, built to be a companion to a child. As the story unfolds in a journey across space, TIM-21 realizes that he’s an integral part of a conspiracy that reveals why robots rose up against humans and what they were really after.
As for the more recently published Ascender, digging into the plot of the sequel would give some spoilers away for Descender. So we’ll just say that it takes place 10 years after the events of Descender and takes the story in a completely different direction with new characters, worlds, and more. Combined with Descender, it certainly provides more than enough material for an entire television series.
Jeff Lemire said in a statement, “The world of Descender and Ascender just keeps growing, and Dustin and I are very happy to be working with Lark to bring it to televisions screens as well. Their passion for the comics and devotion to telling the story the right way has us both very excited.”
Meanwhile, Dustin Nguyen added, “It’s definitely going to be an entirely new adventure to see our characters come to life onscreen and share them with a whole new audience.”
Finally, Erin Haskett, president of Lark Productions, said, “Descender [and] Ascender is a beautifully crafted saga, examining the tolls of technology on nature and humanity, which feels very timely for television.”
The only way it could be more timely is if it were about streaming services rising up and fighting against humanity. But humanity is doing plenty of fighting among itself, and we don’t even need a technological uprising to create conflict. So take that, sci-fi apocalypse premises!
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