George R.R. Martin’s ‘Wild Cards’ is Headed for Theaters

The superhero anthology from the creator of Game of Thrones gets picked up by Universal.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Frankly, we're surprised it took so long. The books are badass and the popularity of Game of Thrones can't be denied, but at last, almost 25 years after its first publication, George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards is being made into a major motion picture. Haven't heard of it? Shame on you.

Edited by Martin and created by a series of science fiction writers, Wild Cards told the story of an alien virus that was unleashed in 1946, mutating tens of thousands of people throughout the world into either deformed mutants called "Jokers," or, rarely, superpowered titans called "Aces." There's also a third class of folks who received essentially useless superpowers called "Deuces." The books were written by a variety of authors within a shared universe. The first book in particular told the alternate history of the 20th century which resulted from the incident, through the eyes of such characters as "The Great and Powerful Turtle," a extremely powerful telekinetic who hides himself within a metal shell, "The Sleeper," who repeatedly falls comatose only to wake up in a new body with new abilities every time, and "Golden Boy," the strongest man in the world who fell from grace after willfully testifying against his fellow Aces before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950's.

Hollywood Reporter has announced that the new film of Wild Cards will be produced by SyFy Films, a joint venture between the SyFy Channel and Universal Pictures. The screenplay is currently being written by Melinda Snodgrass, who co-created the series and wrote several of its installments. She's also worked extensively on Star Trek: The Next Generation, writing such episodes as the classic "The Measure of a Man," in which the android Data had to prove his humanity in a court of law.

Martin hinted that the Wild Cards movie would be set in the present day, and that The Sleeper, at the very least, is expected to be included in the cast. The budget is expected to be relatively low for this kind of thing, with District 9 cited as an example of how to make crowd-pleasing and intelligent sci-fi movies inexpensively. As for the future, Martin says, "We hope this is the first of a long presence in film and perhaps even television down the line."

CraveOnline will be back with more Wild Cards news as long as we don't draw the Black Queen…