Like the shambling bodies that make up the subject matter, our culture’s fascination with zombie fiction will probably never fully die, with the strength and popularity of The Walking Dead as a lynchpin to the sub-genre’s staying power. It looks like TV will be getting another dose of the undead, and this time from the zombie godfather himself, as George A. Romero’s Marvel Comics series Empire of the Dead is being developed as a television show.
Empire of the Dead doesn’t just feature zombies as a supernatural threat either, with the series also centering on a group of vampires that serve as part of the new world order. These are dark days, indeed. A story told in three five-issue acts, with the final act having just kicked off in April, the story takes place in New York, where a co-existence has been formed between the vamps, the zombies, and the humans. Of course, things don’t continue on the smoothest of paths, as a militia from the South later enters the story. As well, there’s a mysterious zombie named Xavier that has everyone’s attention because she exhibits humanistic qualities like the ability to learn.
Fans will be happy to learn that George A. Romero will play a big part of the project, as he’ll be on as a writer, making this his first TV project since Tales from the Darkside in the 1980s. There’s no sign of whether or not he’ll get behind the camera, though. And at this point, it doesn’t appear that anyone from the Marvel side of things is onboard. Slapping Marvel’s name to this project could easily mean the difference between it ending up on Syfy with the goofily enjoyable Z Nation, or on Netflix where Daredevil and other comic properties are settled.
The company that’s planning on bringing Empire of the Dead to small screen audiences is Demarest Films, who made the announcement at Cannes, according to THR. Demarest is known for making films that appeal to both genre and thriller fans, such as A Most Wanted Man, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Tusk. This will be their second foray into the TV world, as they’re also behind the upcoming star-studded adaptation of John le Carre’s The Night Manager, with Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. Before co-founding Demarest, producer Sam Englebardt also worked with Romero on his last two films, Survival of the Dead and Diary of the Dead.
Beyond The Walking Dead and Z Nation, zombie TV also includes The CW’s iZombie – which was also (loosely) based on a comic book – and A&E’s The Returned, which is based on a French series. The latter two aren’t really horrors in the strictest sense, so it’ll be nice to have Empire of the Dead take things closer to that side of the genre.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.