As San Diego Comic-Con 2015 kicks off, Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has unveiled several new deals that will continue to fortify the studio’s growing genre library and cater to the high demand for television content inspired by science fiction, graphic novel and comic book stories. As part of its overall deal with Valhalla Entertainment, UCP today announced renowned graphic novel writer Warren Ellis, will adapt the popular 1970s Mexican comic book and Televisa format El Pantera as his first original TV series with Gale Anne Hurd set to executive produce and Televisa USA to co-produce.
Based on the popular 1970s Mexican comic book and hit Spanish language TV series adapted by Televisa, El Pantera is a vigilante crime drama set in a fictional metropolis on the U.S. Mexico Border. When a young officer is appointed Head of Police, he only has one request: He asks that his friend, who was wrongfully imprisoned, be set free. Under the guise of his rumored death, the two create ‘El Pantera’ to rid the city of the Mexican mob. Warren Ellis is set to adapt the comic with Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment attached to produce and Televisa USA to co-produce with UCP.
UCP is also developing the award-winning cult British film, The Machine into a scripted series for Syfy with the film’s Caradog James set to write the script and John Giwa-Amu to produce. The story follows a brilliant computer programmer, desperate to save his terminally ill daughter, who creates the first-ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence. But things go terribly wrong when the technology, designed to help injured soldiers, is hijacked by the government and used to create the ultimate robotic weapon. The Machine will follow multiple storylines as it takes a broad view of cutting edge scientific breakthroughs in genetic engineering, trans-humanism, and artificial intelligence.
Additionally, the studio has recently optioned the critically acclaimed comic series Kill Shakespeare, created by Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, and released by IDW Publishing. This dark take on Shakespeare – which has also spawned a stage production and board game – pits his greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff) against his most menacing villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago) in an epic adventure to find and kill – or save – a reclusive wizard named William Shakespeare. Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery are set to write.
UCP also announced this week a first-look production deal with legendary comic book publisher, Dark Horse Entertainment focused on developing and producing scripted programming from their extensive comic book library as well as new material.
Other notable genre projects in UCP’s development pipeline include: for Syfy: Channel Zero, a horror anthology series from Nick Antosca set to write the script, and Max Landis set to produce. The first season will be based on Candle Cove by Kris Straub, a story that originates from the user-generated internet horror phenomenon known as creepypasta; Brave New World, based on the classic novel by Aldous Huxley published in 1932 with Les Bohem set to write, and Amblin attached to produce; Hyperion, based on the Hugo Award-winning science fiction novels that form The Hyperion Cantos by writer Dan Simmons with Bradley Cooper, Graham Kin, and Todd Phillips attached to executive produce and Itamar Moses to write the script and serve as co-executive producer.
UCP is also developing Dreadstar, based on the classic 1980s character from the Marvel-owned Epic Comics imprint by iconic Marvel comic book writer Jim Starlin with Evan Daugherty attached to adapt, BenderSpink attached to produce, and Starlin and Ford Gilmore set to executive produce.