Octavia E. Butler's beloved novel Kindred is being adapted for a pilot at FX.
Variety reports that FX has ordered a pilot based on the novel, to be written and executive produced by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright and MacArthur Genius Award-winner, and previously consulted on HBO's Watchmen.
Courtney Lee-Mitchell will also executive produce alongside Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields — the duo behind The Americans — as well as Protozoa Pictures, Darren Aronofsky's production copany. Ernestine Walker and Merrilee Heifetz will executive co-produce.
Jacobs-Jenkins said of the news,
“Since my first encounter with the novel nearly two decades ago, there have been few, if any, books and even fewer authors who have meant as much to me as ‘Kindred’ and Octavia Butler. It has been the highlight and honor of my career thus far to try and finally bring this timeless story to life – and especially at FX, whose catalogue of bold, thought-provoking, and cutting-edge television has been an endless source of inspiration and delight.”
The late Butler's estate has also released a statement on the project:
The Octavia E. Butler Estate was thrilled and grateful to have placed Kindred with Courtney Lee Mitchell at the outset, who brought it to Branden Jacobs Jenkins (a young writer who shares with Octavia the rare honor of being a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award recipient) and then to the terrific people at Protozoa. FX could not be a better or more enthusiastic partner, as evidenced by the brilliant creative team they are building, and the legendary slate of shows they have produced. We can’t wait to see this beloved work take its place among the stars in the FX universe.
Butler's acclaimed 1979 novel follows Dana, a 26-year-old Black woman who lives in California with her white partner. When she inexplicably finds herself back in the 19th-century American south, Dana faces immediate danger as an African-American on a pre-Civil War plantation. While back in time, Dana saves a drowning white boy, a decision that has irreversible consequences in both the past and present.
Kindred went on to become one of Butler's most beloved works. Author Walter Mosley has said of the novel, “In Kindred, Octavia Butler creates a road for the impossible and a balm for the unbearable. It is everything the literature of science fiction can be."
The book has previously been adapted into graphic novel form. If it is ordered to series, this will be its first adaptation for the small screen.
Kindred isn't the first Butler adaptation in the works, either—series adaptations of her novels Wild Seed and Dawn are also in development. This Kindred news comes after several exciting weeks for Butler readers, during which she was honored by NASA, NPR, and Symphony Space, respectively.