Ava DuVernay is a talented filmmaker whose subjects of focus alternate between incisive portrayals of real-life events (Selma) and big-dreaming, hard-hitting flights of high-concept fantasy (A Wrinkle in Time). Now, a new sci-fi series at Amazon promises to blend the two impulses together — and DuVernay is bringing along rising talent Victoria Mahoney for the ride. Per Variety, the two are developing Dawn, an adaptation of the influential sci-fi novel, for the streamer.
The original novel, written in 1987 by Octavia E. Butler, is part of a three-novel series that continues with Adulthood Rites and Imago — referred to collectively as Lilith’s Brood. The novels follow a black woman, Lilith Iyapo, held captive by an alien race whose risen to power after an apocalyptic nuclear war wipes out most of the human race 250 years prior. Forming an uneasy truce with the aliens, Lilith figures out how to live better, and how to bring humanity back. These books — and the resulting TV series, I assume — interrogate themes involving race, gender, sexuality, and more.
Mahoney is the first woman to ever direct part of a Star Wars film, working as the second unit director on Rise of Skywalker eight years after directing her first feature Yelling to the Sky. Since then, she’s been directing episodes of Lovecraft Country, Grey’s Anatomy, and Claws. She will write and direct the pilot for Dawn, and serve as executive producer alongside DuVernay, Charles D. King (Gentefied), Allen Bain (Revenge of the Green Dragons), Gary Pearl (Jane the Virgin) and Thomas L. Carter (Triple Dog).
This series sounds like an incredible work, from its subject matter, source of adaptation, and incredible creative team — not to mention its promise of interrogating necessary issues within a sci-fi framework, and its refreshing inclusion behind the camera. We’ll keep you updated on Dawn as its sun continues to rise. For more on DuVernay, check out our latest intel on the Rosario Dawson-starring DMZ. Plus: a fun tease about New Gods. And: our review of her masterful When They See Us.