Ron Howard Reuniting with ‘Apollo 13’ Scribe for Neal Stephenson Sci-Fi Adaptation ‘Seveneves’

     June 9, 2016


A feature film adaptation of the Neal Stephenson sci-fi novel Seveneves is picking up steam, and it’s got some serious clout. Per Deadline, Ron Howard has signed on to direct the film, setting his Apollo 13 screenwriter William Broyles Jr. to pen the script while Brian Grazer will produce. That’s a formidable team for any adaptation, but Seveneves has some serious promise and marks a significant tonal changeup for the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind director.

The novel, which hit shelves last year, begins with humanity in dire straights as a catastrophic event renders Earth uninhabitable. The world’s nations subsequently band together to devise a plan to ensure humanity’s survival, which involves sending pioneers into the far reaches of outer space. But then the book jumps 5,000 years into the future, with the progeny of these pioneers now spanning seven distinct races and three billion strong. They set out on an ambitious journey of their own—a return to Earth.


Image via Warner Bros.

That’s one hell of a premise, and from the author of Reamde and Anathem promises to be a bit of a mind-bender. It also marks a fascinating project for Howard, who for years flirted with the sci-fi genre with The Dark Tower, which is finally now filming with Howard having stepped back to a producer-only role. The director’s had trouble connecting at the box office with his past few films, despite the fact that 2013’s Formula 1 film Rush is an underrated gem, but Howard is no stranger to genre hopping—in the past five years alone he’s made the romantic comedy The Dilemma, the historical drama In the Heart of the Sea, and the biopic Rush.

Howard most recently helmed the upcoming Dan Brown adaptation Inferno, which reunites him once more with Tom Hanks in the follow-up to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Skydance—the studio behind the Mission: Impossible films and Terminator: Genisys—is onboard this Seveneves movie with David Ellison producing, and while it’s unclear how soon this might materialize, I’m hoping it’s sooner rather than later.

seveneves-book-coverCheck out the full synopsis for Stephenson’s book below, via Amazon.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.


What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.


But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .


Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.


A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

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