Octavia Butler’s Dawn to be adapted for TV

6th Sep 2015

Octavia Butler's Dawn to be adapted for TV
The 1987 science fiction novel will be produced for the small screen by Allen Bain

She is a recipient of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards and the first science fiction writer to be given the MacArthur Fellowship, now Octavia Butler‘s Dawn is to be made into a television series.

First published in 1987, Dawn (and the subsequent books in what came to be known as the Lilith’s Brood series) explores race, gender, sexuality and what it means to be human under the threat of extinction. Set in a world in which humanity’s only hope for survival is to create a hybrid race by mating with an alien species, Dawn‘s protagonist Lilith is an African-American woman, and therefore an unusually diverse choice for the lead in an eighties Sci-Fi tale (or, alas, a current one).

Because of this, and as it will be the first show to be developed under Allen Bain‘s new production company Bainframe, all eyes are on the Revenge of the Green Dragons producer as he begins to make choices regarding the source material’s treatment.

It's important to bring together a team[...]that represents the multicultural aspects of the book, because that's what the book is about." So far it looks encouraging. In an interview with Shadow and Act, Bain hinted that cultural diversity is high on his list of priorities:

“The lead of this book is an African-American female and the lead of the TV show should be the same. And I think it’s important to bring together a team behind the scenes that represents the multicultural aspects of the book, because that’s what the book is about.”

He also poured scorn on Hollywood’s notion that multicultural stories need a white male narrator in order to be accessible, citing Fox’s Empire as a recent example that audiences have moved on:

“There is no white male leading you into that world, and it’s fantastic […] I’m not saying that there wouldn’t be white characters on the show, but I don’t think making them leads for the sake of demographics and perceived notions of success makes any sense at all.”

Promising to make Lilith the centre of the story, and full of love for Butler’s source novel, Bain’s vision seems an exciting prospect. We certainly can’t wait to find out what the show will look like.

What do you think? Who would you cast as Butler’s Lilith?