EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of its upfront presentation today, Syfy has put in development Pax Romana, a miniseries based on the graphic novel by Jonathan Hickman, and The Magicians, a drama series based on Lev Grossman’s popular fantasy novels. Pax Romana is being adapted by writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia (Warehouse 13) and Circle of Confusion, while The Magicians hails from former Supernatural showrunner Sera Gamble, John McNamara (In Plain Sight) and producer Michael London. Both projects are set at Universal Cable Prods.
Based on Hickman’s comic book limited series published in 2007, Pax Romana is about a Special Forces team that travels back in time to Ancient Rome on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past. Roman legions battle modern day attack helicopters, tanks and soldier as the leaders of the expedition fight over their vision for civilization. David Alpert of Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead), Federman and Scaia executive produce, Hickman co-executive produces. Federman, Scaia and Circle of Confusion are repped by CAA.
Based on Grossman’s books, described as Harry Potter for grown-ups, Magicians follows a group of twentysomethings in New York who study magic and discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is real and poses a grave danger to Earth. Gamble and McNamara will write the script and executive produce with London. London had optioned Grossman’s first novel after it was published in 2009 and originally set it up at Fox in 2011 with different writers. A sequel novel, The Magician King, was published in 2011.