EXCLUSIVE: The Man In The High Castle creator Frank Spotnitz is developing a TV series based on Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe.
It marks the first big-budget live-action TV series based on the wargame empire’s hugely popular board games, miniatures and novels.
Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions is developing Eisenhorn, a sci-fi and fantasy series set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, where mankind teeters on the brink of annihilation.
While humanity’s armies wage unending war across a million battlefields, in the darkness, a secret conflict rages – fought by the agents of the Imperial Inquisition. Drawing from sci-fi, fantasy and crime genres, Eisenhorn will see Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn and his band of investigators fight to thwart the monstrous schemes of aliens, heretics and daemons before mankind’s doom is sealed.
The Eisenhorn series is based on novels written by British comic book author Dan Abnett, who has worked on books for Games Workshop’s publishing imprint Black Library as well as Marvel. The Eisenhorn trilogy, which was originally published in 2001, include Xenos, Malleus and Hereticus. Warhammer 40,000 is a worldwide phenomenon and one of the most popular miniature wargames globally.
Spotnitz, who also wrote on The X-Files, will be showrunner and exec producer of the series with Big Light creative director Emily Feller, who has worked on shows including Ordinary Lies, Trust Me and Medici, also exec producing. Big Light, which is backed by Keshet-owned production group Greenbird, produces series including Medici on Netflix and Ransom on CBS as well as Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle.
There is no broadcaster or platform attached at the moment but the partners will be taking it out to market soon.
Spotnitz (left) said, “We are delighted to collaborate with Games Workshop to develop the beloved visionary world of Warhammer 40,000 into a TV series. Warhammer 40,000 is steeped in rich and complex lore, with a myriad of traditions and stories that have accumulated over time in this thrilling and complex world, making it one of the most exciting properties to adapt for television audiences and the franchise’s loyal global fanbase. There is nothing else like it on television, and we are incredibly excited to tap into our own experience creating imaginative, complex and compelling worlds to bring this incredible saga to the screen.”
Andy Smillie, Games Workshop’s Global Head of Marketing & Media, said, “We’re thrilled to be working with Frank and his team at Big Light. Warhammer 40,000 has a massive global fanbase – they are a passionate community of Warhammer hobbyists who love to engage with our characters, stories and games. I’m truly delighted we are able to develop a show that will reward their loyalty. Inquisitor Eisenhorn represents one of the best-loved characters within our worlds, and we’re excited to share his exploits and adventures with audiences new and old. Frank and his outstanding team at Big Light have done amazing things with other properties, bringing complex worlds to the screen, and we can’t wait to see what our partnership produces for the grim darkness of Warhammer 40,000.”
Author Dan Abnett added, “Gregor Eisenhorn is a relentless force in the dark future of the Warhammer universe: a destroyer of daemons and a purger of heretics, implacable, powerful and dedicated. But the appeal to me, from the moment I started writing him, was his complexity. He is not the simple, ruthless hero he appears to be. His battle with the Warp leads him into dark places and forces him to question his duty, his understanding of the Imperium, and his own identity. With Eisenhorn, it’s not just the adventures, and they are certainly vivid: it’s the journey he takes to the very limits of what he is and what it means to be loyal.”
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