The hand-drawn animation studio Last Studio Standing just announced plans to adapt William Gibson's sci-fi story "Hinterlands" into a short film and a television series, with a potential second TV series that could spin off the first.
Concept art from Hinterlands. All Images: Last Studio Standing
The short story, originally published in 1981, is about a Russian space station that goes missing, only to reappear years later with everyone dead. Soon, people realise any ship that goes to those coordinates disappears into a mysterious other place. Everyone who goes, dies — but then some of their remains start returning with clues about this other place.
"It is such a great story," says Jonathan Kitzen, CEO of Last Studio Standing in a news release. "We know we can do more with it because animation is an all-powerful tool that can create anything. We plan on making something that looks like Gravity mixed with Blade Runner, and this story offers us a huge palette of possibilities, for about $100 million less than a traditional live action film."
By 2018, Last Studio Standing hopes to have a short pilot episode done for a longer TV show. It will show the pilot in theatres, then kick off what is described as a "five year plan" for the franchise, including a TV show with a potential spin-off.
Above, and below, are some concept art released for the show.
This is one of those impressively ambitious plans that has one potentially fatal flaw: We don't know if it works yet. What if the pilot episode isn't a success? Or what if the show does get released somewhere, but fades after two years? What happens then? Does this five-year plan just go away? I'm always wary of anyone that plans an elaborate franchise (cough Dark Universe cough) without some upfront success. If Iron Man wasn't a hit, there's a good chance The Avengers wouldn't have happened. Pixar wasn't planning Toy Story 3 before Toy Story came out, the studio just wanted to make one good movie. The list goes on and on.
You can't blame Hollywood for its non-stop deluge of remakes, sequels and prequels. Audiences keep showing up for them, and they take one of the most difficult parts of art — the idea — out of the equation. What's unforgivable though is making a movie under the assumption a sequel will be made after it.
Certainly, though, we hope Last Studio Standing gives us that "Gravity mixed with Blade Runner" animated show of our dreams. It could be amazing.
For more information, visit their website.