A New ‘Dawn’ Emerges With Ava DuVernay’s Upcoming Octavia Butler Adaptation

By Sameer Rao Aug 09, 2017

Ava DuVernay‘s list of upcoming projects grows even longer thanks to her new, Black artist-headlined TV adaptation of Octavia Butler’s 1987 science fiction novel, "Dawn." 

Deadline reports today (August 9) that the "A Wrinkle in Time" director and Array distribution network head is partnering with filmmaker Victoria Mahoney ("Yelling to the Sky") and producer Charles D. King ("Fences") to turn "Dawn" into a television series. DuVernay and King will executive produce through King’s production company, Macro. Mahoney, who DuVernay enlisted as a director for her TV drama "Queen Sugar," will script what Deadline calls "the first time that Science Fiction Hall of Famer Butler’s work has been adapted for TV." The show’s format, network affiliation or anticipated production date have not yet been released.

Per its Amazon page, "Dawn" is the first book from Butler’s "Lilith’s Brood" trilogy, which was previously published as "Xenogenesis." It takes its name from the series’ protagonist, Lilith Iyapo, a Black woman who awakens on an alien ship 250 years after a nuclear war nearly exterminated humanity. One of a few humans captured by the Oankali aliens, she overcomes her own repulsion toward their anatomy and behavior and bonds with one of her captors. The book follows her terse navigation between both species’ aims after the humans learn that the Oankali plan to breed with them and repopulate Earth. "Dawn," like much of Butler’s work, explores race, gender, sexuality and identity via the lens of science fiction.

Deadline adds that Butler’s estate was involved in the negotiations to adapt "Dawn," but did not report on the extent of its involvement in the project.