Sony Scoops Up Movie Rights To Upcoming Image Robot Comic Descender

By David Wharton | Published

DescenderWith series like Brian K. Fuller’s Saga, Rick Remender’s Black Science, and the pulp-y goodness of Bitch Planet, Image is one of the best sources of comic book science fiction. Now a new series called Descender has caught the eye of Hollywood, and the tale of a young robot making his way through a very hostile universe is already being developed for the big screen before the first issue has even hit shelves.

Descender is the brainchild of writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen, both of them New York Times bestsellers. The pair will executive produce the Descender film for Sony Pictures Entertainment. In Sony’s announcement, Lemire said:

It was a competitive situation for Descender, and we are thrilled that it ended with Sony Pictures acquiring the series. We know that their film translation will do justice to the original comics, and we are thrilled with their belief in the franchise potential.

Descender is described as “A rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey, Descender pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling space opera.” That sentence just hit several of our pleasure points all at once, so consider us intrigued. Both the comic and film are set in a universe where androids have been outlawed after some sort of cataclysmic conflict that “decimated entire planets.” The focus of the series is TIM-21, a lifelike android child whose “machine DNA” contains secrets that ensure he is hunted across the universe by bounty hunters and other nasty sorts. “Before long the entire galaxy is looking for TIM-21 and his rag-tag group of unlikely companions, as they make their way from one exotic planet to the next with new foes advancing on them at every turn.”

Lemire has been one of my favorite comics talents since wowing me with his work on DC’s New 52 titles Animal Man and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., a pair of fiercely creative and deeply weird books in the very best way. His name pretty much guarantees I’ll check out any new title, so while I hadn’t heard of Descender before today, it just earned a spot on my must-read list.

It sounds like Descender will blend elements of Blade Runner, A.I., and I, Robot into something truly special. If this were the early ’80s, this thing would be right up Steven Spielberg’s alley. It’s got a long way to go before it reaches theaters, but stay tuned to GFR for a review of Descender when the first issue releases on March 4th.