We still have a long wait until Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons series premieres, but the network has released a new set of stills to give us our first real look at the show. Created by screenwriter David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight), Demons follows the adventures of a young Leonardo Da Vinci, positing that his life was even more surreal and intriguing than in real life. Expect conspiracies, strange inventions, and a generous helping of derring-do. Here’s actor Tom Riley as Da Vinci.
The series is going to follow the “untold story” of the genius who invented designs for such ahead-of-his-time things as the the helicopter, the parachute, and the machine gun. The actual facts of Da Vinci’s life would provide plenty of fodder for a series, but filling in the gaps with mystery and conspiracy should be good fun. One thing that isn’t clear is whether the show will be more science fiction/alternate history or if it will be an outright fantasy. Some of the show descriptions call it a “historical fantasy,” but so far they haven’t actually listed any “magical” ideas, so we think this show still falls under our purview until somebody releases a still of Da Vinci riding a unicorn or whatever.
While we still don’t know a lot about the show, both Riley and Goyer have dropped a few hints. At the recent New York Comic Con, the pair described the character as a “Tony Stark prototype,” mixed with “Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones.” Riley even learned to write with his left hand, since Da Vinci was ambidextrous. “My apartment is littered with sketches in various stages of completion that I attempted with my weaker hand, as well as reams of backwards writing.”
As for the shape of the show, which at the moment will be limited to an eight-episode miniseries, Goyer revealed that an historical secret society called the Sons of Mithras will factor in somehow:
People claim that Plato and Aristotle and Socrates were all members of this mystery cult, a secret order that wanted to preserve and disseminate knowledge. That’s the secret society that I chose to involve him in, because I figured any club that had Socrates and Plato and Aristotle in it was probably good enough for da Vinci.
Between the secret societies and the crazy inventions, fans of the Assassin’s Creed game series should feel right at home. Beginning with 2009’s Assassin’s Creed II, Da Vinci has been a recurring character, lending some of his more infamous inventions to the order of Assassins for their war against the nefarious Templars.
If the show has your curiosity piqued, we’ve embedded a brief teaser and synopsis below, and you can also follow the show’s development over at the new production blog.
In a world where thought and faith are controlled, one man fights to set knowledge free. Leonardo da Vinci is tortured by a gift of superhuman genius. He finds himself in a conflict between truth and lies, religion and reason, past and future. His aspirations are used against him by the opposing forces of the time – luring him into a game of seduction where those who despise his intellect need him most. His quest for knowledge nearly becomes his undoing. Da Vinci throws himself into his genius and emerges as an unstoppable force that lifts an entire era out of darkness and propels it into light. His story becomes a mirror into our own world, calling us all to join his fight to free the future.