Damn it, Syfy, this is getting out of hand. How am I supposed to reach my daily quota of world-weary cynicism and snark if you keep pulling B.S. like this? It was bad enough that you started developing intriguing projects like Ascension and Letter 44, but then you had to go and announce you were making a series based on James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels, some of the best science fiction I’ve read in ages. But that wasn’t enough for you, was it? Oh no, now you’ve doubled down and decided to adapt John Scalzi’s excellent, Hugo Award-nominated Old Man’s War series as well. Knock it the hell off already! (Please don’t actually knock it the hell off.)
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that The Neverending Story’s Wolfgang Petersen is developing the Old Man’s War series for Syfy along with producer Scott Stuber (Safe House). Petersen was already attached to a previous incarnation of the project, a Paramount feature film that Petersen would have directed, with a script by David Self (Road to Perdition). That project eventually stalled and so now Old Man’s War is making the leap to the small screen and a reinvigorated Syfy that lately seems bound and determined to live up to the potential it squandered during years of Ghost Hunters spinoffs. The show is being developed under the name Ghost Brigades, the title of the second book in Scalzi’s series.
John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War originally released in 2005, and it earned a Hugo nomination for best novel the following year. The series is about a future where the elderly can opt to enlist in the Colonial Defense Force to help protect mankind’s expanse into the galaxy. If signing up for military service in your golden years doesn’t sound appealing, there’s a twist: the military will download your consciousness into a genetically engineered new super-soldier body, and once you complete your tour, you get to retire…and keep the younger, upgraded body. Seventy-five-year-old John Perry signs up after the death of his wife, and soon falling for a female compatriot and “unraveling [a] conspiracy involving an elite fighting force known as the Ghost Brigades.”
The new TV script for Old Man’s War is being written by Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig. They don’t have much of an established track record on which to judge them yet, but they did take home a cool million earlier this year for the sale of the spec script Winter’s Knight, described by Deadline as “a Viking-mythology-tinged origin story of St. Nick and Christmas.”
Syfy will have plenty of material to work with. After Old Man’s War, the book series has continued in The Ghost Brigades (2006), The Last Colony (2007), Zoe’s Tale (2008), and The Human Division (2013).
Seriously, whoever has been putting some sort of mind-altering drugs in the Syfy water supply, keep it up. This just became my second most-anticipated TV series, right behind The Expanse.