Today, the official After Earth page on Facebook launched. Like the page for updates on the film, as well as the books and comic book that will surround the film, leading up to its’ release. They’re looking at this as the start of a potential franchise. Could this be the start of a new Science Fiction / Fantasy saga like Star Wars? I’ve read some VERY interesting things that I think the internet needs to get through their heads.
Overbrook Entertainment, Sony Pictures Consumer Products, The Random House Publishing Group and Ebury Publishing is set to create a broad line of publishing products based on the film and the universe that was created from the script by Gary Whitta and Shyamalan, based on a story by Will Smith. The film is produced by Caleeb Pinkett, Smith, James Lassiter, and Shyamalan.
Did you catch that? The script was written by Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan. The story was written by Will Smith. Just in case, I’ll be a bit more obvious. Will Smith wrote the story, not M. Night. Gary Whitta and M. Night wrote the screenplay. Not just M. Night alone. This means we’re getting Shyamalan’s directing (which is excellent every time) with a story that wasn’t from his own mind (can’t blame him for anything story-wise), and with a screenplay that he co-wrote with another writer. This means that Night has acknowledged that his batteries need some recharging. Shyamalan is NOT a bad writer, and is a terrific director and one of my all time favorites. But we all need time to recharge.
The publishing and digital shorts program will encompass two novels and multiple shorts, along with a single-issue comic, After Earth: Innocence, which Random House publishes in October in partnership with Dynamite Entertainment. The comic is a prequel that introduces Cypher and Kitai and helps establish the world by covering such incidents as mankind’s exodus from Earth and arrival on Nova Prime, as well as the first contact with a deadly alien species. Artwork is being provided by Beni R. Lobel and an exclusive edition of the comic with an alternate cover by artist Jae Lee will be released here at Comic-Con.
There will also be a prequel novel and an official novelization, as well as a series of digital shorts telling stories set in the world of After Earth. Each short will be available on all major e-reading platforms. The novels, comic and digital shorts will be penned by writers including bestselling authors Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Robert Greenberger.
“We believe this is a unique opportunity to bring a franchise to life across different platforms over a period of time, which our partners at Random House have wholeheartedly embraced,” said Gaetano Mastropasqua, Head of Franchise Development at Overbrook. “We have created over 1000 years of mythology and family heritage that contribute to the foundation of this new world. Through these platforms both our core fan-base, and those just being introduced to the franchise, are able to explore the After Earth universe in depth. Random House is uniquely positioned to help us bring this to life using both their publishing and digital platforms.”
“We’re excited about this great opportunity to work not only with the team at Dynamite and our counterparts at Ebury, but also directly with the creative team at Overbrook,” said Keith Clayton, associate publisher of Del Rey Books. “It’s important to us that the stories we’re helping to shape are in line with the team’s larger vision for the world of After Earth. The level of collaboration has been exceptional.”