Comic Book Legend Jim Starlin to Adapt 'Dreadstar' for TV

Dreadstar #1 Cover - P 2014

Dreadstar #1 Cover - P 2014

Comic book legend Jim Starlin is poised to bring one of his best-known titles to the small screen.

Starlin is teaming with Universal Cable Productions and Benderspink to adapt Dreadstar as a scripted TV series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. A network is not yet attached.

Dreadstar — first published in 1982 by Marvel imprint Epic Comics — centers on Vanth Dreadstar, sole survivor of the entire Milky Way galaxy, and an ensemble cast of crewmates, including cyborg sorcerer Syzygy Darklock, and their struggle to end an ancient war between two powerful, evil empires: The Church of The Instrumentality, run by the Lord Papal; and the Monarchy, administered by King Gregzor.

Starlin created the title and wrote the first 41 of its 64 issues. (A limited six-issue series was published in the '90s.) Starlin will pen the script for UCP and executive produce the series alongside Ford Gilmore (Catacombs). The Dreadstar deal comes four months after Benderspink — Chris Bender, J.C. Spink and Jake Weiner's management and production company — inked a first-look deal with NBCUniversal's cable-focused studio.

Read more Benderspink, Illuminati Team to Bring 'Dreadstar' to the Big Screen (Exclusive)

"I consider Dreadstar to be an extension of my family, so it took me a while to feel comfortable letting anyone else take care of this project," said Starlin, who made his mark in the 1970s and '80s with runs writing and/or drawing Iron Man and Captain Marvel, among others. He co-created Thanos, Drax the Destroyer and Gamora, the latter two of which were featured in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy movie while the former appeared in The Avengers. "It has taken some time, but I know I've put my trust in the right team and I'm excited to collaborate with Universal Cable Productions and Benderspink to bring Dreadstar's unique brand of chaos to television."

This marks the latest collaboration between Starlin and Benderspink, who previously teamed in April 2014 to adapt Dreadstar as a movie with Illuminati Entertainment with Illuminati's Gilmore attached to produce.

"Apart from Star Wars, this was my favorite science fiction story growing up," Spink said at the time. When he learned the rights were available, he pursued them.

"Dreadstar is one of the most important comics on the 1980s, paving the way for creators to control their own creations," Gilmore noted in April. "After decades of Jim exercising that control and turning away countless Hollywood suitors, I'm excited he's trusting me and J.C. to do it right." 

For UCP, the Dreadstar deal comes after the studio and Benderspink teamed with Evan Daugherty (Divergent) to adapt Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham's Five Ghosts for Syfy. As part of UCP's comic push, the studio is also developing IDW's Night Mary and an untitled project with Warren Ellis.

"Jim Starlin’s cosmic space opera is a great read and it’s time for Vanth Dreadstar to make his television debut,” said UCP exec vp development Dawn Olmstead. “UCP and Benderspink believe this series will galvanize existing Dreadstar comic followers and ignite a new generation of fans, especially with Jim at the helm."

Starlin and Gilmore are repped by attorney Harris Miller.

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