The streamer has gone straight to series on two TV shows based on Millar’s works — Jupiter’s Legacy and American Jesus. On the feature side, Netflix announced Empress and Huck — both based on Millar titles — as well as Sharkey the Bounty Hunter, which will be published as a Millarworld/Netflix comic next year.
“My wife Lucy and I are 11 months into our jobs at Netflix and it’s everything we hoped for to the power of 10,” Millar said in a statement.
All told, the five projects are the first slate in what sources estimate is a deal worth between $30 million and $50 million.
Jupiter’s Legacy, which will span eight episodes, hails from Steven S. DeKnight (who launched Netflix’s first Marvel drama, Daredevil) will serve as showrunner after recently inking an overall deal with the streamer. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott exec produce, with DeKnight directing the first episode. The drama is based on Millar’s ongoing comic of the same name, which was first published in 2013. The series is a multigenerational drama that follows the world’s first generation of superheroes, who received their powers in the 1930s. In the present day, they’re the revered elder guard, but their superpowered children struggle to live up to the legendary feats of their parents. Jupiter’s Legacy is considered the crown jewel of Millar’s Millarworld banner as the title, about the world’s first superheroes, could lend itself to become its own suite of series akin to Netflix’s Marvel TV universe.
American Jesus, set for six episodes, is a multilingual series in Spanish and English. Everardo Gout (Netflix’s Marvel drama Luke Cage) and his brother, Leopoldo Gout (Molly’s Game, Instinct), will serve as co-showrunners and exec producers, with the former directing. The series follows a 12-year-old boy who suddenly discovers he has returned as Jesus Christ and can turn water into wine and perhaps even raise the dead. The drama explores how he will deal with the destiny to lead the world in a conflict thousands of years in the making. The series is based on the comic, initially published as Chosen in 2004, and retitled American Jesus for its trade paperback collection.
On the film side, Ted Melfi, who directed and co-wrote the Oscar-nominated hit Hidden Figures, is adapting Huck, Millar’s 2016 riff on Superman featuring a small-town man who secretly does good deeds with his superpowers. Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe are set to produce.
Lindsey Beer, a rising geek writer who has worked up Chaos Walking and Godzilla vs. Kong, has been tapped to pen Empress, about the wife of a galactic dictator who dares to escape her husband with her children in tow. An interplanetary chase ensues. Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum (Maleficent) are producing.
Rounding out the list is Sharkey the Bounty Hunter, which is set in a new sci-fi universe and revolves around a blue-collar bounty hunter who tracks criminals across his galaxy in his converted, rocket-powered ice cream truck. Aided by his 10-year-old partner, he’s out for the biggest bounty of his career. Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 21 Jump Street) will pen the screenplay. As opposed to the other titles being adapted, Sharkey is not yet a published Millar property. It will be published as a Netflix/Millarworld comic next year.
“To see a movie based on your work every couple of years is incredibly exciting, but to see them all happening at once like this and with talent this high-end is just off the scale,” Millar said. “These are writers and directors I’ve privately been sending fan mail to over the last 18 months, so to be working with them all is just enormously exciting. This really is the greatest creative environment I’ve ever worked in. I can’t wait to switch on my computer every morning.”
Since inking the rich Netflix deal, Millar has already launched his first comic title for Netflix, The Magic Order. He plans to create 20 comic book titles as part of the multiple-year pact, with new series appearing regularly alongside existing properties.
For Netflix, building out a new roster of comic book series comes as Disney is launching its own subscription video on demand platform and already pulled all the Marvel feature films from the streamer. While Netflix still has its roster of Marvel TV shows — Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and The Defenders — the comic powerhouse’s future at Netflix remains murky given the streaming push by corporate parent Disney. (Meanwhile, Marvel competitor DC is launching its own SVOD service, DC Universe, in August.)
DeKnight is repped by CAA and attorney Jeanne Newman. The Gouts are repped by CAA while Bacall is repped by CAA and attorney Fred Toczek. Beer is repped by WME and Gang Tyre.