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File this under “years in the making.”
Brian K. Vaughan’s beloved comic series Y: The Last Man is finally coming to a screen. FX on Monday announced that it has picked up its TV adaptation to series. The network has handed out a series order for the drama from showrunner Michael Green and starring Barry Keoghan and Diane Lane. It is expected to premiere in 2020.
Y: The Last Man ranks as one of the most critically acclaimed comic book series of all time. The DC Comics/Vertigo title was first launched in 2002 and revolves around Yorick Brown (Keoghan, Dunkirk) — the last surviving human with a Y chromosome — and his Capuchin monkey, Ampersand. The series follows escape artist Yorick after a mysterious plague as he sets out to find what might have wiped out the male chromosome. Y: The Last Man, written and created by Vaughan and artist Pia Guerra, ran for 60 issues and has been collected in multiple graphic novels.
Green (American Gods, Blade Runner 2049, Logan) and Aïda Mashaka Croal (Luke Cage, Turn) serve as showrunners and executive producers. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force (American Crime Story, Pose, The Hunger Games) and Vaughan exec produce and developed the series. Melina Matsoukas (Insecure, Master of None, Beyonce: Formation) directed the pilot and exec produces the FX Productions drama. In addition to Keoghan and Lane, the cast also includes Amber Tamblyn, Imogen Poots, Lashana Lynch, Juliana Canfield and Marin Ireland.
In March 2012, Jericho‘s Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia were in final negotiations to take on the property with J.C. Spink, Chris Bender and Goyer producing, and Mason Novick and Jake Weiner set as executive producers. The latter fell apart in September 2014 when Vaughan announced that the rights were in the process of reverting back to him and the movie was dead. “We wanted to tell a complete story … but not the whole story,” Vaughan said at the time, noting that he had hoped that “in success, we could get tell the rest of our serialized adventure.”
Vaughan told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2017 that he “wanted to find someone who loved the source material but didn’t feel so indebted to it that they would be afraid to change it,” with Green fitting that bill. “When [Green] first pitched his take on it to Nina Jacobson and me a long time ago, he came in saying he wanted to do something about toxic masculinity. It felt very relevant, and unfortunately, I think it’s only become more relevant with each passing day. His take on it was really brave and very different, but exciting as well. I really admire how audacious he’s been with his translation.”
Green’s vision for Y: The Last Man, he told THR in July 2017, changed after Donald Trump was elected president. “It would have been a very different show, and very different development process, had the election not been as horrifying as it was,” he said. “I had to put the script down for a couple months and really reassess it tonally, because it became a different creature, it became violent protest. It couldn’t not be political, and I had to embrace it, and I had to find my way in, and I had to find a way to channel my own dismay, disappointment and rage into it, while still keeping it what it is. For a minute there, I almost walked away.”
Y: The Last Man — now especially relevant in the era of salary-parity debates and the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements — counts fans in Joss Whedon, French film director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans, Now You See Me) and Chuck alum Zachary Levi, who expressed interest in taking on the role of Yorick — going so far as to have his character on the former NBC comedy read the graphic novel during an episode. Quizzed by THR in September 2014 ahead of the fall comic book invasion on broadcast, Y: The Last Man was singled out as a property that should be the next to come to the small screen.
FX’s Y: The Last Man marks Vaughan’s latest TV foray after Hulu’s take on his beloved Marvel comic Runaways and CBS’ Under the Dome (which he developed for Showtime and ultimately departed following its freshman season on CBS) and Lost. He is currently writing Image Comics’ critical hit Saga and has an eight-figure overall film and TV deal with Legendary.
Y: The Last Man joins a scripted roster at FX that also includes American Horror Story, Atlanta, Better Things, Baskets, Fargo, Legion, Mayans, Pose, Snowfall and the upcoming Breeders, Devs, Fosse/Verdon, Mrs. America, Shogun and What We Do in the Shadows. Still in limbo are the futures of American Crime Story, Feud and Trust.
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