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HBO and George R.R. Martin have optioned Nnedi Okorafor’s 2010 science fiction and fantasy novel Who Fears Death for a television series, although Martin’s involvement isn’t as vast as early reports indicated.
Okorafor announced the news on social media Monday and said the TV show was in early development with Martin signed on as an executive producer.
“My World Fantasy Award winning novel WHO FEARS DEATH has been optioned by HBO and is now in early development as a TV series with George R. R. Martin as executive producer,” Okorafor wrote on Facebook. “Note: This did not happen overnight. It’s been nearly 4 years coming.”
The critically acclaimed novel is set in a future, post-apocalyptic version of Sudan and follows Onyesonwu (whose name means “who fears death”), a child with magical powers conceived after her mother was raped by a general. Once she’s older, she sets off on a journey to better understand herself and escape the man who is trying to kill her.
Okorafor also confirmed that she’ll be actively involved with the TV show, calling Martin a “sort of mentor to me through all this.”
However, Martin’s role as an executive producer became muddled in initial reports about the project. One headline claimed that he was adapting Who Fears Death for HBO, while others made it appear he would be running the show. His involvement even led to a glimmer of hope from Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire fans who saw his involvement in another show (on top of him working closely with the writers developing pitches for five potential Game of Thrones spinoff series) as a potential sign that he was finally finished working on his long-awaited novel The Winds of Winter.
Martin cleared up the confusion in a new LiveJournal post, noting that while he’s an executive producer he’s not the showrunner of Who Fears Death. And he won’t be writing the pilot for Who Fears Death or much of anything for television—at least not for the foreseeable future
“Look, I probably won’t be writing episodes of ANY television shows until WINDS OF WINTER is done and delivered, and that goes for the five GAME OF THRONES successor shows as well,” Martin wrote. “Other writers will be scripting those pilots, and the same is true for WHO FEARS DEATH. Last week we spent most of an afternoon interviewing some great young talents, in hopes of finding the right person to script the pilot. I was part of that process, and Nnedi was too. No deal yet, but we may have an announcement soon.”
On top of executive producing Who Fears Death and the potential Game of Thrones spinoffs in the works, Martin has a number of non-Game of Thrones shows in development, including the novellas The Skin Trade and Nightflyers and the fantasy anthology he edits, Wild Cards.
H/T Bleeding Cool
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.