Syfy orders 'The Expanse' series based on 'Leviathan Wakes' (think 'Game of Thrones' in space)

Syfy has given a direct-to-series order to an exciting-sounding new project based on an acclaimed sci-fi book series. The cable network has ordered 10 episodes of The Expanse, from Academy Award-nominated screenwriting duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man) and Alcon Television Group. The project has been described by industry insiders as “Game of Thrones in space” — not so much because of the specifics of the plot, but because it tells a dramatic sprawling grown-up story within a popular fantasy genre that’s based on a respected series of novels.

The logline: “A thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.”

The Expanse is based on a series of books by James S.A. Corey. The most well-known title is probably the first in the series, Leviathan Wakes, which has been praised for reinventing and updating the old-school Star Wars/Firefly-style space opera. Syfy won a bidding war with another content producer to acquire the project.

Syfy president Dave Howe promised, “The Expanse is epic in scale and scope and promises to be Syfy’s most ambitious series to date. Bringing this coveted book franchise to television with our partners at Alcon and the Sean Daniel Company is a giant win for Syfy, reinforcing our overall strategy to produce bold, provocative and compelling sci-fi fantasy stories. The Expanse joins a killer line-up of high-concept, high quality series, along with recently announced original projects Ascension, 12 Monkeys, the renewal of Helix, and the soon to premiere Dominion.”

Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Company developed the original pitch, with Fergus and Ostby, and will also executive produce. “The Expanse is one of the most special pieces of material we’ve ever encountered and it has been our dream to bring it to life since the moment we read it,” Daniel and Brown said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to be doing it with this team of all-stars.”

Added Alcon president Sharon Hall: “The Expanse is an addictive, sophisticated, character-driven franchise and Mark and Hawk are the perfect people to steer it. Their script is a totally immersive and accessible sci-fi journey.”

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